Spectrum publishes a free Digitizer Handbook

To  keep engineers and scientists up to date with the latest developments in PC based digitizer technology Spectrum has published a handbook that covers the major product features of this powerful class of instrument and also explains when a digitizer can replace an oscilloscope. The 120 page booklet is printed in full color and includes a number of graphical images that highlight and explain key digitizer concepts and their application.

Topics covered include how and when to select a digitizer, understanding the various terms and comparing their performance with other instruments, such as digital oscilloscopes. The handbook then has sections that explain how to achieve the best performance from a product with emphasis being given to measurement speed and accuracy. Examples show how to setup a digitizer and use the various acquisition, trigger and readout modes to ensure important events are always captured and that the acquired data is analyzed as fast as possible. More examples demonstrate the effects of proper signal conditioning and explain how digitizers can be used with a variety of different probes and sensors.

The handbook then discusses the importance of software and what effect this has on project development. It explains the structure of device drivers and how you can program the cards using today’s most popular programming languages such as Visual C++, Borland C++, Gnu C++, Visual Basic, VB.NET, C#, J#, Python and Delphi as well as with third party software tools such as LabVIEW and MATLAB. To help with programming the handbook discusses the advantages of using debug logging and other tools that allow you to test hardware setups and assess their potential data transfer speeds. For those not wanting to develop their own code there is even a […]

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    How PXI Can Solve Your Toughest Test & Measurement Challenges

How PXI Can Solve Your Toughest Test & Measurement Challenges

Technology – who can keep up? New applications are announced daily, and many more already in our cars, PCs, appliances, and home theaters that did not exist a short time ago. Every year, products and systems with more intelligence and convenience are available, usually at a lower cost than previous models. The basic premise of our market driven economy is the need to create new products that people will purchase – essentially, technology drives the economy. And don’t we all like new technology!

But just as technology progresses, test technologies and their implementation strategies must change as well. Today’s test requirements include factors such as increased simulation of sensors, fault insertion, higher data rates, and increased precision. All of these factors must be accomplished while simultaneously increasing test throughput and lowering costs. While these electronic test strategies have always been a tough challenge for our industry, it seems to be a more daunting prospect to support today’s technology.
Fortunately, the Test and Measurement industry has been developing new solutions to address these needs. In many cases, the solution has been the PXI (PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation) modular instrumentation architecture, which has shown itself to be a remarkably flexible platform. Over the last 17 years, the sixty plus members of the PXI Systems Alliance (PXISA) have continued to innovate and create modules that can address the newest technologies. Unique test and measurement solutions are being developed in PXI that are not available in other test platforms.
Why is PXI Successful?
Some of the reasons for PXI’s success are obvious. Many vendors, many more products, and many previous applications successes are key reasons. But looking beyond this, there are other reasons for success.

Choices in Software – Many programming languages, including Real Time Operating Systems, […]

New – eBIRST Switching System Test Tools

Lower the Cost of Switching System Ownership 
We are pleased to introduce the eBIRST switching system test tools. We know that switching systems are an important part of many test systems and accidents can happen that can cause a faulty device. When this happens, you need to be able to get your system up and running as quickly as possible.
This is where our eBIRST tools come in — these tools will:

Quickly determine if your switching system has faults
Identify where that fault is located at relay level and allow you to take fast corrective action
Save repair costs 
Minimize downtime of the switching system

The eBIRST tools, designed specifically for our PXI, PCI or LXI (Ethernet) products, simplify switching system fault finding by quickly testing the system and identifying the faulty relays. Once identified, the tools then display a graphical representation of the switching system’s PCB assembly, highlighting the relays that need to be replaced. The eBIRST tools achieve this task by measuring the path resistance between different pins on the switching system connector and controlling the path through the system to allow it to test any of the relays in the system. Systems that use separate input and output connections can be tested by use of two eBIRST tools in a master/slave configuration.


The eBIRST toolset consists of three different tools that support 200-way LFH, 78-way D and 50-way D connectors and a set of adaptors that allow connection to other connector types. A supplied application program controls the eBIRST tools via a USB2 connection that also provides the tool power and controls the switching system using a Test Definition File to define the test sequence. The tool dimensions allow eBIRST to be used to test PXI, PCI or LXI (Ethernet) controlled switching […]

Pickering Interfaces Expands 16 Amp PXI Switching Solutions

Pickering Interfaces, a leading provider of signal switching and conditioning solutions, is expanding its range of 16 Amp PXI switching solutions. Following the success of the 16 Amp uncommitted relay modules (model 40-161), the company is introducing the following new
16 Amp PXI module families:

16 Amp PXI power multiplexer (model 40-662) – available in seven configurations ranging from 4-off 2:1 multiplexers to 1-off 16:1 multiplexer.

