Mini Modular Instruments

MMIs for Test and System Integration


Electrical engineers and technicians worldwide rely on PRL to provide basic electronic building blocks for their test, measurement, and system integration needs. Use a single module on the bench, or connect a set of modules to build your own custom test setup.

Basic functions such as clock generation, frequency division, deskewing and signal fan-out for distribution, etc., are frequently needed in today’s high-speed environment. 

But implementing these functions at high frequencies is not trivial. One can’t simply breadboard a 12 GHz frequency divider or a 3.5 GHz 1:4 ECL fanout buffer. At these frequencies, the use of controlled impedance interconnections is mandatory, and surface-mount devices are difficult to handle in a lab environment without custom PCBs.

Laying out a custom PCB is too time consuming and costly for most rush projects. Pulse Research Lab has developed Mini Modular Instruments ™ to provide cost effective solutions to the most common engineering challenges.

Product Groups

PRL modules come in several different functional categories, available either as stand-alone modules or as systems:

  • Clock Sources--precision VCO and crystal-clock sources provide low-jitter timing for high-speed digital systems, A/D test, SONET clocking, etc.
  • Comparators--comparator modules convert sinewave or very-low-level signals into logic level signals (TTL, ECL, LVPECL, or RS-422), and can drive long lines
  • Coupling and Termination modules--coupling capacitors (DC blocks), feed-thru decoupling caps, AC-coupled terminations, AC-coupled attenuators, and more
  • Delay Modules--programmable delays from 0 to 2.2 ns with 17.5 ps resolution
  • Differential Line Drivers/Receivers--drive high-speed differential TTL, ECL, PECL, LVPECL, RS-422, and LVDS signals over long cables.
  • ECL/PECL Terminators--for connecting ECL/PECL/LVPECL logic to ground-referenced instruments, such as an oscilloscope
  • Fanout Buffers--distribute high-speed data, clock, or trigger signals to multiple destinations, in-phase, over long lines.
  • Frequency Dividers--provide commonly used divisions (f/2, f/4, f/8, etc) of your clock source to one or several destinations. Programmable dividers (f/2 - f/4096) offer incredible flexibility with binary or non-binary divisors and multiple, independent phases.
  • Logic Level Translators--interconnect many combinations of TTL, ECL, PECL, LVPECL, RS-422, 124 Ω ECL, and LVDS signals
  • Long Line Drivers--drive high-speed TTL, ECL and PECL signals over 200' of cable.
  • RF Power Dividers and Active Splitters--fanout analog signals up to 4.6 GHz while maintaining signal fidelity
  • RF Switches and Scanners--switches and scanners with bandwidth up to 2.5 GHz.
  • Variable Output Pulse Drivers--this versatile tool can be used as an inexpensive TDR Source for Cable Testing, a pulse source for testing TTL/CMOS/ECL Devices, a high speed level translator, or a transmission line driver

Many modules appear in several categories, as they are suited for multiple tasks. For example, the PRL-414B is listed as both a Fanout Buffer and also as a Long Line Driver. Categories also overlap, e.g. Differential Line Drivers and Long Line Drivers contain many of the same product models, allowing you to rapidly locate PRL products relevant to your application.

If you don't see what you need in any of these groups, please search our site or contact us at the factory. Custom product design or modification may be available, depending on the application. Multiple modules can be integrated into small system according to your specifications. You can also use the Build-Your-Own components to implement your own solution. Multiple units can be mounted together to form small test stations: 

Product Philosophy

Pulse Research Lab Mini Modular Instruments ™ are engineered to provide maximum value through focused functionality. There are many high-quality frequency synthesizers on the market that will provide a 622 MHz ECL clock for SONET applications, but most of them cost many thousands of dollars. A full-blown synthesizer is overkill (budget- and space-wise) for an engineer who needs a 622 MHz clock. PRL can provide a 622 MHz precision clock source for as little as $625.

PRL also provides high quality and performance for demanding applications. The output circuits on all our modules were designed to drive long lines with maximum signal fidelity, and every unit is fully tested by a high-speed electrical engineer. All modules are provided in attractive, rugged aluminum enclosures and include AC adapters. Just plug them in, connect the cables, and go!

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