HDAWG Q & A

Are there different hardware configurations available?
Yes, there are two configurations: a 4-channel and an 8-channel model (HDAWG4 and HDAWG8). The HDAWG4 cannot be upgraded to an HDAWG8 and the upgrade options for the two models are not compatible, i.e. you cannot install the HDAWG4-FG Function Generator option on the HDAWG8 and vice versa.
Do I need a computer to operate the HDAWG?
Yes, this instrument is operated from a computer connected via USB 3.0 or 1GbE. The computer uploads waveform and sequence data to the AWG. Once the AWG is started, it generates its signal autonomously and doesn't strictly depend on the computer any more.
How can I install and update the control software?
The LabOne software is freely available on our download center with updates appearing on a regular basis. The LabOne software provides a single-click utility to update the instrument firmware as well.
Where can I get a live demonstration of the HDAWG Arbitrary Waveform Generator?
Just call us on +41 44 515 0410 or send a quick note with your contact details and preferred time slot. We're happy to schedule an online demo to discuss your requirements and check if there is a match with the HDAWG instrument capabilities.
How many markers does HDAWG have? How can I access them?
The HDAWG has two markers per channel (8/16 in total). One of the two markers per channel is on the front panel (SMA), and one is on the back panel (32-bit DIO). Using any of the markers does not reduce the 16 bit resolution of the output.
How can I use the 4 (8) Trigger input connectors?
The HDAWG offers triggering possibilities that go beyond the simple triggered mode of other AWGs, and in addition provides pulse counting functionality related to the HDAWG-CNT Pulse Counter option. The HDAWG offers a mode in which pairs of channels (1&2, 3&4, 5&6, 7&8) can be programmed and run as completely independent AWG units. In particular, they can be triggered separately. In addition, a single sequence program can listen to several trigger inputs, e.g. as a line and frame trigger input, and can use the state of a trigger as an input for sequence branching.
Can I synchronize multiple HDAWG instruments?
Yes, the Multi-Device Synchronization (MDS) feature automatically aligns the signal timing of up to 8 HDAWGs sample-precise. In addition, it allows you to control use a single user interface and sequence program to control all channels of the HDAWG stack. The synchronization relies on bidirectional exchange of trigger signals over the MDS connectors on the back panel of the instruments.
What kind of support will I receive if the instrument is purchased from a local partner instead from Zurich Instruments directly?
All users receive support from the experts in Zurich independently from where the purchase was made. Local sales partners, where available, also provide first level support in the local language. For extended support, instrument calibration or service, please check the Support page for more information.
How does programming the HDAWG differ from programming other AWGs? What language do I use to program the HDAWG?
The LabOne AWG Sequencer uses a high-level language derived from C - sometimes referred to as seqC - that is natural to read and write. You will maintain a much better understanding of what is going on as compared to the traditional approach of piling up the sequence as a table of machine instructions still common for many AWGs. The LabOne sequencer language comes with an integrated waveform generation tool. You can simply define the waveforms in the sequence editor where you need them, instead of splitting this task out into a separate waveform generation tool or even third-party software like MATLAB®. Editor features like code completion and debugging messages assure fast and convenient learning for new users.
How can I benefit from the HDAWG's amplitude modulation feature?
Time-consuming waveform uploads are significantly faster and the entire sequence definition and variation is much simpler when using signals with a sinusoidal carrier. This is because amplitude modulation makes the carrier independent of the programmed waveform. The carrier parameters (frequency, phase, amplitude, offset) are then adjustable with only few mouse clicks.
How can I benefit from the HDAWG's user registers?
They increase the flexibility in pattern generation. User registers facilitate variable delays, serve as an index to select a certain waveform, or alter output values on the DIO interface. You can change them manually from the user interface, or perform an automated sweep.
Does the HDAWG support sequence branching?
Yes. To include a sequence branch, simply use an "if" statement in the LabOne sequence program
What kind of waveforms can I generate with the LabOne AWG Sequencer?
Common waveforms (Blackman, Gauss, chirp, sine, square, sinc, DRAG, and more) are available as sequencer commands. You can also add, multiply, cut, concatenate, and scale waveforms, and make use of loop iterations to generate systematic series of waveforms. You can easily import your own waveform data e.g. by drag-and-drop of a CSV files in the user interface.
What is inside the box?
The instruments are equipped with a country-specific power cable, a USB 3.0 cable, a 1GbE cable, and a printed copy of the quick start guide.
Does the AWG support Amplitude Modulation (AM), Frequency Modulation (FM), Phase Modulation (PM) and Double Sideband Modulation (DSB)?
The HDAWG supports AM out of the box. The HDAWG-MF Multi-frequency option enables quadrature modulation based on two quadrature channels added up internally. With this technique, arbitrary modulation schemes can be realized including FM, PM, or DSB.
Can I integrate the AWG into my existing control software?
If you rely on custom MATLAB®, LabVIEW®, Python, .NET, or C software, the integration is straightforward using the LabOne APIs. The LabOne graphical user interface helps you in finding the right API command for a given instrument setting through its command log feature.
How can I synchronize the HDAWG with AWGs and Digitizers from other vendors?
The HDAWG provides standard trigger input and output functionalities to synchronize the signal generation of two or more instruments.
What is the shipping cost for the HDAWG?
The shipping cost depends on the location and varies between 100 and 250 USD worldwide. For a detailed quotation please get in touch with us.
Are sequence programs written for the UHF-AWG compatible with the HDAWG?
Yes, the scripts are fully compatible.
Does the HDAWG have a built-in oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer like the UHFAWG?
No, the HDAWG does not have analog signal inputs and is a pure signal generation instrument, with the exception of pulse counting functionality that comes with the HDAWG-CNT option.
How can I import a waveform recorded on a scope?
Waveform data in CSV (comma-separated value) file format can be easily uploaded to the HDAWG for instance via drag-and-drop in the LabOne user interface.
How do I transfer my sequence scripts from other AWGs?
Simple conversion from Tektronix' SEQ sequence file format to Zurich Instruments' SeqC file format will be available with a subsequent LabOne release.

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