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PCI waveform digitizers offer dual-port memory

Posted: 17 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:AlazarTech? ATS860? waveform digitizer?

AlazarTech's new half-length ATS860 plug-in card family of 250KSps, 8bit PCI waveform digitizers offers OEMs the option of dual-port memory for applications in which acquisition cannot be stopped during data transfer to PC memory.

With the dual-port option, data can be transferred to PC memory even if an acquisition is in progress, thereby speeding trigger repeat rates, AlazarTech said. A standard ATS860 features 32Mbytes of memory, supporting up to 16 million points of acquisition memory for each channel. That standard memory can be upgraded to a 512Mbytes, providing up to 256 million samples per channel, the company said.

The system also uses scatter-gather bus mastering with direct memory access. In this scheme, data is acquired into on-board memory before being transferred to PC memory. The ATS860 system ensures fast rendering of captured data onscreen, according to the company.

Some PCI digitizers use large amounts of memory and Windows display routines to plot data slowly on-screen, but the ATS860's FPGA-based HyperDisP display management software renders very large data sets on-screen in a fraction of a second, AlazarTech said. Users can zero in on and zero out of a signal using HyperDisP.

The ATS860 provides two simultaneous analog inputs that can each be sampled at rates up to 250MSps (one ADC per channel). Each channel can have up to 256Mbytes of on-board acquisition memory buffer. The unit is said to occupy a single half-length PCI slot.

ATS860 PCI digitizers use FPGA-based digital electronics for control and data processing. The proprietary HyperDisP display technology allows the full 256Mbyte-long record to be displayed on a computer screen in seconds, according to AlazarTech.

The on-board FPGA can also be customized for OEMs. Customization can include simple control functions, such as extra triggers or trigger enables; simple mathematical functions, such as averaging; and such complex DSP functions as FIR filters, demodulation and fast Fourier transforms.

OEMs can integrate ATS860 PCI digitizers into their systems using the Windows XP/2000/98SE-compatible ATS-SDK software development kit. The kit includes sample programs written in C/C++ and Visual Basic. A high-performance LabVIEW VI version, called ATS-VI, is available as well. A Linux driver, ATS-Linux, is also available and supports kernel versions up to 2.6, according to the company.

A standard ATS860-16M is priced at $1,995 with availability in six weeks. The dual-port memory upgrade is priced at $645.


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