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High-Speed Data Acquisition Module with Multi-Board Synchronization

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A high-speed data acquisition module is capable of digitizing one 12-bit channel at 3.6 GHz, or two channels at 1.8 GHz. The Model 71640 from Pentek has provisions for the synchronization of multiple boards for capture and analysis of even wider bandwidths. Leveraging the National Semiconductor ADC12D1800 12-bit A/D converter, the 71640 provides two transformer-coupled RF input ports that can operate in single- or dual-channel mode. The 71640 also includes an onboard Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA for customer-specific data processing. The module includes four banks of 256 Mbyte DDR3 SDRAM and built-in triggered data capture functions for acquiring precise data blocks. An optimized multi-channel DMA engine provides efficient data movement over the Gen2 x8 PCIe interface to host processors. An optional 8x, or dual 4x, gigabit serial I/O interface allows users to support application-specific protocols and create high-bandwidth paths between modules or to additional signal processing engines. Pentek offers cPCI, PCIe, VPX and ruggedized, extended-temperature versions of the 71640. 

Radar and broadband communications signal acquisition are prime applications for the 71640. To capture wideband signals with previous-generation A/D modules, developers needed to split those signals into smaller overlapping bands and use multiple A/Ds to digitize those bands. This created challenges whenever the target signal fell in the overlap band. The 71640’s wide bandwidth now allows system designers to eliminate the pitfalls of such overlap processing while also saving system costs of the band-splitting filters and multiple data acquisition boards. For even wider bandwidths or for multi-channel systems, the 71640 offers a synchronization bus that works with a companion timing module for sample-accurate synchronization of multiple Cobalt modules.

Pentek’s ReadyFlow board support package for the 71640 allows quick configuration of the board’s features including a linked-list DMA engine and automatic appending of metadata and time stamps to support storage and post-capture analysis of acquired signals. In addition, Pentek’s GateFlow tool provides developers with libraries and design support for implementing their own real-time analysis using the onboard Virtex-6 FPGA. Pricing starts at $17,445.

Pentek, Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201) 818-5900. [www.pentek.com].