16-bit digitiser instruments updated, modular concept expanded

November 08, 2017 // By Graham Prophet
Spectrum Instrumentation (Grosshansdorf, northern Germany) has a long-established modular product series in the mid-range, 100-200 Msample/sec space, that employs a single common platform card, on to which a variety of specific-functionality daughter cards can be mounted.

The company has designed a compeltely new implementation of the carrier card, and along with it the first in new series of function modules. It retains the modular concept, with backward compatibility to the existing module range, while reducing footprint and uprating performance.


The M2p platform-board will be Specturm’s PCI Express (PCIe) base for all upcoming products. The other element is the 59xx module, which will be available in multiple variations. The M2p platform and 59xx module together form 13 different new digitizer cards with many of options of speed and channels. This mid-range digitizer series is designed to cover signal frequencies from 1 MHz to 40 MHz. Within that range, the units will replace all current 12, 14 and 16-bit models giving existing users an easy upgrade path with technical advantages. Applications for these new products are expected in the areas of ultrasound, laser, lidar, radar, automotive and ‘big physics’ experiments.


The M2p.59xx series is initially available with three different speed grades of 20, 40 and 80 Msmple/sec and from one to eight channels per card. Based on Spectrum's modular design philosophy, 13 different (factory-configured) models can be ordered. More models will be released in 2018.


Although the size of the product has been reduced (compared to the prior generation) to a half-length PCIe card, it offers more features than its predecessor. Each channel has a separate ADC and a fully individual programmable input amplifier with ranges between ±200 mV and ±10V, programmable input offset for unipolar measurements, programmable input termination of 50 Ohms and 1 MegaOhms and an integrated calibration circuit. Models are available with up to eight single-ended and up to four differential channels.


The reduced card length of 167 mm allows the powerful 16-bit digitizers to fit into much smaller PC systems, and compact card frames, than before - suited for compact OEM solutions. A PCIe x4 lane interface increases the available