We describe a simple system for timing and control, which provides control of analog, digital, and radio-frequency signals. Our system differs from most common laboratory setups in that it is open source, built from off-the-shelf components, synchronized to a common and accurate clock, and connected over an Ethernet network. A simple bus architecture facilitates creating new and specialized devices with only moderate experience in circuit design. Each device operates independently, requiring only an Ethernet network connection to the controlling computer, a clock signal, and a trigger signal. This makes the system highly robust and scalable. The devices can all be connected to a single external clock, allowing synchronous operation of a large number of devices for situations requiring precise timing of many parallel control and acquisition channels. Provided an accurate enough clock, these devices are capable of triggering events separated by one day with near-microsecond precision. We have achieved precisions of (parts per ) over 16 s.
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Research Article| November 03 2009
An open-source, extensible system for laboratory timing and control
Peter E. Gaskell;
Jeremy J. Thorn;
Peter E. Gaskell, Jeremy J. Thorn, Sequoia Alba, Daniel A. Steck; An open-source, extensible system for laboratory timing and control. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 1 November 2009; 80 (11): 115103. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.3250825
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