Types of Converter Circuits To Know About
Digital signal processing begins with capturing an analog signal, whether that means recording someone’s voice, receiving a message via telegraph, or recording information by any other means. This analog information is then converted into digital formats that are easier to store, edit, and manipulate.
As digital technology progresses and becomes an increasingly important part of our daily lives, more and more advanced technologies are required to convert and manipulate those signals. The RF downconverter is one such piece of technology that allows a computer processor to convert signals from analog to digital.
If you are not familiar with the ins and outs of digital signal processing, the workings behind RF converter design can be a little confusing. But, in its most elementary terms, a signal is any function that conveys information. This could be a radio signal conveying audio information, video and images, text messages, GPS coordinates, radar or sonar waves, and even music. All of these signals can be categorized into groups or specific formats.
Most projects need to accommodate a variety of different signals, such as several audio channels and a video signal. For these projects, a technician uses a device called a mixer that takes those captured signals and converts and processes them into different formats that are easy to edit and store.
The technician takes these multiple input signals and mixes them into an output that is equal to the sum or difference of their signals, or equivalent to the individual signals themselves. Of these measures, the difference between the two signals tends to be the most useful to signal processing engineers. This measure is known as a base banded signal, and is the easiest to transmit. The RF digital downconverter shifts those two input signals into a difference signal that has a zero frequency.
Keep in mind that every type of signal, including video signals, travels in a wave form similar to those you learned about (and probably forgot, since) in your trigonometry class in high school. If you remember sine and cosine, then you remember enough to visualize how signals travel. When two waves do not line up perfectly due to the fact they have a different frequency, a huge amount of bandwidth is required to receive, store, and transmit both of the waves from each signal.
To avoid this bandwidth cost, a digital down converter locates a pattern where the two waves cross on specific intervals. The points where these waves cross are called sampling points, and are used to create a new wave that describes the patterns of all the waves combined. This new wave is the difference signal that requires far less bandwidth and processing power.
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For a more technical discussion on RF designs, we recommend these books from Amazon:
RF Circuit Design, Second Edition
Article Author: Rocky Rhodes
Article Source: EzineArticles
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