16 Amp PXI power matrix (model 40-552) – available in four configurations with matrix sizes of 8×2 and 4×4 and the ability to expand the matrix size with the Y-Axis loop-thru connections: e.g. 8×4, 12×4, 16×4, etc. (with 4×4 matrices) or 16×2, 24×2, 32×2, etc. (with 8×2 matrices).
Both of these 16 Amp PXI switching families feature:

Hot switching up to 16 Amp at 28VDC
Maximum DC hot switch rating of 300VDC
Hot switching AC signals up to 250VAC at 16 Amp
Capable of withstanding 400VDC for cold switching
High-quality high power electro-mechanical relays
20-way GMCT connectors

Careful attention to the switching designs ensures that all of these PXI modules can carry the full 16 Amp current on each path simultaneously over the complete operating temperature range. Applications include electric vehicles, automotive ECU testing, AC mains switching, high current power supplies, load switching, and aerospace electric drive testing.

Pickering Interfaces also provides a full range of supporting cable and connector solutions for all of their LXI, PCI and PXI switching solutions, including the new 16 Amp PXI switching family. They can also manufacture cable assemblies to custom requirements.

Pickering Interfaces supports all of their manufactured products with a standard three-year warranty and guaranteed long-term product support. You can find more information on the website www.pickeringtest.com

Pickering's Programmable Resistors for Sensor Emulation

Available in over 100 PXI modules and 90 PCI cards  including standard resolution resistors for sensor emulation applications and precision programmable resistors including RTD and strain gauge simulators.


Up to 18 channels in a single PXI/PCI slot
Resistance ranges from 1Ω to 16MΩ
Resolutions down to 2mΩ with accuracies down to 0.03%
PXI modules can be supported in our Ethernet LXI Chassis

Request your free programmable resistor reference map here!

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    PC-based scopes use USB 3.0, add 512 Msample memory depth option

PC-based scopes use USB 3.0, add 512 Msample memory depth option

The Picoscope 3000D oscilloscopes offer a maximum real-time sampling rate of 1 Gsample/sec and feature a USB 3.0 interface; they also host a built-in AWG (arbitrary waveform generator). Deep memory enables long timebases with the fastest sampling rates; for example, at 1 Gsample/s sampling rate, you can capture a 500 msec waveform—that’s half a billion samples, Pico points out—while hardware acceleration keeps the display updating smoothly.

The 512 Msample buffer memory can be segmented, enabling acquisition of up to 10,000 individual waveform segments of 50,000 samples, with less than 1 µs re-arm time between each segment. You can set the PicoScope to trigger on each packet and skip the gaps that are of no interest. This function lets you acquire, for instance, CAN data packets over several minutes and then analyze the packet content at a later point in time.

The oscilloscopes are multi-function include a spectrum analyser and AWG, and advanced functions include serial-bus decoding, mask-limit testing, math channels, and filtering. Advanced triggers include pulse width, interval, window, window pulse width, level dropout, window dropout, runt pulse, variable hysteresis, and logic. All triggering is digital, ensuring low jitter and single-LSB voltage resolution. MSO (mixed-signal oscilloscope) models combine these triggers with edge and pattern triggering on the digital inputs. Other built-in features include color persistence display modes, automatic measurements with statistics, programmable alarms, and decoding of I²C, UART/RS232, SPI, CAN bus, LIN, FlexRay and I²S signals.

Software updates include a fast persistence mode that gives updates of around 100,000 waveforms per second, while the math channels have been expanded to include configurable filters.

A free SDK (Software Development Kit) lets you develop custom applications. It includes example programs in C#, C++, Excel, LabVIEW, and MATLAB, and you can […]

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    Pickering Interfaces Introduces Two New PCI and PXI Programmable Resistors

Pickering Interfaces Introduces Two New PCI and PXI Programmable Resistors

Pickering Interfaces, a leading provider of signal switching and conditioning solutions, is expanding its range of PCI and PXI Programmable Resistors with the introduction of two new Programmable Resistor & Relay solutions.

These new solutions include the PCI Programmable Resistor & Relay Card (model 50-294) and the PXI Programmable Resistor & Relay Module (model 40-294). Both of these solutions feature:

Lower density and lower cost for simulating variable resistors.
12 resistor channel options with resolution from 0.25Ω to 2Ω and channel counts of either two or four.
The option of adding eight SPST relays that can be used for extending resistance range or other switching functions within a test system. Their use potentially saves the addition of further switching products within a test system.
Basic accuracy is 1%± resolution
Each version uses high-quality instrument grade reed relays to ensure long service life and fast setting times.

Pickering Interfaces continues to promote its test solutions in multiple platforms by offering the programmable resistors in different form factors (PXI & PCI) with the same options. This offering allows the user to choose the most appropriate platform for their test system. These new programmable resistors are functionally similar to Pickering’s current programmable resistor models 40-293 and 50-293, which are based on electromechanical relays and have pin compatible layouts.

