Function generators

The Handyscope HS3 and Handyscope HS5 Arbitrary Waveform Generators can be used to generate standard as well as arbitrary signals. An arbitrary signal can be any previously measured signal or software generated data.

Control window

The Handyscope HS5 and Handyscope HS3 Arbitrary Waveform Generators can be controlled with the Arbitrary waveform generator control window, which is shown in figure 1.

Extended Arbitrary waveform generator control window.

Figure 1: Extended Arbitrary waveform generator control window.

The Arbitrary waveform generator control window contains toolbars for easy access to frequently used functions, a display to show the generated signal and control groups for signal properties. The toolbars and control groups are described below.

Toolbars

The Arbitrary waveform generator control window has two fully configurable toolbars. The toolbars can be populated with buttons for easy access to frequently used functions and signal settings:

Icon Action Short description Hotkey
Open Open Open settings and/or arbitrary data Ctrl + O
Save Save Save settings and/or arbitrary data Ctrl + S
Save as Save as Save settings and/or arbitrary data in a new file
Reload Reload Reload previously opened or saved settings and/or arbitrary data
Help Help Display help about the Arbitrary waveform generator F1
Always on top Always on top Keep the Arbitrary waveform generator window on top of other windows
Colorscheme Color scheme Select a color scheme for the Arbitrary waveform generator control window
Settings Settings Display settings to configure the Arbitrary waveform generator control window
Output on Output on Switch the Arbitrary waveform generator output on or off F2
Output invert Output invert Switch the Arbitrary waveform generator output invert on or off Ctrl + F2
Start Stop Start / Stop Start / stop signal generation spacebar
Burst Generator mode Select the Generator mode
Signal frequency Sample frequency Frequency mode Select the Frequency mode
Linear sweep Logarithmic sweep Sweep Generate a sweep signal
Sine Sine Generate a sine wave F3
Triangle Triangle Generate a triangular wave F4
Square Square Generate a square wave F5
Pulse Pulse Generate a pulse signal F9
DC DC Generate a DC level F6
Noise Noise Generate noise F7
Arbitrary Arbitrary Generate an arbitrary signal F8

Signal properties

Depending on the selected signal type and generator mode, various signal properties like frequency or amplitude can be set. To adjust a signal property, the label with the name of the property can be clicked. This opens a dialog in which the requested value can be entered. This dialog accepts prefixes like u, m, k, M, etc.

Properties can also be adjusted by clicking the digits or scrolling the mouse wheel when the mouse pointer is over a specific digit. Clicking the upper half of a digit will increase the value of that digit, while clicking the lower half of a digit decreases it. Digits that are currently off, can be enabled by clicking their upper half.

Arbitrary waveform generator digit control

Output invert

The output invert option is used to invert the generated signal pattern. The signal is inverted around the selected offset level. Use it e.g. to create pulse signals with a negative pulse.

Generator mode

The following generator modes are supported:

Icon Mode Description
Continuous Continuous When the start button is pressed, the signal generation is started and continues until stopped by the user.
Burst Burst When the start button is pressed, the signal generation is started. It stops automatically after 'burst count' periods. The output then goes to the selected offset level.
Sample count Sample count The signal pattern buffer is divided in a number of segments with a specified length in samples. When the generator is started, each time external trigger input 2 becomes active, the generator generates the next segment, after which the generator automatically stops and the output will go to the selected Offset. When all sements have been generated, the generator will start on the first segment again, on the next activation of external trigger input 2.
Sample count output Sample count output The signal pattern buffer is divided in a number of segments with a specified length in samples. When the generator is started, each time external trigger input 2 becomes active, the generator generates the next segment, after which the generator automatically stops and the output will remain at the level of the last generated sample. When all sements have been generated, the generator will start on the first segment again, on the next activation of external trigger input 2.
Gated periods Gated periods After the start button is pressed, signal generation is started at a new period, when external trigger input 2 becomes active. When external trigger input 2 becomes inactive again, the current period is finalized, signal generation stops and the output goes to the selected offset level.
Gated Gated When the start button is pressed, signal generation is started, but the output remains at the selected offset level until external trigger input 2 becomes active. When external trigger input 2 becomes inactive again, the output goes to the selected offset level again.
Gated Period Start Gated period start After the start button is pressed, signal generation is started at a new period, when external trigger input 2 becomes active. When external trigger input 2 becomes inactive again, signal generation stops and the output goes to the selected offset level.
Gated Period Finish Gated period finish When the start button is pressed, signal generation is started, but the output remains at the selected offset level until external trigger input 2 becomes active. When external trigger input 2 becomes inactive again, the current period is finalized and the output goes to the selected offset level.
Gated run Gated run After the start button is pressed, signal generation is started at a new period, when external trigger input 2 becomes active. When external trigger input 2 becomes inactive again, signal generation is paused and the output goes to the selected offset level.
Gated run output Gated run output After the start button is pressed, signal generation is started at a new period, when external trigger input 2 becomes active. When external trigger input 2 becomes inactive again, signal generation is paused and the output remains at the last generated signal level.

