ERASynth Micro is an open source signal generator with impressive features. Everyone can afford it, including makers, hackers, students, ham radio and SDR users. ERASynth Micro can be powered from a USB port and features an LCD interface for standalone use without a computer or phone. It can generate low phase noise RF signals from 12.5 MHz to 6.4 GHz with a dual PLL architecture.
RF signal generators are expensive pieces of test equipment mainly used by pro engineers. ERASynth Micro aims remove the cost barrier and make quality RF signal synthesis accessible to everyone, especially the makers.
ERASynth Micro is for everyone who wants to learn how signal generators work. Since it is open-source and open-schematics, students or anyone who is curious about the inner details of signal synthesis can benefit from ERASynth Micro. You can learn a lot more by reverse engineering and hacking than you can learn in an entire year of a $50k/year engineering school. Learning about the design of test equipment turned Jim Williams into one of the best analog engineers in the world. ERASynth Micro’s advanced design will certainly teach you several RF tricks.
Professional engineers will find ERASynth Micro to be a very good alternative to many of their existing signal generators.
ERASynth Micro is for anyone interested in RF testing. Below is a short list of application areas where users can take advantage of ERASynth Micro:
|1. Expansion Connector|
|2. Micro-USB for power input and serial access|
|3. LCD connector (UART and 5V)|
|4. REF IN / OUT|
|5. RF OUT|
|6. Vibration motor for haptic feedback|
ERASynth Micro takes its name from Arduino Micro board. Its design features an ATmega32U4 MCU (same as Arduino Micro) and can be programmed easily using Arduino. ERASynth Micro’s embedded code was developed very efficiently and packs lots of features. ERASynth Micro also features an external EEPROM to store static data such as amplitude calibration and local settings.
We developed ERASynth Micro to keep cost to a minimum. That is why our first choice for the enclosure was an acrylic case. After couple of trials with acrylic cases, we decided to use a full-blown injection-molded plastic enclosure. We found a local manufacturer and started the design procedure. After couple of revisions, final enclosure was ready.
By incorporating a 3.2” touch display module (Nextion NX4024T032) ERASynth Micro requires no additional host computer for control mechanism. The menus on the LCD GUI mimic professional test equipment menu structure, and so are very intuitive and easy to use.
ERASynth Micro consumes very low power. It can be powered from the ubiquitous USB port. Once powered, it takes a few seconds to boot up and, thanks to its LCD screen, it is ready for action within seconds.
Although ERASynth Micro is small enough to fit into your pocket, it still doesn’t sacrifice features such as reference input/output. Due to space constraints, ERASynth Micro provides a single connector for reference in and out. When internal reference is selected, the internal 10 MHz TCXO signal is output from the REF connector. Likewise, when external reference is selected, an external 10 MHz reference signal can be applied to REF connector for synchronous operation.
ERASynth Micro can perform AM, FM and Pulse modulations. The modulating (baseband) signal can be created internally or can be fed from external modulation input. Internal modulating signal can be selected as sine, triangle, ramp or square-wave. For external modulation, a signal can be applied to the MOD input via the expansion connector. Just like its predecessor ERASynth, ERASynth Micro also features a microphone input that can be used for many applications.
ERASynth has 64KB EEPROM. We allocated half of the space for amplitude calibration data. The rest of the EEPROM is used to store local settings and parameters. Inclusion of the EEPROM enables ERASynth Micro remember its configuration (frequency, amplitude level, REF in/out etc. settings). Upon power-up, the saved configuration is retrieved and applied automatically.
We added a vibration motor to enhance the feeling of device. When a button on the LCD GUI is clicked, motor vibrates like a cell phone. This provides a haptic confirmation for data entry.
ERASynth Micro was developed to be Arduino compatible. Everything needed to create an Arduino hub is routed to the expansion connector. SPI pins, Reset pin of ATmega32U4, Trigger pin, and several other GPIO pins are provided at the expansion connector. Users can easily modify the firmware to implement additional features.
|_||ERA Instruments ERASynth Micro||Windfreak SynthUSBII||ERA Instruments ERASynth||Pasternack PE11S3900||Mini-Circuits SSG-6000RC|
|Frequency Range||12.5 MHz to 6.4 GHz||34.4 MHz to 4.4 GHz||250 kHz to 6 GHz||35 MHz to 4.4 GHz||25 MHz to 6000 MHz|
|Frequency Resolution||1 Hz||1 kHz||1 Hz||2.4 kHz||3Hz|
|Amplitude Range||-50 to +15 dBm||typical +2 dBm||-60 to +15 dBm||-20 to +10 dBm||-50 to + 10 dBm|
|Phase Noise at 1GHz and 10kHz offset||-115 dBc/Hz||-100 dBc/Hz||-120 dBc/Hz||-108 dBc/Hz||-110 dBc/Hz|
|Frequency Switching Time||1 ms||4 ms||250 µs||1 ms||1.5 ms|
|Frequency accuracy||±0.5 ppm||±2.5 ppm||±0.5 ppm||±0.5 ppm||±1 ppm|
|REF IN/REF OUT Connectors||Yes||No||Yes||Only REF IN.||Yes|
|Enclosure||Injection molded plastic||Injection molded plastic||Milled aluminum||Milled aluminum||Extruded aluminum|
|Power Input||5 V||5 V||5 to 12 V||5 V||12 V|
|Power Input Connector||Micro-USB||USB Type-A||Micro-USB||USB Type-A||2.1 mm DC socket|
|Open Source||Schematics, Firmware and GUI||LabVIEW GUI||Schematics, Firmware and GUI||Nothing||Nothing|
|GUI platform||Touch Display (LCD), Windows||Windows||WiFi Enabled Devices, Windows||Windows||Windows|
|Price||199 USD||249 USD||950 USD||1741 USD||2795 USD|
ERASynth Micro is going to be delivered with a Micro-USB cable and a stylus pen.
ERASynth Micro schematics, Arduino firmware, LCD GUI source codes, datasheet, and user guide are all available on ERA Instruments’ GitHub repository.
If you have a question about ordering, paying, or shipping, please refer to The Crowd Supply Guide.
If you have a technical question about the operation of the ERASynth Micro or any of its applications, please ask the creators your question directly.
"The ERASynth Micro is designed around an ATmega32U4 MCU, allowing it to be fully programmed using the Arduino IDE."
"With all the features... it's pretty much a no-brainer if you want to work in these frequency ranges."
"ERASynth Micro is an open source signal generator that is very affordable. It can be powered from a USB port and features an LCD interface for standalone use without a computer or phone."
Produced by ERA Instruments in Istanbul, Turkey.
Sold and shipped by Crowd Supply.
12.5 MHz to 6.4 GHz RF Signal Generator