The TC840 CompactPCI time-to-digital converter module, with 50 ps timing resolution, is made for measuring the time of the rising or falling edge of very fast trigger events, using inputs with programmable thresholds. It is designed to handle large-scale experiments like hydrodynamics, particle accelerator timing, nuclear fusion studies and explosive testing, plus time-of-flight measurement in mass spectrometry and 3D mapping. With a wide-range, single- and multi-start converter, the TC840 uses 13 identical hardware channels: one is the common start, while the rest are independent stop inputs. It works in single-start or multi-start acquisition, and with timing information on all the independent channels encoded relative to the common channel. Up to 512 stops per channel can be recorded with the large internal buffer, and start/stop events up to 20 seconds apart can be recorded. Digitized data goes straight to the onboard FPGA-based data processing unit. This increases data throughout the PC through the direct memory access mode. The TC840 measures time on the internal low jitter (&3 ps rms), high stability (±2 ppm) clock source, or an external 10 MHz reference input. Pricing starts at $11,990, with delivery in six weeks ARO.
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.