The world is simulated – how should we get what we need from it?



If we read trade magazines or look online, we may quickly get the impression that today’s world is digital and analog technology is a thing of the past. Is it really the truth?

By Uwe Bröckelmann, Technical Director EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa)

If we read trade magazines or look online, we may quickly get the impression that today’s world is digital and analog technology is a thing of the past. Is it really the truth?

not completely. Every physical element, whether it’s an audio signal or temperature, is an analog quantity; to measure or manage these analog quantities, analog technology is required. Every high-speed digital signal transmission process has to deal with its analog problems, and only a good understanding of analog technology can understand how to optimize it. Once you realize that software can’t solve all problems, you need to learn something desperately needed in today’s work environment. You will find that new technologies such as electric vehicles and renewable energy cannot be mastered without a knowledge of simulation. Nonetheless, the number of hardware specialists on the market continues to dwindle, which means that students and recent college graduates who have mastered semiconductor circuit technology will have very good career opportunities.

In order to help everyone become proficient in analog technology and grow into an expert in this field, ADI has developed an active learning module, where you can gain analog knowledge and experience through well-prepared circuit experiments. These modules can be incorporated into university-taught courses or used on their own to help you better understand the theoretical knowledge you have learned. With these modules, anyone can gain practical experience with circuits anytime, anywhere. Whether you prefer to study alone in the evening, or collaborate with classmates, research together, and discuss the results. If the experiment fails and no one is watching the joke, you can keep repeating the experiment. These modules can be used in schools when you have difficulty finding laboratory space and equipment in your spare time. This is where the module has a big advantage: students can work on experiments simultaneously, rather than one person experimenting with everyone watching.

These learning modules are not provided by computer simulators, and the results are not predetermined; they are actual laboratory experiments. You can build circuits, apply input signals, measure analog or digital output signals, and analyze the results on a computer. In addition, its low cost ensures that students can buy it too.

Below are the kits currently available from Analog Devices.

ADALP2000

The ADALP2000 is a device package that includes a variety of chips and discrete devices such as resistors and capacitors from Analog Devices. With these devices, you can build different circuits on the provided breadboard without soldering.

The world is simulated – how should we get what we need from it?

Figure 1. ADALP2000 Simulation Kit

ADALM1000

This is a basic experimental learning module. The module is connected via the USB interface and provides a programmable voltage supply of 2.5 V or 5 V, and its current can reach up to 200 mA. With two channels you can acquire voltage and current waveforms at different locations. The voltage range is 0 V to 5 V, the current range is C200 mA to +200 mA, and the waveform sampling rate is 100 kSPS. Using the provided software (available for Windows, Linux and Mac OS X), you can use the oscilloscope functions, adjust parameters and Display measurement results on your computer. You can use the ADALM1000 to perform experiments using the ADALM1000 by referring to several experimental examples in the “Circuit I and II Lab Experiments” section of the Analog Devices website.

The world is simulated – how should we get what we need from it?

Figure 2. ADALM1000 Active Learning Module

ADALM2000

This is an advanced active learning module. ADALM2000 not only contains all the functions of ADALM1000 series modules, but also adds some other functions. The ADALM2000 can measure signals up to 25MHz and can generate signals up to 30MHz, about 1000 times faster. Both supplies are adjustable from 0 V to +5 V and C5 V to 0 V. With the software, it can Display 2-channel oscilloscope, 16-channel digital logic analyzer and voltmeter. Networks, spectrums and digital buses can be analyzed. You can view the corresponding lab experiments in “Electronics I and II Lab Experiments”. With some small adjustments, the ADALM1000 kit can also be used for related experiments.

The world is simulated – how should we get what we need from it?

Figure 3. ADALM2000 Active Learning Module.

ADALM-Pluto

The ADALM-Pluto kit is a high frequency kit that enables you to gain a deeper understanding of Software Defined Radio (SDR), that is, software to set frequency bands and parameters for high frequency signals and wireless communication. The kit supports a frequency range of 325 MHz to 3.8 GHz with built-in transmit and receive channels. Users can learn about and familiarize themselves with these systems by reading Software Defined Radios for Engineers, a free download from analog.com. The book also describes several experiments that can be performed with the ADALM-Pluto kit.

The world is simulated – how should we get what we need from it?

Figure 4. ADALM-Pluto Active Learning Module

To learn more about these kits, visit analog.com, check out the Education section, or search for Active Learning Modules. You can order these kits directly from Analog Devices or from its resellers. To view answers to some specific questions about the kit, visit the EngineerZone® in the Virtual Classroom in the Analog Devices University Programs section.

The world is and will be analog, requiring engineers with deep analog knowledge. So, start learning!

About the Author

Uwe Bröckelmann joined Analog Devices in 2003. From 2004 to 2012, he led the Field Application Engineering (FAE) team for the Central Europe region at Analog Devices; from 2008 to 2015, he led the automotive FAE team for the entire European region. Since 2015, he has led an interdisciplinary team of application engineers overseeing all FAE technology development efforts at Analog Devices in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

He studied Automation at Kaiserslautern County University and received his Bachelor of Science in 1995. He started his career as a hardware design engineer at the Siemens company in Felt. Subsequently, he worked at Maxim for 5 years as an FAE and later joined ADI. Contact information:[email protected]