Getting The Most Out Of Your Analog Discovery: Lab 5


Recently I announced that National Instruments has released a set of example labs designed to show you how you can get the full use of your Analog Discovery 2. If you have since forgotten and want to review the summaries and mission of the seven labs, you can check out the original post here.

The table of contents from the 7 free labs.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be covering each lab, the tools it uses, and concepts that can help you teach your students. In my previous post I went over Lab 4: Full Wave Rectifiers. In this post I’ll be going over Lab 5: Amplitude Modulation and Demodulation.

Lab 5 is designed for an introduction to communications courses.

Lab 5: Modulation and Demodulation is designed to give students an introduction to communication theory. Students will investigate classical amplitude modulation theory in both the time and frequency domains, learn about the basic properties of fast Fourier transforms (FFT), and see how modulation index affects AM signals in time and frequency domains. 

This lab utilizes 2 sets of software, WaveForms 2015 and LabVIEW.

LabVIEW is a development environment design specifically to accelerate the productivity of engineers and scientists. It features a graphical programming syntax that makes it simple to visualize, create, and code engineering systems.

Waveforms 2015 is the software that drives the Analog Discovery 2. For this lab, students will use the waveform generator to send an AM signal, and the oscilloscope to view and analyze the results in the time domain. Then they will use the spectrum analyzer to view the frequency components of the signals and the FFT.

Lab 5 uses the Oscilloscope and Waveform Generator to generate and analyze signals in the time domain. It also uses the Spectrum Analyzer to analyze signals in the frequency domain.

For this lab students would need:

Similar to Lab 4, Lab 5 goes through theory, simulation, and practical analysis.

The lab starts by going through the theory of amplitude modulation, what it’s used for, and the component signals.

Next, students will connect the waveform generator to the oscilloscope of the Analog Discovery 2, so that they can experiment with AM signals.


They can use the scope to see the AM signal and see how the carrier and signal frequencies interact.

After analyzing the AM signal in the time domain, students will use the spectrum analyzer to view the component signals in the frequency domain.

Along with visual analysis, students will be asked to change the variables that create the input signal and analyze the impact on the AM signal.

Once students gain a full understanding of AM modulation, they can move on to AM demodulation.

In LabVIEW they can create each of the blocks required for AM demodulation graphically. They’ll start with a given VI to focus on the envelop detection and analyze the data.

The lab will take them through each of the steps to set up demodulation.

Finally, the lab will ask them to analyze the demodulated signal to fully understand the circuits involved.

Stay tuned to the blog next week for Lab 6, or download and checkout the labs yourself. If you are interested in the tools that the Analog Discovery 2 has to offer, more information can be found on its Wiki Page.

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When I started school I wasn’t interested in any of things I’m passionate about now. In fact originally I started out wanting to study art. But then I decided I didn’t want to have people telling me what to create, so I changed to music. Then I decided I didn’t want to ruin a hobby by making it my career. At the same time my Physics class was teaching a unit on the physics of music, and I thought that was way interesting, so I changed to physics. Then by the time physics was over I decided that the coolest part of physics was electricity and magnetism, and I may as well get a degree that transfers directly into a career. So while all this was happening, I was attending Shoreline Community College, and during that time I found my passion, or rather presented itself repeatedly, until I realized, maybe I should take a hint from the universe. While at community college, I was asked to help at the high school by tutoring chemistry students. Then I was asked to help at the elementary school by being a math Olympiad coach. I continued both because I found I really enjoyed it. I also had an opportunity, and was hired to be a tutor in the Math Learning Center at the Community College, a job I really loved. At the same time I was working as a Nanny, which I had been doing for several years, the main reason because I could and would answer the hard questions the kids asked honestly (i.e. why is the sky blue). I then was recommended by the patrons of the MLC to the transfer tutoring center (private tutoring,) and developed a wait list of students. Through all these opportunities at some point I realized that I loved watching people go from totally lost, to masters of a subject. I was also forced to admit that having all these opportunities continually renewed, I must have been somewhat good at it. So I decided I wanted to teach, which fits with my mission oriented personality. I saw a serious lack of passionate ECE professors in the institutions I attended. At WSU I continued this trend by being ask to TA for computer science and electrical engineering, being a TA for a total of 4 semesters. This continued by getting an amazing opportunity in my first semester at Washington State University to work at Digilent, an educational company. So even if I didn’t want to teach, turns out I can’t avoid it. Luckily it is my main passion.

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