Generators – Signal

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RF Signal Generators – Portable Signal Generators


Signal generators, also known variously as function generatorsRF and microwave signal generatorspitch generatorsarbitrary waveform generatorsdigital pattern generators or frequency generators are electronic devices that generate repeating or non-repeating electronic signals (in either the analog or digital domains). They are generally used in designing, testing, troubleshooting, and repairing electronic or electroacoustic devices; though they often have artistic uses as well.

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There are many different types of signal generators, with different purposes and applications (and at varying levels of expense); in general, no device is suitable for all possible applications.

Traditionally, signal generators have been embedded hardware units, but since the age of multimedia-PCs, flexible, programmable software tone generators have also been available.

Analog signal generators

Analog signal generators based on a sine wave oscillator were common before the inception of digital electronics, and are still used. There was a sharp distinction in purpose and design of radio-frequency and audio-frequency signal generators.

RF signal generators are available as benchtop instruments, rackmount instruments, embeddable modules and in card-level formats. Mobile, field-testing and airborne applications benefit from lighter, battery-operated platforms. In automated and production testing, web-browser access, which allows multi-source control, and faster frequency switching speeds improve test times and throughput.  Audio-frequency signal generators generate signals in the audio-frequency range and above. An early example was the HP200A Audio Oscillator, the first product sold by the Hewlett-Packard Company in 1939. Applications include checking frequency response of audio equipment, and many uses in the electronic laboratory.

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