High-Speed Data Acquisition PC-Based Oscilloscope & Spectrum Analyzer

Signatec high-speed data acquisition and waveform generation systems combine performance features of oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers and signal generators with capabilities to record and/or generate terabytes of continuous, high-resolution signal data using turnkey analysis software (embedded real-time processing options available).

Though conventional test equipment are proven general-use instruments, the performance capabilities of traditional oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers and signal generators are limited, yet they are often employed in applications they are ill-suited to perform. This is especially true for applications that require true real-time, continuous signal data with no breaks in the analog capture or playback, as well as applications that require embedded real-time digital signal processing capabilities.

Signatec systems are not a replacement of, but rather an answer to, conventional test equipment deficiencies, while still providing the highly integrated, user-friendly commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) product characteristics that allowed the oscilloscope, spectrum analyzer and signal generator to become so widely used within the Test & Measurement industry.

Signatec systems come complete with GUI based software for performing all system settings, viewing digital data (either captured or generated), performing signal recordings and playbacks as well as the option for viewing data in either time domain or frequency domain.

SIG-Series System Advantages to the Oscilloscope

Most oscilloscopes are limited to the capture of a few million points of information, which is useful for human eye analysis, they offer little to no custom programming options, produce low dynamic range data and are not always easy to control or transfer data from within an embedded environment. The Signatec SIG-Series systems allow for multiple terabytes of continuous signal data capture, customers may embed custom real-time processing and analysis software, they offer high dynamic range options (up to 16 bits) and are easily controlled either directly from the embedded computer or from an existing user’s network computer.

SIG-Series System Advantages to the Spectrum Analyzer

The SIG-Series system spectrum analyzer features are quite advanced and allow for uses that are not possible on traditional spectrum analyzer boxes. Most spectrum analyzers break up a large spectrum into many narrow, consecutive frequency bands and piece these smaller bands together to form the greater spectrum image. The advantage of this traditional narrowband capture method is the better spurious free dynamic range (SFDR) performance versus traditional wideband capture.

However, the disadvantage is that each discreet narrow band captured has no frequency information regarding the other narrow bands for the total frequency span of interest. For example, the capture of many narrow bands can take a relatively long time which, if events occur intermittently at other frequencies in the frequency span of interest, data might avoid detection. Also, if the data of interest is split across the narrow capture bands, there is no way to record and piece this data together for post analysis due to different time captures.

Signatec’s SIG-Series systems are ideal for IF signal data capture and operate by grabbing a single very large band of data at up to 80 MHz bandwidth for 16-bit data and 500 MHz bandwidth for 8-bit data (with other dynamic ranges and bandwidth options in between). The full wideband spectrum can be captured, displayed and recorded to storage continuously with no breaks in the signal data for hours.

The standard SIG-Series operating mode for its spectrum analyzer feature is to record all raw signal data and perform periodic snapshot FFT processing and display. Additionally, Signatec offer options for real-time processing to perform digital down conversion (DDC) on selectable frequency bands in the greater spectrum as well as fast Fourier transform (FFT) on all captured data with both raw and FFT data results recorded. The SIG-Series platforms even offer users open source programming options for custom embedded processing.

SIG-Series Systems Advantages to the Signal Generator

Typical bench-top signal generators are advantageous for playing very simple and repetitive waveforms. However, not only do Signatec’s SIG-Series systems deliver the same waveform generation or signal playback capabilities as traditional signal generators, they allow for the creation of arbitrary waveform generation that can be unique for terabytes of data samples. This integrated signal generation component is especially useful for replaying previously captured analog signals from the SIG-Series systems’ signal recording modules.