3/28/2006 - Signal Forge released a new digitally synthesized signal generator. The Signal Forge 1000 with a frequency range of 1 Hz to 1 GHz, multiple output types and a variety of waveform modulation options combine to offer the features of a signal source, a function generator and an arbitrary waveform generator in a single product. The Signal Forge 1000 (SF1000) is small enough8.5in x 5.4in x 1.5inand light enough, at 1.75 pounds, to fit in a briefcase, making it ideal for field engineers and service personnel.
Unlike other small-sized signal generators, the SF1000 is a high performance device with a stable, accurate 1 GHz frequency range. Also unique are the signal outputs which include: an AC-coupled output for RF and wireless device testing; a digital (TTL) output for testing clock-driven systems and ICs up to 110 MHz; and a differential output for testing communication equipment as well as differential clock-driven systems up to 1 GHz.
The waveform modulation functions supported include: square and sinusoidal AM, ASK, FKS (ramped, unramped, triangle), OOK and Shaped OOK, Arbitrary/CHIRP modulation as well as fully programmable frequency sweep control. These features expand the capabilities of the SF1000 beyond a typical signal source and provide the functionality needed for a wide range of digital IC and RF test applications.
Some of the applications that the SF1000 may be used for include: testing the setup and hold of digital devices, as well as the design margins of digital, clock-driven circuit boards (determining the effect of oscillator drift on a circuit), by configuring the digital and differential outputs in sweep mode; testing and calibrating IF and RF sections of receivers and wireless devices; testing amplifiers for gain and for the 1 dB compression point. It may also used as a Local Oscillator (L.O.) source and an RF exciter with modulation to test receiver response (the FSK and frequency sweep functions may be used to test FM receivers). And, the SF1000 may be used for testing the third-order intercept point (IP3) of radio systems and alignment of receivers. Other applications include: automotive electronics testing (simulate input sensors); examining the spectral response of circuits; and low cost manufacturing test of high-speed cables and connectors.
Setup and control is accomplished using the Wave Manager software, a menu-driven application, that is installed onboard the SF1000. Standard serial communication software, such as HyperTerminal, is used to access and display the Wave Manager on a PC. There is no need to install special software on the client PC, which enhances the portability of the SF1000 and reduces compatibility and support issues related to client-side software.
Until now, high-performance test equipment came in large, expensive packages making it difficult to take it into the field. The SF1000, with its $985 price and small size, solves this problem. “Customers have really responded well to the portable ‘feature’ of our signal generators. For example, we have a field service engineer using our signal generator to calibrate communications receivers in Iraq and field engineers at a semiconductor manufacturer who take the SF1000 with them to customer sites to help debug the customer’s designs,” said David Race, chief executive officer. “There are also research labs that take advantage of the small size and rack mount bracket to setup multiple test systems while using only a 1U space in their rack,” he added.
The Signal Forge 1000 is priced at $985 and is available now. It may be purchased directly from the Signal Forge web site or by calling the company at 512-275-3733.
Signal Forge, LLC was founded in 2004 by semiconductor industry veterans to develop and market high performance test equipment in small, affordable packages. The company takes an innovative approach to solving problems that the founders faced repeatedly in circuit board and IC design labs over the past 20 yearsthe need to accelerate product development schedules on a limited budget.
Signal Forge employs a ‘design for cost and portability’ approach to its product designs. It’s first product, the Signal Forge 800 Signal Generator, was released in September 2005.
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