Spectrum Launches M3i.21xx Digitiser Series

Spectrum has introduced the M3i.21xx series digitiser, which is based on the M3i platform. Four different versions are available for all supported bus types ranging from 250MS/s to 1GS/s with one or two synchronous channels. All cards are available as PCI/PCI-X and PCI Express version for the same price. The M3i.21xx series is suitable for a large range of application areas, especially high-energy physics, research and development, radar, spectroscopy and laser applications. The card series uses monolithic A/D converters even for the 1GS/s acquisition mode.

This is said to eliminate problems that come from interlaced A/D converters often used by other products in this speed range. The highly configurable A/D amplifier stage consists of a 50ohm terminated path with a bandwidth of up to 500MHz and a second, high impedance path with a bandwidth >200MHz. Each channel has a programmable AC/DC coupling and a selectable low pass filter to optimise noise figures. The input stage can be on-board calibrated by issuing a calibration command in software.

Calibration values are stored in an on-board EEProm. The card comes as a standard with a 256MByte of memory and can be equipped with up to 4GByte of on-board memory to cope with the large amounts of data. Using the full memory option it is possible to acquire more than four seconds of data with 1GS/s, according to Spectrum. By choosing either the PCI 33/66MHz (PCI-X) or PCI Express interface model, continuous data can be streamed to PC RAM - its potential capacity now greatly extended in the 64-bit Windows and Linux environments.

The fast Fifo data interface (up to 245Mbytes/s) in combination with the multiple recording option and the complete on-board memory used as a Fifo buffer makes it possible to acquire data segments on every trigger event for hours. The multiple-recording option can be programmed with pre- and post-trigger, an extended trigger delay and a combination of trigger modes to cover nearly all application requirements that may occur. Multiple recording may be combined with the timestamp option that will stamp each trigger event in relation to the internal clock base or even an external time signal.

The M3i.21xx is delivered with Windows drivers supporting Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7, each 32- and 64-bit version as well as Linux 32/64-bit drivers, a set of programming examples and a basic version of the SBench 6 software. SBench 6 digitiser software supports all software-programmable features of the hardware. It has been optimised for handling GBytes of acquired data and is available for Windows and Linux with KDE and Gnome. The existing Spectrum SPCM drivers are used for programming the board, with the flexibility of the drivers allowing the programmer to build and design an application to exactly meet his or her requirements.

The driver supports all M3i cards as well as all M2i cards, allowing easy upgrade hardware for existing applications. A set of standard programming examples is provided to illustrate the board's main signal capture functions. Extensive support includes Visual C++, Borland C++, Gnu C++, Visual Basic, VB.Net, C#, J# and Delphi code. This card series comes with a two-year manufacturer guarantee.


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