Tektronix says AFGs have lagged behind other test instrumentation in terms of usability, making do with small displays and other shortcomings that make them hard to learn and operate such as a lack the deep memory and programming capability needed to compose a series of test cases with complex timing.
Traditional AFGs assume they are driving a 50 Ω impedance. However, most devices under test (DUTs) do not have a 50 Ω impedance. This mismatch results in an inconsistency between the waveform as set on the AFG and the signal at the DUT. The patented InstaView feature on the new AFG31000 series addresses this problem by monitoring and displaying the waveform at the DUT without the need for additional cables or instruments. The waveform shown on the display instantly responds to changes in frequency, amplitude, waveform shape as well as the DUT’s impedance, saving time and boosting confidence.
A new tool called ArbBuilder uses the large screen to allow engineers to create and edit arbitrary waveforms directly on the instrument without needing to create the waveforms on a PC and transferring them to the instrument. This can boost test efficiency especially for arbitrary waveforms that need to change frequently. For users who wants to replicate waveforms captured by an oscilloscope, they can save waveforms as .csv files and use ArbBuilder to load them directly into the AFG31000.
“A major point of emphasis for us is to put tools in the hands of our customers that make their lives easier so they in turn can bring innovative new products to market faster and more efficiently. With an interface defined last decade, AFGs have actually started to become an obstacle to productivity,” said Lori Kieklak, Vice President and General Manager, Keithley Product Line at Tektronix.
Next: 9in screen
The 9-inch capacitive touchscreen is the largest available on an AFG, allowing users to see all related settings and parameters on a single screen within a shallow menu tree. An intuitive user interface saves users time in both learning and operating the instrument. In the Advanced mode, the instrument’s up-to 128 Mpts of waveform memory can be segmented into up to 256 entries, and users can drag and drop long waveforms, or multiple waveforms in the sequencer and define how they are output. Compared to arbitrary waveform generators, the AFG31000 series reduces instrument costs by as much as 90 percent, giving users who need long, non-repeating waveforms, or multiple waveforms with complex timing an affordable alternative.Current AFG users, who are well aware of the limitations of AFGs, see the new sequencing and ArbBuilder features of the AFG31000 series as a significant boost to productivity and efficiency.
The AFGs are available in 1- or 2-channel configurations and deliver 14-bit vertical resolution along with 250 MSa/s, 1 GSa/s or 2 GSa/s sample rate performance. Additionally, in traditional AFG mode, users can change frequency without worrying about waveform length and sample rate. Output amplitude range is 1 mVP-P to 10 VP-P into 50 Ω loads.
The AFG31000 series arbitrary/function generator models with 25, 50 or 100 MHz bandwidth are available in Europe. Models with 150 or 250 MHz bandwidth are scheduled for release in November. Prices start at £1,650.
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