Pickering Interfaces supports all of their manufactured products with a standard three-year warranty and guaranteed long-term product support. Pricing and availability information is supplied on their website www.pickeringtest.com

  • SV3C CPRX 4-Lane C-PHY Analyzer, Introspect Technology
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    Introspect’s SV3C CPRX 4-Lane C-PHY Analyzer wins Best in Design and Test Award

Introspect’s SV3C CPRX 4-Lane C-PHY Analyzer wins Best in Design and Test Award

The SV3C CPRX 4-Lane C-PHY Analyzer is an ultra-compact solution for the design, verification, and electrical validation of high-speed components based on the emerging MIPI Alliance C-PHY specification. C-PHY is a new physical layer standard that allows for significant bandwidth improvements on constrained transmission channels, such as those found inside mobile terminals. Based on innovative signaling and encoding technologies, C-PHY devices require an entirely new breed of test and measurement equipment, and Introspect’s SV3C CPRX 4-Lane C-PHY Analyzer represents the only tool in the industry capable of both analog signal capture and complete BER detection and protocol analysis. Unique to C-PHY technology is that signals emanating from transmitters are single-ended and multi-level in nature; yet receivers operate on differential signal pairs encoded in multiple phases. This means that symbol transmissions are not deterministic and are thus not easily visualized on conventional tools such as oscilloscopes or basic logic analyzers. The SV3C CPRX offers the only tool in the industry to automatically decode the symbol transmissions and display received packets in human-readable format. It has proven indispensible for first-time bring-up of early C-PHY test chips at leading adopters of the C-PHY standard.

RF/Microwave Power Sensor Works Unattended

Covering a frequency range of 1 MHz to 18 GHz, the LB5918A power sensor from LadyBug Technologies performs general-purpose average power, true RMS, and scalar measurements with a dynamic range of –60 dBm to +20 dBm. Once measurements are set up, the sensor needs only a power supply to enable unattended operation for use in such applications as test and measurement, radar, satellite communications, and research and development.

The LB5918A logs up to 1000 measurements/s and stores over 100 million measurements in nonvolatile memory. Its real-time clock with internal backup provides time-stamped data for measurements stored in memory. USB HID and USBTMC interfaces offer platform-independent connectivity to most computers, while optional SPI/I2C interfaces can be used for embedded applications. The power sensor is programmable using industry-standard IEEE 488.2 SCPI commands via all three interfaces. LadyBug’s NoZero NoCal feature eliminates the need for zeroing and calibration prior to performing measurements.

Housed in a sturdy aluminum housing, the LB5918A is 1.6 in. in diameter and 3.0 in. long. It is supplied with a power-meter application that provides tabular logging, strip charting, analog gauge display, and math measurement windows that allow calculation between multiple sensors. The software also lets users set up unattended operation, the real-time clock, and other sensor features.

LB5918A product page

LadyBug Technologies, www.ladybug-tech.com

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    Pickering Interfaces Expands Range of PXI High Power Solid-State Switches

Pickering Interfaces Expands Range of PXI High Power Solid-State Switches

Pickering Interfaces, a leading provider of modular signal switching and instrumentation for use in electronic test and simulation, is pleased to introduce two new PXI high power solid-state switch modules to its range of PXI switching solutions


PXI 25A Solid-State SPST Switch (40-184) – offer 3 or 6-off SPST solid-state switches capable of handling 25A signals at up to 100V.


PXI 1.5A Solid-State SPST Switch (40-185) – offer 3 or 6-off SPST solid-state switches capable of handling 1.5A signals at up to 400V.


Both of these new PXI switching solutions use solid-state switch designs based on isolated MOSFET technology to provide solutions capable of switching very high power AC or DC signals without any lifetime degradation while used within their ratings. The solid-state SPST switches feature a fast operating time of less than 250µs and bounce-free state transitions that can handle high inrush currents on switching without any impact on lifetime.


These new switching modules are particularly well suited to use in PXI applications where higher voltages and powers are required. Applications include testing products used in transportation systems where mechanical relays are generally unsuitable because of limited switching capacity at the voltages and currents required.


For each model the 3-off SPST versions occupy one 3U PXI slot while the 6-off SPST versions require two 3U PXI slots. Each model uses robust high power D-type connectors that are fully supported by Pickering Interfaces’ range of connection accessories. The modules can also be supported in Pickering Interfaces LXI Modular chassis’ for users preferring Ethernet control of switching systems.


Pickering Interfaces stands behind all of their manufactured products with a standard three-year warranty and guaranteed long-term product support. Pricing and availability information is supplied on their web site www.pickeringtest.com


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