Excalibur’s A to D / D to A Module - a different approach

David Koppel
29 July, 2021

There are a large number of analog to digital and digital to analog devices in industry and a commensurate number of vendors willing to supply them. So why did Excalibur Systems choose to introduce yet another entry into the field?

Excalibur’s expertise is in avionics systems. Much of our product line is used in testing and simulating avionics systems while some of our products are operational as well.

Our MACC II is an operational unit that translates from one specification to another, for example Ethernet to ARINC 429, Serial to MIL-STD 1553 or CANbus and ARINC 429 to ARINC 717. Adding A to D or D to A functionality to the MACC II clearly expands its usefulness and was certainly a factor in deciding to develop the new module.

But there was much more to the decision to enter the analog field after over 30 years focusing on digital communications. We realized that our perspective was different from that of most of the analog industry. Many of our clients had requirements to synchronize data from different buses. Often, they needed to reconstruct a situation that had been recorded in real time in order to trouble shoot a problem.

While the analog industry as a whole decided to focus on channel count, sample rate, resolution and several other very technical parameters, we chose to focus on ease of use, ability to synchronize with other digital buses and ability to reproduce previously recorded waveforms.

Of course, we use state of the art hardware to achieve good performance in all the standard A to D & D to A parameters, but our competitive edge grew out of our digital experience.

For example, we time tag every digital sample in our A to D channels using either a 1 microsecond free running time tag or an IRIG B time tag with our own microsecond addition. This IRIG time tag can then be compared to any other avionics bus that also supports IRIG time tagging, such as our MIL-STD-1553, ARINC 429, ARINC 717, CANbus and Serial modules.

A file containing a monitored session of an A to D channel can then be fed into our D to A module to reproduce the previously recorded waveform. Our D to A module can produce a sine wave, ramp or square wave by just providing the amplitude and period of the desired waveform. The module handles the rest.

In short, if you need 80 channels of 1 nanosecond resolution, there are many vendors to choose from, but if you want to test or simulate an avionics environment, or translate between digital avionics buses and an analog device, you really should give us a call.

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