SystemFlow Software for Talon Recording Systems
SystemFlow Simulator for Talon Recording Systems
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High-Speed, Real-Time Recording Systems Handbook
Written by Rodger Hosking, Vice President and Co-founder of Pentek
In today's world of high-speed A/D converters real-time signal recording has become a challenging task that requires specialized hardware and intelligent application software. When designing a real-time recorder capable of streaming sustained data to disk, the system developer has to consider the limitations presented by the recorder's operating and file systems, the limitations of disk drive technology, the hardware interfaces, and the RAID controller technology.
Fortunately for the application developer, serial fabrics have emerged to provide the high-speed interfaces required to move this data; disk drive and RAID HBAs (Host-Bus Adapters) have begun to exploit serial interfaces; finally, the emergence of SSD (Solid State Drive) technology provides a performance level previously unattainable in real-time recording systems.
- Server/Client Architecture: The SystemFlow architecture provides for easy communication between the recording system Server and the Client.
- SystemFlow GUI: The SystemFlow architecture features a Windows-based GUI (Graphical User Interface) that provides a simple means to configure and control the system. Custom configurations can be stored as profiles and later loaded when needed, allowing the user to select preconfigured settings with a single click.
- SystemFlow Signal Viewer: SystemFlow also includes signal viewing and analysis tools that allow the user to monitor the signal prior to, during, and after a recording session. These tools include a virtual oscilloscope and a virtual spectrum analyzer.
- Server/Client Communication: Server and Client communicate through a standard socket connection. This arrangement enables the Server to provide real-time recording and playback functions that can be controlled from a local or a remote Client. It also allows Client and Server to run on different operating systems.
- Function Libraries: The function libraries and tools for controlling the recording and playback functions include the Application Programming Interface, the Graphical User Interface and the integrated Signal Viewer.
- SystemFlow API: The SystemFlow API (Application Programming Interface) allows developers to configure and customize the system interfaces and operation. Source code is supplied for all client API functions. A well-defined set of plugins allows the user to extend server API functions.
- NTFS File System: The NTFS file management system provides immediate access to the recorded data, thereby eliminating time-consuming data conversion processes required with proprietary file management systems. It also eliminates the need for custom hardware and software platforms where the recorded data may need to be physically transported for conversion.
SystemFlow Recorder Interface
The SystemFlow GUI displays a block diagram of the
system and provides the user with a control interface for the
recording system. It includes Configuration, Record, Playback
and Status screens, each with intuitive controls and
The user can easily move between screens to set
configuration parameters, control and monitor a recording,
play back a recorded signal and monitor board temperature
and voltage levels.
SystemFlow Hardware Configuration Interface
The SystemFlow Configure screen provides a simple and
intuitive means for setting up the system parameters.
The DDC configuration screen shown here, allows user entries for
input source, center frequency, decimation, as well as gate
and trigger information. All parameters contain limitchecking
and integrated help to provide an easier-to-use
SystemFlow Signal Viewer
The SystemFlow Signal Viewer includes a virtual oscilloscope
and spectrum analyzer for signal monitoring in both
the time and frequency domains. It is extremely useful for
previewing live inputs prior to recording, and for monitoring
signals as they are being recorded to help ensure successful
recording sessions. The viewer can also be used to inspect
and analyze the recorded files after the recording is complete.
Advanced signal analysis capabilities include automatic
calculators for signal amplitude and frequency, second and
third harmonic components, THD (total harmonic distortion)
and SINAD (signal to noise and distortion). With time and
frequency zoom, panning modes and dual, annotated cursors
to mark and measure points of interest, the SystemFlow
Signal Viewer can often eliminate the need for a separate
oscilloscope or spectrum analyzer in the field.
Shown in this diagram is the dataflow
during a typical recording session. The
Pentek Transceiver Board contains a 2-channel
200 MHz A/D for digitizing two input
analog channels. The digitized outputs are
downconverted by the two DDCs (Digital
Downconverters) and moved on to the PC
system memory via the PCI Express interface.
Both the DDCs and the PCIe interface
are implemented in the board’s FPGA.
Data then moves from the system memory
to the Recording System RAID Controller
and is then recorded to disk via the SATA
interface. DMA controllers conduct all data
transfers, bypasssing the CPU for guaranteed
During a playback session, data stored
on disk moves through the SATA interface
of the Playback System RAID Controller.
From there, data is passed to the PC system
memory through the PCIe interface and
then to the Pentek Transceiver board through
its PCIe interface, all via hardware DMA
controllers for real-time operation.
This board also contains DUCs (Digital
Upconverters) which upconvert the data to
the original IF frequency bands. Two 800 MHz
D/As convert the data to analog form and
provide signals that are identical to the
analog signals that were originally recorded.
These can be further analyzed with any
Windows-compatible analysis software.
Simulator for Talon Recording Systems
The Simulator uses the same client-server architecture as every Talon recording system, thereby allowing you to use either the SystemFlow GUI (Graphical User Interface) or SystemFlow API (Application Programming Interface) to control the system. In this way, the Simulator allows you to experience how the system operates exactly as you would experience using an actual system in the field.
The Server is responsible for the real-time data recording, while the Client provides the user interface, used to control and monitor the recorder. The Client is provided as a GUI (Graphical User Interface). The Client issues commands to the Server over a socket connection.
You can download SystemFlow Simulator user's guide which details the installation, configuration and use of the software.
SystemFlow Signal Viewer
The SystemFlow Simulator demonstrates the SystemFlow signal viewer by playing recorded signals to simulate the appearance of live signals being digitized and recorded by a Pentek analog signal recorder. The SystemFlow signal viewer includes a virtual oscilloscope and a virtual spectrum analyzer for signal monitoring in both the time and frequency domains. The oscilloscope and spectrum analyzer are extremely useful for previewing live inputs before recording them and for monitoring signals as they are being recorded.
Pentek's SystemFlow API allows you to develop your own User Interface (UI) for controlling your Talon recording system. The API is a C-callable library that allows you to control the recorder from an application interface that you develop. If you want to develop your own UI, the SystemFlow Simulator provides a means of testing your UI before you receive your Talon Recorder. This is very helpful for development programs that are on a tight schedule.
If you want to simply use the standard SystemFlow GUI, the SystemFlow Simulator is helpful for this as well. The Simulator can serve as a training interface, allowing system operators to become comfortable with the Talon recording system before they receive it. The standard SystemFlow GUI provides the user with a control interface for Talon recording systems that includes Configuration, Record, Playback, and Status screens, each with intuitive controls and indicators.
Simulates all Talon Recorders
The SystemFlow Simulator can be configured to simulate any of the Talon analog or digital recording systems. You can easily switch from one system to another to simulate the different recording systems in the Talon recording system product line. A common user interface and API provides a simple transition from one Talon recorder to the next.
Local and Remote Control
Like every Talon recording system, the Simulator can be controlled locally or remotely via the socket-based client-server architecture. This allows you to set up and test remote control of your recording system before you receive it. In addition, you can also create system profiles that can be saved in the Simulator and then reused in the actual Talon recording system.
Pricing and Availability
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