Although more complicated than some other forms of arbitrary waveform generators, AWGs, the variable clock arbitrary waveform generator is able to offer advantages in terms of the generation of complex waveforms and linkage of several waveforms together.
The variable clock arbitrary waveform generator is more complicated to use and in view of the internal electronics, it is also more expensive than other types.
Its flexibility and capabilities mean that this form of arbitrary waveform generator offers capabilities that are not available elsewhere and as such it fulfils a vital role for many test systems.
Variable clock arbitrary waveform generator basics
The variable clock arbitrary function generator is the more flexible form of arbitrary waveform generator.
The first variable clock arbitrary waveform generators used variable frequency clocks to serially access points on a waveform stored in RAM. These digital representations were then converted into an analogue format. For this form of signal generator, the repetition frequency was simply the clock frequency divided by the number of waveform points.
Further developments of the variable clock waveform generator included techniques such as memory segmentation and sequencing. These techniques greatly improved the capabilities of these AWGs.
Advantages / disadvantages of variable clock AWG
The variable clock arbitrary waveform generator is the most sophisticated form of arbitrary waveform or function generator. However it is not suitable for all applications..
Variable clock AWG advantages
- Sophisticated waveform generation: The variable clock arbitrary waveform generator is the most sophisticated for of waveform generator. It can produce the widest variation of waveforms of any form of generator.
- Linking of waveforms: It is possible to set up several waveforms within the memory and then link them together as required using the memory segmentation techniques available
Variable clock AWG disadvantages
- Costly: In view of the additional flexibility of the circuit, far more hardware si required, and this increases the cost of the test instrument.
- More complicated set-up: The added flexibility and capability of the variable clock arbitrary waveform generator means that it takes more expertise to programme, and it takes longer. Accordingly it may not always be appropriate for applications where simple standard waveforms are sufficient.
Although the cost of the variable clock arbitrary waveform generator is higher than that of other types, its capabilities enable it to generate very complex waveforms and as a result, it is often the only solution that can be employed. Accordingly it is an essential tool for many test systems.
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