Note that the EXT2 input is active by default, unless pulled down.

Generator mode can only be set when the generator is stopped.

Frequency mode

When an arbitrary signal is selected, the frequency mode of the Arbitrary waveform generator can be set. The following frequency modes are supported:

Icon Mode Description
Signal frequency Signal frequency The frequency controls set the frequency at which the displayed signal will be repeated.
Sample frequency Sample frequency The frequency controls set the sample frequency at which the individual samples of the displayed signal will be generated.

With signal types sine, triangle, square and DC, the frequency mode is fixed to signal frequency. With signal type noise the frequency mode is fixed to sample frequency.

Sweep

The sweep function enables a linear or logarithmic continuous sweep with the selected signal type (sine, triangle or square). The sweep runs from Frequency1 to Frequency2, where Frequency1 is allowed to be higher than Frequency2. Optionally, the sweep can start at a different frequency than Frequency1 by setting the Start Frequency to a value between the two sweep frequencies. Duration determines the sweep duration.

Arbitrary waveform generator sweep

Figure 2: Sweeping from 10 Hz to 40 kHz in 1 second.

The accuracy of the sweep is determined by sweep settings in the settings dialog. The minimum and maximum number of samples that are used for one period of the signal can be set, as well as the maximum amount of samples for the complete sweep. Higher values will give a more accurate sweep, but changes to sweep properties will take a bit longer to take effect.

Sweep is only available on Handyscope HS5 models with extended memory option XM.

Setfiles

All settings and arbitrary data of the Arbitrary waveform generator can be saved in setfiles with the "Save" and "Save as" buttons on the toolbar or with hotkey Ctrl + S.

Setfiles can be loaded with the "Load" or "Reload" toolbar button, with hotkey Ctrl + O or by dragging a setfile onto the Arbitrary waveform generator control window.

Arbitrary data

Besides some standard signals, the Arbitrary Waveform Generator can output arbitrary data. There are different ways of loading such data into the generator. Data can be loaded directly from an open source in the software, or from a file.

Loading arbitrary data from an open source

Data of every source in the Multi Channel oscilloscope software can be loaded directly into an Arbitrary waveform generator. This means that measured data, but also processed or generated data can be put into the Arbitrary waveform generator. There are two ways to do this. One way is to drag the source onto the Arbitrary waveform generator in the object tree. The other way to get the data of a source is to drag the source onto a Arbitrary waveform generator control window.

Loading arbitrary data from a file

Besides loading data from a source, it can also be loaded from a file. Currently, loading data from TiePie engineering TPS files, TiePie engineering WinSoft DAT files and from Wave audio files is supported.

From a TiePie engineering TPS file, data can be read from each Arbitrary waveform generator or Source chunk in the file.

From a TiePie engineering WinSoft DAT file, data will be read from the first channel in the file.

Data from Wave audio files can also be read into the Arbitrary waveform generator. If more than 1 channel is available in the file, only the first channel will be read. All uncompressed Wave audio files with a resolution of 8, 16, 32 or 64 bit are supported.

A trick to load ASCII data

You can create ASCII files that look like WinSoft DAT files to be able to load your data into the function generator's memory. Because the function generator only loads the data of channel 1, only the third column is needed in the file. You may create a file with .DAT extension and contents looking like this:

[SCOPE]
,,0
,,1
,,2.5
,,-4

This file contains 4 lines of voltage values, but the file may contain any number of data lines.

Hotkeys

The Arbitrary waveform generator can be controlled with several hotkeys, see the hotkey page for a complete list.

Oscilloscope triggering

The Arbitrary waveform generator in the Handyscope HS5 and Handyscope HS3 has three trigger output signals which are internally connected to the trigger system of the oscilloscope part of the instrument. In the oscilloscope they can be used as trigger source, to provide an exact synchronization between signal generation and measuring. The available trigger signals are:

  • Generator Start
    This signal is generated when continuous generation or burst generation is started, either by the Start button or by an external trigger signal.
  • Generator New Period
    This signal is generated when the whole buffer of the Arbitrary waveform generator has been processed and the Arbitrary waveform generator starts at the beginning of the buffer again.
  • Generator Stop
    This signal is generated when continuous generation of burst generation is stopped by the the Stop button or burst generation is stopped because the required number of periods has been generated.