AMOtronics SATURN Test Sequencer / Timer

The SATURN Sequence Timer serves test labs as a high-precision digital control unit, also called "Trigger Generator", "Timer" or simply "Sequencer". It provides flexible and safe control of the test facility and/or unit under test by precisely timed operation of switches, contactors, relays, IGBTs, MOSFETs, high-speed cameras and other devices - either electrically or optically via fiber-optic.
The SATURN Sequence Timer is available in different versions offering up to 192 digital inputs/outputs. These inputs and outputs can be provided in groups of 8 either as BNC or fiber optic connectors. The fiber-optic solution provides perfect optical isolation against high voltage potentials. This makes it the ideal HV Sequence Timer in high voltage test labs for controlling the test facility as well as the units under test (UUTs). In addition the optical transmission also allows bridging of long distances, be it in a test lab or in the field.Instead of using the SATURN Sequence Timer as a stand-alone device it can also be
combined in one chassis together with a SATURN Transient Recorder. This creates a highly flexible and powerful measuring system with integrated control unit. The control signals can be recorded synchronously with the measurement signals which allows a parallel in-depth analysis of input and output signals. Thanks to its compact design, this Sequencer also serves perfectly as a portable testing device for mobile use.

Key Facts of the SATURN Test Sequence Timer

  • Available stand-alone or integrated with Saturn Transient Recorder
  • Different housings with up to 192 inputs/outputs
  • Choose between perfect galvanic isolation via fiber optic cable or standard BNC connectors (selectable in groups of 8 inputs/outputs)
  • Precise independent clock source for 10ns step width and 20ppm accuracy
  • Resolution 1/100 degree and better
  • Supports synchronization with externally supplied input signal (e.g. generator frequency 16 2/3Hz .. 50Hz .. 60Hz .. 400Hz ..)
  • Free configurable output pattern sequences with loops and branches
  • Easy-to-use graphical configuration software (Windows™ based)
  • Comfortable import/export capabilities
  • Operating System independent clock and sequence processor
  • LED input/output control and emergency stop
  • Recording of input and output signals in data files

Functionality and Operation

The digital outputs of the Sequencer are being used to control a test facility and/or the device under test. The Sequencer monitors the digital inputs and adapts the generated output patterns based on the current state of the input signals. This also includes observations of the environment (doors, windows etc.) in order to realize a start qualifier or stop qualifier. If needed the Sequencer can be expanded with analog inputs which allow the use of analog triggers (e.g. thresholds, impulses and gradients in measurement signals).
The Sequencer includes an industrial PC with Microsoft WindowsTM operating system and is operated by means of the SATURN Sequencer - Cycle Timer software . The software provides a comfortable graphical user interface which makes it easy to set-up the Sequencer and to define the desired output pattern sequence. In addition to a straight sequential processing also loops and case statements (branches) are supported. After downloading to the on-board FPGA processor of the sequencer the programmed sequence is being executed independently from the operating system in real time.
The individual steps of a sequence are being processed using a high-precision hardware clock with a minimum step width of 10 ns and 20 ppm accuracy. For AC applications a resolution of 1/100 degree and better can be achieved. In addition the internal clock can also be synchronized with an externally applied generator frequency (16 2/3Hz, 50/60 Hz, 400Hz etc.).
The SATURN Sequence Timer also provides a secure error handling. The Emergency Stop allows the operator to instantaneously stop the current sequence at any time and initiate a pre-defined sequence with fail-safe output patterns. In addition the emergency stop can also be initiated automatically based on events detected within the input signals. In the unlikely case of a major malfunction in the operating system the independent Sequencer processor unit continues with pattern output and completes the configured actions. These preventive measures help avoiding possible costly damages to the test facility or device under test in case of failures.

AMOtronics Sequence Timer precise test control

The Sequence Timer family from AMOtronics is a scalable real-time test control system. It allows precise and reliable control of test facilities and units under test. The NEW Cycle Timer and Pattern Generator Software offer both, easy-to-use graphical configuration and, if needed, flexible individual programming. Electrical testing laboratories at any voltage level benefit from the precise timing and fail-save design. A selection of high power output modules with RELAY, MOSFET or IGBT switches support a wide range of typical requirements.

Modular hardware platform
8..192 channels
Internal real-time 10ns clock source
Synchronization to generator frequency for rotating applications

Electrical or fiber-optic channels
Safe operation via configurable Qualifier Inputs and Security Loop
Optional high power output modules: RELAY, MOSFET or IGBT
Easy-to-use Cycle Timer software
Flexible programming interface
Optional Remote Control

With the scalable SATURN Sequence Timer family the development of a modern and reliable versatile instrument for a broad range of applications succeeded. The new Sequence Timer offers a set of extra ordinary features. It is available as a stand-alone device or integrated into a SATURN Transient Recorder System to allow parallel recording and analysis of measurement and control channels.

