You may want to use an external sample clock if you are sampling a signal where a non-divide-by-N sampling frequency is necessary. Typically, you will configure your system so that the incoming signal that you want to sample is accompanied by a TTL pulse train, which acts as your external sample clock. Each pulse of this signal is used to sample data for all channels simultaneously.
External clocking provides a method to synchronize your high-speed digitizer to other devices in a measurement system by distributing a common clock to multiple devices. Additionally, an external clock can provide a consistent timebase between multiple PXI chassis.
Applications that require an extremely accurate timebase will benefit from the use of rubidium or oven-controlled crystal oscillator (OCXO)-based frequency sources. The accuracy of these devices can be better than ±100 parts per billion (ppb). For example, an OCXO source with ±100 ppb accuracy yields a 10 MHz clock with ±1 Hz uncertainty. The NI PXI-6653 Slot 2 timing and synchronization controller is ideal for such applications with an OCXO accurate to ±50 ppb. It can drive its OCXO clock onto the PXI 10 MHz reference clock lines instead of the PXI backplane clock. Thus, all instruments with VCXOs locked to the 10 MHz OCXO inherit the ±50 ppb accuracy.
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