SystemFlow Software for Talon Recording Systems
Recording System Questionnaire
Need assistance selecting the best high-speed recording system? Let our system engineers customize the perfect system for your specific needs. Complete Pentek's recording system questionnaire, by clicking here.
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 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 Recorder Interface provides the user with a control interface for the recording system. It includes Configuration, Record, Playback and Status screens, each with intuitive controls and indicators.
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. The signal viewer, integrated into the recording GUI, allows the user to monitor real-time signals or signals recorded on disk.
SystemFlow Hardware Configuration Interface
The Hardware Configuration Interface provides a simple and intuitive means for setting up the system parameters.
The DDC configuration screen shown here, provides 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 out-of-the-box experience.
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 real-time operation.
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.
SystemFlow Simulator for Talon Recording Systems
Pentek customers and prospective customers can download and install the Talon® Recording System Simulator to their desktop or laptop PC. In this way, they can experience the Talon recording system interface prior to system delivery.
The simulator uses the same client-server architecture as every Talon recording system, thereby allowing customers to use either the SystemFlow® GUI (Graphical User Interface) or SystemFlow API (Application Programming Interface) to control the system. In doing so, the simulator allows the user to operate the system exactly as he would in the field.
SystemFlow Simulator Features
- Provides real-time recording system simulation
- Demonstrates SystemFlow signal & file viewer tools
- Capable of simulating all Talon analog and digital recording systems
- Full Talon SystemFlow GUI
- Simulator can be used to develop Talon system profiles for use in final system
- Can be used with SystemFlow API to develop and test custom user interface
- 32- and 64-bit Windows 7 Professional versions
SystemFlow Signal Viewer
The Talon Recording System 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. It is extremely useful in Pentek Talon recorders for previewing live inputs prior to recording and for monitoring signals as they are being recorded.
The Talon Recording System Simulator is an invaluable tool for engineers looking to develop their own UI (User Interface) to control their Talon recording system. When coupled with the SystemFlow API, users can develop their UI and test it against the simulator prior to receipt of their Talon recorder. This is extremely useful for programs on a tight schedule.
For engineers looking to use the standard SystemFlow GUI, the simulator serves as a training interface, allowing system operators to become very comfortable with the Talon recording system before ever using it. The GUI provides the user with a control interface for the recording system that includes Configuration, Record, Playback and Status screens, each with intuitive controls and indicators.
Simulates all Talon Recorders
The Talon Recording System Simulator can be configured to simulate any of the Talon analog or digital recording systems. The user 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 system engineers to set up and test remote control of their recording system before it has been received. In addition, they can also create system profiles that can be saved in the simulator and then reused in the actual Talon recording system.
The Talon Recording System Simulator is available in 32- and 64-bit Windows® 7 Professional versions. To be qualified to receive the SystemFlow Simulator, please complete our Recording System Questionnaire and a Pentek representative will be in contact with you.