Spectrum has made a number of academic tools available that can be used to learn the basics of waveform generation, acquisition and analysis. The tools are freely available for download on the Spectrum website and are designed so that they can be used by teachers and other educators for structured learning classes. The academic tools are also helpful for first time digitiser and Arbitrary Waveform Generator (AWG) users.
At the heart of the academic tools is the SBench 6 software. SBench 6 is an advanced program that provides a graphical user interface for control of PC-based instrumentation such as digitisers and AWGs. SBench 6 is designed for the high-speed instruments from Spectrum that cover the range from 100kS/s (100 kilo samples per second) up to 5GS/s thus being suitable for signal frequencies from a few kHz up to GHz range. A key feature of SBench 6 is that it can operate with simulated demonstration hardware allowing the user to effectively manipulate virtual instruments, without the need to have real hardware. The program enables simulated instrument control and allows data to be displayed, manipulated, analysed and documented.
The educational tools include the SBench 6 program, articles explaining its use, a step-by-step guide that shows the process for installing virtual hardware, and a number of examples that demonstrate how to create, capture and analyse waveforms. The examples are easy to follow and explain the different ways that signals can be generated, how to make basic measurements (such as waveform parameters) and how to perform analysis (such as spectral analysis with a Fast Fourier Transformation or FFT).