23 Important Function Generator Glossary Terms

Function Generator

A function generator is a type of signal generator that can produce several types of waveforms, and it is primarily used for the testing or repair of other electronic devices. Repetitive waveforms are generated by repeatedly putting a capacitor through a charge and discharge cycle. The waveforms can vary depending on the size of the capacitor, and the modulation can be adjusted by using an attenuator. The waveforms are sent through target equipment and analyzed as they make their way through the circuits. The analysis confirms if the equipment is working properly, and specific problems can be pinpointed.

AM Modulation

AM is a type of modulation commonly known for being used in audio radio transmission. AM is an abbreviation for amplitude modulation. AM works by using the steady frequency of a carrier wave and adjusting the amplitude according to the audio signal that is transmitted.

Amplitude

Amplitude is a measure of the strength of a signal or waveform, which is controlled by varying the voltage used to produce the waveform.

ASK Modulation

ASK modulation is a type of digital modulation technique used to convey data over a waveform by making small modifications, or modulations, in the wave. ASK is an abbreviation for amplitude-shift keying, which is used to send digital data through a waveform by adjusting the amplitude of the wave.

Attenuation

Attenuation refers to the natural or artificial decrease in the strength of an electronic signal the further it is carried.

Capacitor

A capacitor is an electronic component that stores electrical voltage.

DC Offset

DC offset is the average amplitude of a waveform. If a waveform has a positive or negative DC offset, it is not centered on zero amplitude. Waveforms with a zero DC offset are said to be DC-balanced waveforms. In most situations, DC offset is considered undesirable.

FM Modulation

FM is a type of modulation commonly known for being used in audio radio transmission. FM is an abbreviation for frequency modulation. In frequency modulation, as amplitude changes, the frequency of the waveform also changes. FM is known for being more stable during amplitude variations.

Frequency Range

Frequency range is a group of frequencies between a maximum and minimum value. Frequency ranges are often created to set limits on the public or private use of frequencies in airwaves or within electronic devices.

Frequency Resolution

Frequency resolution refers to the number of waves that occur in a waveform during a specific time interval. Higher frequency waveforms have shorter wavelengths, and lower frequency waveforms have longer wavelengths.

FSK Modulation

FSK modulation is a type of digital modulation technique used to convey data over a waveform by making small modifications, or modulations, in the wave. FSK is an abbreviation for frequency-shift keying, which is used to send digital data through a waveform by making discrete changes to the frequency of the wave.

Gaussian Noise

Gaussian noise is the interference of a wave or electrical signal created by electrical fluctuations in the carrier. In audio, gaussian noise produces a static noise often confused with white noise. In video, gaussian noise may produce specks, blurs or artifacts.

LIN/LOG Sweep

Sweeps are used to measure volts or detect signals in a radio frequency band. A LIN, or linear, sweep uses a steady current between two electrodes to measure voltage. A LOG, or logarithmic, sweep occurs in the same way but uses logarithmic units to measure results.

Phase

The phase of a wave is how far along the wave is in its amplitude cycle. Phase is measured in degrees, with one complete phase being 360 degrees.

Pink Noise

Pink noise refers to a specific measure of spectral density, or power distribution, in wave frequency. The amplitude of pink noise drops at a specific rate in each octave.

PM Modulation

PM, or phase modulation, is used to send data in a waveform by varying the phase of the wave.

PSK Modulation

PSK modulation is a type of digital modulation technique used to convey data over a waveform by making small modifications, or modulations, in the wave. PSK is an abbreviation for phase-key shifting, which is used to send data by making adjustments to the phase of a wave.

PWM Modulation

PWM, or pulse width modulation, produces a waveform with pulses of varying width. This type of modulation is used to control electrical energy in electronic devices.

Sawtooth Waveform

This type of waveform is named because its shape resembles the teeth of a saw blade. The waveform is created by slow positive amplitude combined with sharply declining amplitude.

Square Waveform

Square waveforms take on a rectangular shape rather than a sinusoidal shape, and are marked by a large pulse width between the rise and decline of the amplitude.

Triangular Waveform

Triangular waveforms have a very short pulse width between a gradually rising and a gradually descending amplitude. The rise and descent are linear in nature, creating a triangle pattern.

Voltage Controlled Frequency (VCF)

A VCF waveform varies by the amount of voltage used in the generation of the waveform. It is usually produced by using a voltage-controlled filter.

Waveform

A waveform is the visual representation of the variation of an electrical signal. It is marked by high and low oscillations. Most types of waveforms are named for their general appearance.