8..192 Inputs / Outputs to precisely control tests from small to large scale
Up to 64 channels in main chassis
Plus up to 128 additional channels in separate chassis, connected via fiber-optic
8 Qualifier/ Marker inputs with logic functions (OR / AND) for initiating the start procedure
Dual operation mode:
Internal clock (strictly time based)
Synchronization with external reference signals, e.g. generator frequency (analog sinus / digital zero crossing / digital pulses)Optionally integrated with SATURN data acquisition system
Programmable Break Pattern for emergency stop and defined fail safe state
Different media types combined in one chassis: electrical, optical and power outputs

Selectable fiber-optic or electrical input panels and the software configurable functions allow manifold combinations for flexible use. Qualifier & Marker signals can be defined and combined with logic functions (AND/ OR) to initiate the Sequence Timer START procedure, optionally protected with final user confirmation.
The dedicated SECURITY LOOP input is a mandatory input to be closed for operation.
Digital inputs offer precise synchronization to generator rotation with variable pulse count sensors at various frequencies.
Common data acquisition of digital control inputs/outputs and analog test signals (from DUT) can be selected in a combined SATURN data acquisition and Sequence Timer system.

Several different output panels and functions transfer the Sequence Timer control signals to the test facility and device under test (DUT).
In groups of 8 signals, the engineer can select the best combination from both, electrical and optical signals with different types of connectors and functions in one system.
By integration of SATURN data acquisition and Sequence Timer in one system the DUT test signals and the control output signals can be measured internally in one step, 100% synchronized.
The NEW Sequence Timer family offers a full set of equipment for interfacing the fiber outputs directly to the device under test (DUT)

Optical communication for isolation and long Distances
For interfacing electrical signals to optical inputs or outputs of the Sequence Timer AMOtronics provides diverse options. Any SATURN input and output panel can be installed in the Sequence Timer main chassis as well as in a Test Cell 19” rack cabinet, connected via a single optic-fiber.

High Power Output Modules
Challenging switching requirements can be satisfied with special IGBT power switches. Installed in a 19” rack they can be placed in a test cell or generator room and are connected to the Sequence Timer outputs via fiber-optic cables. Each switch provides a feedback signal for monitoring. The rack is equipped with an fiber-optic common output-enable signal. This allows safe testing of the real-time pattern generation by observing the output LEDs without actually causing a switch operation. Local push buttons with protective safety covers allow manual test switching.
Peak power: 40A
Peak voltage: 600V

Signal Conversion Boxes for Signal Input and Control Output
A set of conversion boxes, powered via battery or 5VDC, convert optical fiber signals into electrical switching signals or vice versa. The >24V tolerant BNC inputs forward signals (e.g. from a SPS) via fiber to the Sequence Timer qualifier or marker inputs.
The electrical 3.3V TTL outputs can be used for instance to trigger oscilloscopes, high-speed cameras, radar flashes or any other equipment.

Unique Optical Switching Matrix

Minimized installation effort and reduced cable costs
Software controlled routing for highspeed fiber links (2GBit/s)Synchronous de-multiplexing of 64 individual Sequence Timer control signals from one SATURN fiber
Selectable connections between Control Rooms and Test Cells.
Supports both, links to Sequence Timer (control) as well as SATURN Satellites (data acquisition)

Fiber optic matrix routing for vast test areas
In large test sites and for distributed setups installing individual fiber cables per signal is a challenge. Therefore AMOtronics offers both, bundling of control signals and flexible signal multiplexing.
The Sequence Timer (SEQ) is equipped with dual 2GBit/s high-speed fiber link ports. With only one SATURN standard fiber cable synchronously 64 digital SEQ I/Os can be forwarded from the Control Room (CR) to the Test Cell (TC), where synchronous de-multiplexing allows to access the 64 individual I/Os again as optical or electrical signals. As available for the main chassis, any Sequence Timer output panel can be installed in a 19” rack cabinet to switch electrical loads or provide fiber-optic signals.
Even more flexible fiber installations can be realized with AMOtronics’ Optical Matrix Switch. Up to 8 fiber link ports can be used to route 2GBit/s high-speed signals in a matrix, fully software controlled. Each port supports bidirectional data transfer to flexibly connect control signals or measurement Satellites from Test Cells to one or more Control Rooms. The Matrix Switch allows to easily manage even complex setups.
Example: While 64 I/Os of SEQ1 are in use in TC1, in parallel 64 I/Os of SEQ2 control the test in TC2. The next test is scheduled for TC3 and TC4. One click in the Matrix Arbiter Software and the 64 I/Os of SEQ1 are switched to TC3 while 128 I/Os of SEQ2 can be used for TC4.

