Signal Generators

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What is a signal generator or function generator? Why are signal generators necessary?

A signal generator or function generator is an analog or digital device that generates voltage waveforms at a predetermined frequency and applies them to a device under test. A signal generator is an essential tool for testing circuits. A signal generator is easy to operate thanks to the buttons and switches on the main panel, which allow you to adjust the most important aspects of a waveform, such as its speed, amplitude, and offset, as well as add simple distortion and modulation.

What are the most common signal generators?

When it comes to possible applications, we'll go through some of the most common signal generators, each serving a different function. To generate simple repetitive waveforms – and to improve, test and repair electronic equipment – you can use a function generator.

The sine wave is the most common waveform, but sawtooth, step (pulse), square, and triangle waveform oscillators are also common. You can also use them to test amplifiers or to introduce an error signal into a control loop. The ability to add a DC offset is another feature found on many function generators. Function generators are usually used with analog circuits.

Although function generators cover both audio and RF frequencies, they are rarely used in applications that require low distortion or stable frequency signals. Other signal generators are better suited when those features are needed.

A complex signal generator, an arbitrary waveform generator (AWG or ARB), creates arbitrary waveforms within a certain frequency range, accuracy, and output level. Unlike a function generator, which can only output a limited number of waveforms, an AWG allows you to select a waveform as a source in several ways. If you want an application with a higher design and testing level, you use an AWG.

RF signal generators are used in wireless communications applications. They usually support analog modulation such as AM, FM, and PM. RF signal generators are therefore intended for anyone involved in RF or microwave testing and development.

Audio signal generators are signal generators used for the sound range, from 20 Hz to 20 kHz and above. They produce sine waves for audio applications. In addition, their most striking features are the audio measurements of frequency response and distortion measurements. Audio signal generators should have a flat response and low levels of harmonic distortion.

Looking for signal generators? What does Elektor have to offer?

A signal generator is one of the most important and flexible test equipment for your electronics workbench. Elektor offers both function and arbitrary waveform generators that offer excellent quality and flexibility, such as the Siglent SDG1032X 2-channel Signal Generator (30 MHz) and the OWON XDG3102 2-channel Arbitrary Waveform Generator.

The signal shapes range from the most common, such as sine wave, to Lorenz pulse or exponential rise/fall, and more. The frequency ranges serve special purposes, so there is a solution for every electrical engineer, maker and electronics enthusiast. Elektor also offers a variety of DIY kits.

Elektor has accessories for signal generators in stock. In addition to the signal generator itself, test leads with alligator clips and probes and patch leads of different lengths can further improve the quality. For even better results you have the option of a memory storage upgrade and bandwidth expansion.

Why should you buy a signal generator from Elektor?

Ready to start looking for a signal generator? Elektor stocks a wide variety of signal generators to meet the different needs of a wide range of customers. With some of the products we include helpful reviews that detail the specifications and features of the generators.


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