An open source, Arduino-compatible RF signal generator with Wi-Fi connectivity

May 16, 2017

Project update 3 of 27

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to common questions we have been receiving about the ERASynth.

Q: How do you keep the output clean with an on-board Wi-Fi module? Doesn’t the WLAN signal radiated by the Wi-Fi module leak to RF output?

A: This questions is covered in our second campaign update.

Q: Do you plan to provide an app to control the ERASynth, or is it going to be purely web-based?

A: The control GUI is purely web-based, hence we will not provide any app for ERASynth. There are several reasons for that. Firstly, web GUI is platform independent. Secondly, it is more reasonable to support one web app instead of so many apps on different platforms. Lastly, the web GUI is very responsive and mimics apps very closely. It is almost like an app, looks and feels like an app. A demo and several screen shots of the web GUI may be found in our first campaign update.

Q: What is phase noise and why is it important?

A: Phase noise is a metric that quantifies the phase fluctuations of a sine wave in frequency domain. Ideally, a sine wave in time domain is a single line in the frequency domain. However, non-idealities in the components spread the line around and make it look more like a skirt. When looking from signal synthesis perspective, phase noise is the most important parameter. Achieving low phase noise is a challenging undertaking, especially with a low budget. To have a low phase noise signal in the multi-GHz range, you first need to start with a low phase noise reference. There are some ultra-low phase noise OCXOs on the market but these are generally very expensive (some of them are more expensive than ERASynth itself). ERASynth uses a multiple loop architecture to minimize the phase noise without breaking the bank. More details about ERASynth’s architecture may be found on the campaign page above.

Q: Can you give some example applications where I can take advantage of ERASynth?

A: ERASynth can be used just like any bench-top signal generator. Some of the many applications can be listed as:

Q: Can you give more information on the current revision of the ERASynth? What are the differences between current revision and the upcoming one?

A: ERASynth rev2 is the current revision. We obtained almost all of the data shown on the campaign page by testing the rev2 board. Rev3 is the upcoming board, it will feature a newly release PLL that has an incredible phase noise floor. We will also add an OCXO to rev3 board.

Q: Where can I find the source codes? What is the license?

A: We will make the sources available on Git-Hub once the campaign ends. We haven’t decided on the license yet.

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