Variable Clock Arbitrary Waveform Generator

- details of the variable clock version of the arbitrary waveform generator - how it works and its advantages and disadvantages when compared to other forms of AWG.

Variable-clock arbitrary waveform generator is the more flexible and also the more complicated form of arbitrary waveform generator.

In view of its complexity, the variable clock arbitrary waveform generator is more complex to use and also more expensive. Accordingly it may not always be the most suitable instrument.


Variable clock arbitrary waveform generator basics

The variable clock arbitrary function generator is the more flexible form of arbitrary waveform generator.

The first variable clock arbitrary waveform generators used variable frequency clocks to serially access points on a waveform stored in RAM. These digital representations were then converted into an analogue format. For this form of signal generator, the repetition frequency was simply the clock frequency divided by the number of waveform points.

Further developments of the variable clock waveform generator included techniques such as memory segmentation and sequencing. These techniques greatly improved the capabilities of these AWGs.

Variable clock arbitrary waveform generator Block diagram of a variable clock arbitrary waveform generator


Advantages / disadvantages of variable clock AWG

The variable clock arbitrary waveform generator is the most sophisticated form of arbitrary waveform or function generator. However it is not suitable for all applications..

Variable clock AWG advantages

  • Sophisticated waveform generation:   The variable clock arbitrary waveform generator is the most sophisticated for of waveform generator. It can produce the widest variation of waveforms of any form of generator.
  • Linking of waveforms:   It is possible to set up several waveforms within the memory and then link them together as required using the memory segmentation techniques available

Variable clock AWG disadvantages

  • Costly:   In view of the additional flexibility of the circuit, far more hardware si required, and this increases the cost of the test instrument.
  • More complicated set-up:   The added flexibility and capability of the variable clock arbitrary waveform generator means that it takes more expertise to programme, and it takes longer. Accordingly it may not always be appropriate for applications where simple standard waveforms are sufficient.

By Ian Poole


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