One of the most useful bits of kit on a test bench — especially if you regularly deal with analogue circuits — just has to be a function generator. I wrote a review about JOY-iT's JDS6600 function generator some time ago, and it made me realize that I really needed one of my own. Although the model JDS6600 is a good choice and offers a lot for 140 euros, I was always on the lookout for something a bit more substantial with more waveform options, a better spec and something that was more versatile, I didn’t mind spending a little more if the right unit came along offering the facilities I was looking for.

Several years ago I also tested the Siglent model SDG830 and really liked it. Siglent are currently offering a good discount on their 800 and 1000 series units so I took a closer look at the SDG1032X Function/Arbitrary Waveform Generator. At just over 300 euros that works out cheaper than the previous model! Compared to this one it does not offer a better frequency range but has two independent outputs (which can be synchronized), a bigger display and many more features including preprogrammed standard and custom waveforms.

The Hardware

One of the many modulation methods available.
As you unpack this function generator, the first impression you get is a weighty metal case with rubbery corner bumpers which extend forward of the front panel to offer protection to the controls, screen and output sockets should the unit inadvertently fall onto the floor. Starting with the back panel there is a LAN (VXI-11) and USB type B device port and three BNC sockets for the internal frequency counter, Aux (in/out) to link with external equipment and a 10 MHz (in/out) reference signal. A 4 mm earth socket is also provided along with an IEC panel chassis plug for a standard mains kettle lead supplying 100 to 240 Vac.

The front panel is fitted with two BNC sockets for the signal outputs from the two internal waveform generators. There is also a numeric keypad, screen, a number of function keys and a large knob turning a rotary encoder with detent positions and a press pushbutton. Below the screen are six buttons to select options from the soft menus displayed along the bottom of the screen.

The clear 4.3” TFT LCD display shows all the important settings and the shape of the selected output signal at a glance. The CH1/CH2 key allows you to switch between the tabs on the display for the two outputs. The function keys are for setting Modulation, Sweep (lin and log), Burst, Parameter, Utility, Save / Recall Waveforms, and provide a method to select from one of many standard or custom waveforms. The USB host port can be used to save or load waveforms or install firmware updates.


A pulse with programmable rise time.
The SDG1032X main features at a glance:

• Frequency range: 30 MHz (6 MHz for an arbitrary waveform)
• Sample rate: 150 MSamples/s
• Vertical resolution: 14 bits
• Arbitrary waveform resolution: 16 bit

The signal generator offers two independently adjustable output signals with a voltage of up to 20 Vpp (10 Vpp when using 50 Ω termination) for signals <10 MHz. Above this frequency the output is limited to 10 Vpp. The two output channels can operate independently or synchronized together which offers significant advantages in a test environment compared with two independent signal sources.