The Difference Between Signal Generator and Function Generator

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difference between signal generator and function generator

A signal generator is an essential piece of test equipment to have in your toolkit, whether you are designing state-of-the-art communication systems or troubleshooting a simple analog circuit. It can produce a range of standard waveforms including sine, sawtooth, triangle, and square waves as well as ramp and pulse waveforms, and has a variety of control features allowing the user to vary their characteristics such as frequency, amplitude, and DC offset.

These basic waveforms are sufficient for testing a large number of items and are generally what is found within function generators. However, if more specialized waveforms are required then a different type of generator is needed such as an arbitrary waveform generator (AWG).

Decoding the Distinction: Understanding the Difference Between Signal Generators and Function Generators

Difference between signal generator and function generator are usually analog and use a capacitor oscillator and integrator circuit to generate the signal. They can either be used with a DC power supply or if a higher frequency is required a digital version is available using direct digital synthesis.

Modern function generators have advanced to a point where they are capable of generating any waveform described by the operator using a table of amplitudes and timings. Some even offer the ability to change the mark space ratio, for instance, a sawtooth shape may be adjusted to have a fast rise or slow fall edge. All of these options can be combined to create a custom-made output. The generators can also have other control features such as attenuation, modulation, and frequency sweep capabilities.

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