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Shahriar Shahramian tears down Siglent SSA3032X 9kHz - 3.2GHz Spectrum Analyzer, finds Spartan-6 FPGA orchestrating the internals

by Xilinx Employee ‎10-11-2017 03:38 PM - edited ‎10-11-2017 03:41 PM (2,269 Views)


Shahriar Shahramian, department head for millimeter-Wave ASIC Research at Nokia Bell Labs, has a YouTube channel that he calls “The Signal Path” where he delivers high-quality introductory videos about many areas in electronics and deeply knowledgeable teardowns of equipment—often high-frequency equipment. (He’s been making these videos for nearly seven years.) His teardown videos often uncover Xilinx All Programmable devices inside the equipment he studies, and this blog is about just such an instrument: the $2595 Siglent SSA3032X 9kHz - 3.2GHz Spectrum Analyzer and Tracking Generator (SA and TG).



Siglent SSA3032X Spectrum Analyzer.jpg



Siglent SSA3032X 9kHz - 3.2GHz Spectrum Analyzer and Tracking Generator




A recently published teardown video by Shahramian shows you how the Siglent SSA3032X SA and TG is designed and how it works. In this 1-hour video, you get a detailed look inside of the Siglent SSA3032X SA and TG, Shahramian’s analysis of how the instrument is designed, extended demonstrations of its performance while conducting myriad RF tests, and a very good look at the components used in the instrument’s design.


While examining the instrument’s digital board, Shahramian points out a Xilinx Spartan-6 LX45 FPGA (at 8:40 in the video). Based on its physical location, he concludes that the FPGA is used for real-time control of the SA’s analog sections and ADC, graphics and control of its large 1024x600-pixel LCD, and monitoring of the instrument’s front-panel controls. The FPGA acts as the Spectrum Analyzer’s real-time control master, working in tandem with the on-board TI Sitara microprocessor, which is based on an ARM Cortex-A8 microprocessor.




Siglent SSA3032X Spectrum Analyzer Digital Board.jpg



The digital board for the Siglent SSA3032X 9kHz - 3.2GHz Spectrum Analyzer and Tracking Generator uses a Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA for real-time instrument control and management




If you have the time, the video is well worth watching:





By the way, if you like Shahramian’s videos, one way you can help him is to let vendors like Siglent know you watched this video to learn about the company’s SSA3032X.



by Explorer
on ‎10-11-2017 06:32 PM
You say " Frequency Range from 9 kHz up to 3.2 GHz -161 dBm/Hz Displayed Average Noise Level (Typ.) -98 dBc/Hz @10 kHz Offset Phase Noise (1 GHz, Typ.) Average Noise shows the signal floor but what is the SNR then? Phase noise is Jitter and Jitter = phase Angle error (Radian or Degrees)/ 360 or pi * Frequency (Hz) so what is the frequency accuracy? Per example Agilent J-BERT N4903A is offering the frequency accuracy +- 15 ppm, but with the deviation of 0.5% frequency accuracy The highest frequency achieved using the Spartan 6 is 200MHz so how do you get 3.2GHz how many points resolution is your wave 32bits? If you post your info in this forum its because you want people to debate so I am raising these questions nonetheless I am real impressed Spartan 6 was used for this application and am curious to see how much better the FPGA is to the DSP Good Job!
by Xilinx Employee
on ‎10-12-2017 05:47 AM

Shariar did not post this blog, I did. If you want to ask questions of him about his video, you'd best go to his YouTube channel to ask him. I don't know that he's likely to see your questions here and I certainly can't answer questions about his video.




About the Author
  • Be sure to join the Xilinx LinkedIn group to get an update for every new Xcell Daily post! ******************** Steve Leibson is the Director of Strategic Marketing and Business Planning at Xilinx. He started as a system design engineer at HP in the early days of desktop computing, then switched to EDA at Cadnetix, and subsequently became a technical editor for EDN Magazine. He's served as Editor in Chief of EDN Magazine, Embedded Developers Journal, and Microprocessor Report. He has extensive experience in computing, microprocessors, microcontrollers, embedded systems design, design IP, EDA, and programmable logic.