CYCLE TIMER Graphical configuration software
The Sequencer is configured and controlled by means of the SEQUENCER – CYCLE TIMER software. The software provides a comfortable graphical user interface. It allows to easily adjust the main options of the Sequencer, interactively generate the required signal output patterns, download the complete configuration onto the Real-Time Sequencer Processor Unit as well as observe and control the program execution.
Internal Clock Mode
In this mode the generated output patterns are strictly time-based. The SATURN Sequencer offers a high precision internal clock source which allows a minimum real-time step-widht of 10ns. Its reaction to input signals within only five clock steps makes it the ideal solution for applications which rely on precise and fast switching of the output signals at specific points in time.
Cycle Mode
Precise synchronization to rotating generators at different frequencies is a key feature for phase related testing. The SATURN Sequencer supports both, analog and digital reference signals as external synchronization sources. The Sequencer Outputs can be switched at any phase angle of a defined cycle; for example at 8° before zero crossing of 5th sinus half wave.

Pattern Generator
The Pattern Generator provides an alternative software interface for flexible programming. A set of simple control commands enables the user to program complex pattern sequences with TRIGGERS, LOOPS, JUMPS and COUNTERS as well as BREAK conditions. This flexibility allows to solve even challenging control tasks. With a single mouse click the software compiles the user-defined framework as well as the defined output patterns and downloads the code to the Sequencer real-time processor

AMOtronics SATURN Transient Recorder Series

The SATURN Transient Recorder family of AMOtronics offers measurement technology at the highest level. The scalable and flexible data acquisition system is suitable for a wide range of use cases including various high-end applications. SATURN Transient Recorders allow highly precise synchronous measurements with resolutions up to 20Bit and sampling rates between 200kHz and 2GHz. They are designed for fast recording of transient signals and for a time-saving processing of large amounts of measured data.

SATURN Transient Recorders are available in various housing options, ranging from compact portable systems and benchtop devices up to a housing for 19-inch rack mounting. Depending on the particular measurement task these Transient Recorder base units can be equipped with different modules for data acquisition and control.

Alternatively, these modules can be replaced by fiber-optic modules which are connected via fiber optic cable to so-called SATURN satellites. These separate measurement probes have been specifically developed for use in hazardous environments and to cover long distances to the measurement object. The data transmission via fiber-optic cable offers reliable safety in high voltage testing, explosion tests and similar challenging applications.

Another key feature of Transient Recorders from AMOtronics is the included SATURN Studio II software. The field-proven operating interface makes it easy for the end user to configure the system, perform the measurements, display the measured data and store it on disk. In addition, the software not only allows a rapid interactive analysis of large data sets but also completely automated evaluations including reports generated in accordance with international standards

Key Facts of SATURN Transient Recorders

  • up to 240 channels depending on housing and connector type (SMB, BNC, UHF, LEMO ...)
  • variable configuration with modules for data acquisition, signal output and control
  • 200kS/s ... 2GS/s acquisition rate, 8Bit ... 20 Bit resolution (depending on module)
  • input range selectable via software (individually adaptable to the sensor)
  • numerous signal conditioning options (temperature, pressure, strain, acceleration, load etc.)
  • flexible trigger configuration, including pre and post trigger time (recording duration)
  • optional fiber-optic-coupled measurement probes (optimal galvanic isolation and bridging of distances)
  • optional coupling and precise synchronization of multiple systems
  • robust hardware based on industry standard cPCI architecture
  • integrated Slot-PC (for use as independent measurement system or complete remote control via Ethernet using a laptop / PC)
  • reconfigurable hardware for easy updates and application specific adaptations (e. g. use of onboard FPGA processors for customized real-time data analysis)
  • user-friendly software (simple configuration, fast data storage, display and analysis, optional application specific user interfaces and automated processes including report generation)

High and medium voltage analysis

  • Circuit breaker tests
  • Fuse tests
  • Lightning pulse analysis
  • Power harmonic analysis
  • Power line faults and transients

Automotive engineering

  • Engine analysis
  • Airbag ignition systems
  • ABS breaking systems
  • Injection systems
  • Endurance tests

Military and space flight research

  • Ballistic research
  • Propulsion systems
  • Pyrotechnics
  • Electromagnetic launchs
  • Material tests