Synchronous Systems with more than 1000 channels
When doing large experiments, in the area of physics research as well as in production tests there is often the need to acquire a large number of channels simultaneously. Proprietary systems are often expensive, can only be extended by the components of one manufacturer and in many cases complicated to program. CAMAC (Computer Automated Measurement And Control) based systems are a possible solution though rather intended for more slow acquisition areas.
Spectrum, the specialist for PC instrumentation, is going a different way. Their huge range of PC instruments, easy to program under Windows and Linux, is combined with versatile synchronisation options.
Available for synchronisation is a huge variety of A/D cards of the M2i series starting with 16 channels 100 kS/s at 16 bit resolution, 8 channels 10 MS/s at 12 bit resolution up to 2 channels 100 MS/s at 12 bit resolution or even 2 channels 8 bit resolution at 200 MS/s. Using the Star-Hub 5 option up to 5 cards can be synchronised in one standard PC. At this setup the Star-Hub is not occupying any extra slot.
For industrial PCs with passive backplane the Star-Hub 16 option is best matching. Inhere up to 16 cards can run synchronously in one system. Both options allow to select any card as a clock master for the system as well as to use all trigger sources of all connected cards combined with OR or AND.
The new System Star-Hub goes even a step further and allows to synchronise up to 17 complete systems. In total this allows to run 271 cards synchronously. Inhere one master system distributes clock and trigger signals to all connected systems.
All A/D cards of Spectrum as well as all synchronisation options are designed for fully synchronous usage. Between the different channels there is nearly no phase delay independent whether the channels are located on one card, on different cards in one system or even in different systems. For this purpose each card is designed fully synchronously using one amplifier and one A/D converter for each channel. The synchronisation options (Star-Hub) connect the control signals of all cards with a defined and identical delay having all cards running with the same phase relation.
When plugging the maximum number of cards in one system one can get per example 256 synchronous 16 bit channels running with 500 kS/s per channel (using M2i.4731 – 16 channels 16 bit 500 kS/s card). Combining the maximum number of systems with the System Star-Hub one will end up with 4336 synchronous 16 bit channels. Just as well one can set up a system cluster with 2168 A/D channels with 12 bit resolution
and 25 MS/s per channel or 1084 A/D channels with 8 bit resolution and 100 MS/s per channel.
The new System Star-Hub also offers improved solutions for hard disk streaming. Before this option was available the hard disk streaming speed was limited by the system performance of one RAID controller. Connecting several systems with the System Star-Hub one can now arrange the channels to different systems each having the full hard disk streaming performance again.