Electronics Explorer - Intro to the Arbitrary Waveform Generator and Spectrum Analyzer

  • Using the AWG and Spectrum Analyzer to detect fundamental frequencies in a waveform.


This project is designed to familiarize the user with the Spectrum Analyzer in the WaveForms software. The Arbitrary WaveForm Generator (AWG) will be used to apply different signals to be measured by the Spectrum Analyzer to view the additional frequencies associated with each waveform.


  • Electronics Explorer board
  • Jumper wires
  • WaveForms software (download) - WaveForms 3.5.4 is used in this tutorial


  1. Connect the EE Board to your PC with the USB cable.
  2. Connect the board's external power supply and flip the Ready switch to the ON position.
  3. Build the circuit by connecting the DC channel on Scope 1 to AWG channel 1.
    • The figure below shows the completed circuit.
  4. Launch the WaveForms Software. The Device Manager will pop up. Click your EExplorer on the list and click Select. The WaveForms main window will now appear.
  5. Click on the waveform generator icon to open the Arbitrary Waveform Generator.
    • Set the Type to Sine
    • Set the Frequency to 1 kHz
    • Set the Amplitude to 1 V
    • Check out the image below for reference
  6. Click on the spectrum analyzer icon
    • Disable Traces 2, 3, and 4, click on the Green down arrow, above the plot window to open up an expanded options list.
    • Center the 1 kHz sine wave by setting the center option to 1 kHz and a span of 1 kHz as well. Other start and stop frequencies can be choosen instead of using the span option.
      • This is only one frequency associated with the 1 kHz sine wave. Set a span of 1 MHz centered around 500 kHz to see the other frequencies associated with the sine wave. You can change to a better view such as Peak Hold Continuous by clicking the Type dropdown in the Trace 1 window.
  7. Different types of waveforms have different spectral characteristics; try out some other waveforms such as a square wave, triangle wave, ramp up, and the random waveforms.
  • Note that the random wave is not quite so random as electronics have a hard time generating a truly random signal.