250MS/s PXIBus Arbitrary Waveform Generator

Model 5251, is a single-channel frequency agile waveform synthesizer that combines industry leading performance, frequency agility and modulation capability in a stand-alone, modular product. Having 1.5Hz to 250MHz clock and 16-bit vertical DAC resolution provides the test stimuli required for the decades to come. It can be used as an arbitrary waveform generator, modulating generator, as well as function and pulse generator.

Relevant Documents
Data Sheet
  • Single-channel 250 MS/s PXI-Based waveform generator
  • Sine waves to 100MHz and Square to 62.5MHz
  • 16 Bit amplitude resolution
  • 2M waveform memory
  • 10Vp-p into 50Ω standard, double into high impedance
  • Multiple run modes: trigger, timer and trigger delay
  • AM, FM, FSK, PSK, ASK, Freq. & Amp. Hop, sweep
  • Powerful sequence generator links and loops segments in user-defined fashion. Stores up to 10 different sequence tables
  • Occupies a single slot only
  • Ultra fast waveform downloads using DMA
  • Multi-Instrument synchronization
  • ArbConnection software for easy waveform creation

A Cost Effective Format

The 5251 is a sensible alternative to a GPIB-based waveform generator when developing a PXI based test system. The 5251 provides a synergistic combination of a function generator, arbitrary waveform synthesizer, programmable sequencer, pulse generator, and modulation generator in one instrument. The 5251 delivers all this at a lower cost than comparable bench-type, or VXI-based instruments. This versatility ensures that the Model 5251 will adapt to future testing needs as well as current ones.

250MS/s Performance

Higher performance test equipment and systems are needed as products which use increasing signal bandwidths are developed. The sample rate generator can be programmed from frequencies as low as 1.5Hz to 250MHz with superior waveform quality and purity. For example, phase noise is typically below 120dB/Hz at 10kHz offset for a 10MHz sine wave.

Waveform Memory

Longer waveform memory minimizes test duration by allowing multiple waveforms to be loaded simultaneously and retrieved as needed for the specific test. The 5251 comes with 2M points of memory as standard for applications requiring longer memory.

Memory Segmentation and Sequencing

Solving almost every complex application, powerful segmentation and sequencing produce an endless variety of complex waveforms. The waveform memory can be divided into multiple waveform segments and sequenced in user-selectable fashion to create complex waveforms that have repeatable segments and thus saving precious memory space. Five different advance modes are available for the 5251/5351 series to step through the sequence table, including stepped and mixed advance modes and thus increasing efficiency of the test system. To solve even the toughest application, the products allow generation of up to 10 different sequences, each capable of linking 10k waveform fragments and looping each waveform up to 1M times.

Frequency Agility

Decrypting radio transmission often employs frequency hopping. The 5251 provides breakthrough technology that allows simulation of 12-bit decrypted code as easy as writing a simple hop table. The frequency hop mode is fast, coherent and provides a great tool for simulating code transmission without loosing speed and integrity.

Accurate Output

As standard, the instrument is equipped with an internal frequency reference that has 1ppm accuracy and stability over a period of 1 year. An external frequency reference is provided on the rear panel for applications requiring greater accuracy or stability, supported by the instrument’s 14 digits resolution.

Modulation Capability

Agility and modulation capabilities open the door to diverse applications. In addition to the capability of generating any shape and style of waveform with the arbitrary waveform generation power, the products can also do standard modulation schemes such as AM, FM, ASK, FSK, PSK, frequency and amplitude hops and sweep without sacrificing the power of the instrument control and output run modes.

Multi-Instrument Synchronization

Multiple 5251 can be synchronized using a Master-Slave arrangement allowing users to benefit from the same high quality performance in their multi-channels needs.

Automated External Self-Calibration

Normal calibration cycles in the industry range from one to three years where instruments are sent to a service center, opened to allow access to trimmers, calibrated and certified for repeated usage. Leading-edge technology was implemented to allow calibration from the PXI interface. Calibration factors are stored in a flash memory thus eliminating the need to open chassis covers.

Multiple Environments to Write Your Code

Model 5251 comes with a complete set of drivers, allowing you to write your application in various environments such as: Labview, CVI, C++, VB, MATLAB. You may also link the supplied dll to other Windows based API’s or, use low level SCPI commands (Standard Commands for Programmable Instruments) to program the instrument, regardless if your application is written for Windows, Linux or Macintosh operating systems.


ArbConnection is a graphical tool that provides an unlimited source of Arbitrary Waveforms. With the ArbConnection software you can control instruments functions, modes and features. You can also create a virtually infinite amount of test waveforms. Freehand sketch allows you to draw your own custom waveform for quick analysis of analog signals. You can use the built-in equation editor to create your own exotic functions. Add or subtract components of a Fourier series to characterize digital or analog filters or inject random noise into a signal to test immunity to auxiliary noise.


Model Description
5251 250MS/s PXIBus Arbitrary Waveform Generator
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