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Original Title: Function generator

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electrical waveforms. These waveforms can be either repetitive or single-shot, in which

case some kind of triggering source is required (internal or external).

Function Generators are used in development, testing and repair of electronic equipment,

e.g. as a signal source to test amplifiers, or to introduce an error signal into a control loop.

Contents

[hide]

• 1 Explanation

• 2 Other meanings

• 3 See also

• 4 External links

[edit] Explanation

Analog function generators usually generate a triangle waveform as the basis for all of its

other outputs. The triangle is generated by repeatedly charging and discharging a

capacitor from a constant current source. This produces a linearly ascending or

descending voltage ramp. As the output voltage reaches upper and lower limits, the

charging and discharging is reversed using a comparator, producing the linear triangle

wave. By varying the current and the size of the capacitor, different frequencies may be

obtained. Sawtooth waves can be produced by charging the capacitor slowly, using a

current, but using a diode over the current source to discharge quickly - the polarity of the

diode changes the polarity of the resulting sawtooth, i.e. slow rise and fast fall, or fast rise

and slow fall.

A 50% duty cycle square wave is easily obtained by noting whether the capacitor is being

charged or discharged, which is reflected in the current switching comparator's output.

Other duty cycles (theoretically from 0% to 100%) can be obtained by using a

comparator and the sawtooth or triangle signal. Most function generators also contain a

non-linear diode shaping circuit that can convert the triangle wave into a reasonably

accurate sine wave. It does so by rounding off the hard corners of the triangle wave in a

process similar to clipping in audio systems.

higher frequencies are not function generators in the strict sense since they typically

produce pure or modulated sine signals only.

Function generators, like most signal generators, may also contain an attenuator, various

means of modulating the output waveform, and often the ability to automatically and

repetitively "sweep" the frequency of the output waveform (by means of a voltage-

controlled oscillator) between two operator-determined limits. This capability makes it

very easy to evaluate the frequency response of a given electronic circuit.

More advanced function generators use Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) to generate

waveforms. Arbitrary waveform generators use DDS to generate any waveform that can

be described by a table of amplitudes.

some mathematical function of its input; for example, the output may be proportional to

the square root of the input. Such devices are used in feedback control systems and in

analog computers. A function generator IC named ICL8038 (which is also used as

Voltage Controlled Oscillator (VCO)) can be used to generate triangular wave, square

wave, saw-tooth wave or even, sine wave simultaneously. For maximum voltage rating of

36, more than 300kHz of frequency can be generated.

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