Wavesmith FAQ
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Frequently Asked Questions about Wavesmith™

  • What does Wavesmith do?

Wavesmith makes it easy for you to design analog waveforms for use with arbitrary waveform generators in electronic design and manufacturing test applications. Depending on what instrument you have, it may also allow you to directly control the instrument and download waveforms into it.

  • My instrument came with a waveform editor. Why should I buy Wavesmith?

Briefly, because Wavesmith is better. Wavesmith was designed to be a complete, flexible, and versatile waveform development system. Whether you want to build a "quick-and-dirty" waveform via a few mouse clicks, or you want to precisely specify a combination of standard waveforms and manually-drawn segments, Wavesmith gives you the tools to do so easily. In  addition to graphical methods, you can enter mathematical equations for all or part of a waveform, or even directly edit a numerical wave table. Please see the data sheet for a more complete list of features.

  • I already have a general-purpose mathematical program which can convert equations into wave table files. Why should I buy Wavesmith?

If the waveforms you need can easily be described by mathematical equations and you can easily get the resulting wave tables from your math program into your instrument, you don't need Wavesmith. On the other hand, most real-world test waveforms, such as a power-line waveform with SCR-switching transients, are not readily described by simple equations.  Since Wavesmith can read text wave tables written by programs such as Mathcad or SystemView, you can use the math program for the "pure" parts of the waveform, and then import the waveform into Wavesmith and add glitches, noise, or other imperfections.

  • I already have some waveforms I uploaded from an oscilloscope or calculated with another program but I need to modify them. Can Wavesmith do that?

Yes! Wavesmith can read wave tables from text files in virtually any format. It can scale the amplitude, resample the data and apply various mathematical processing or manual editing to the data.

  • What does a Wavesmith instrument driver do?

Wavesmith instrument drivers allow you to download the waveform into an arbitrary waveform generator. Most drivers present a dialog-box style control panel which allows you to control the instrument from the computer as well. The capabilities of drivers vary, but most provide real-time adjustment of parameters such as amplitude and sample rate, as well as trigger modes, clock sources, and other instrument parameters. The real-time control feature allows you to "tweak" the signal by moving the mouse, much like you would turn the knob on an analog function generator.

  • Do you have a Wavesmith driver for my instrument?

If you have purchased Wavesmith or downloaded a free demo version, first use Wavesmith's File|Instrument selection command to list the available drivers. If your instrument is not listed, check the "drivers" section under the "Wavesmith downloads" page of this web site to see if a driver for your instrument has been released. If your instrument is not listed, your best bet is to contact the instrument's manufacturer and put them in contact with us. We will generally make arrangements to write drivers for popular, current-production instruments when requested by the manufacturer.  If your instrument is an obsolete or uncommon model, we can provide a driver for a reasonable fee on a contract basis. Alternatively, you can configure Wavesmith to write out a text file and then write your own program to download it into your instrument. 

  • I do a lot of PC audio work. Can Wavesmith help me?

Wavesmith can read and write PCM audio .wav files and includes an instrument driver to control standard PC sound cards. Wavesmith cleanly handles 16-bit stereo waveforms.

  • Can I use Wavesmith to display and edit transient waveforms generated by SPICE and similar analog circuit analysis programs?

Yes! Wavesmith can read the files created by the transient analysis function of SPICE and its derivatives such as Cadence Analog Workbench. These programs generate files in which the time increment between adjacent points varies depending on the slope of the waveform. Wavesmith converts these files into conventional waveforms which can be edited, saved, or downloaded to an arbitrary waveform generator.

  • I have a GPIB instrument. What kind of GPIB card will work with Wavesmith?

At this time, Wavesmith uses the National Instruments NI-488 software interface and supports all NI-488-compatible GPIB cards.

Copyright 2008 David Sherman Engineering Co.