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Arduino SigGen1 Boards Arrive

SigGenBoardsFromGPI noticed a few recent articles about ordering PCBs from Gold Phoenix of China and thought I would add to the discussion. I just got a set of boards from Gold Phoenix and they look great. My father (an RF Engineer) and I are working on a Arduino controlled Signal Generator. We did the design, layout and ordered the boards. I took several pictures of the raw boards and a finished, but not yet tested, Arduino SigGen1 Shield board. The Arduino SigGen1 Shield is more then a signal generator, it has a log amp input so it can do gain vs. frequency sweeps. I am testing the hardware now and will be creating the Arduino software after that. Take a look at the board and let me know what you think.

There is something magical about having your hobby design made into PCBs. It really makes you proud. Just look at that pile of boards. Ahhhh….


The picture above shows the component side of the SigGen1 shield board. The row of pins at the top mate with the Arduino Compatible Bare-Bones Board. I snapped this picture just after I soldered on the high speed Op-Amp, U4. As you can see, most of the parts are surface mount.


The populated board is shown above mounted atop an Arduino, ready for testing. The first problem I found was that I installed the 50MHz oscillator backwards. I used a hot air gun to remove and replace the part.

I plan to have a companion PC program that controls the Arduino SigGen1 shield providing Bode plots and control over the frequency synthizier. Of course I want to release this as an open source design, hardware, firmware and software but I don’t know if anyone is interested. Please leave a comment if you have any interest in this design.

The board is not running yet, I will update as I make progress.

Posted in Arduino, Microcontroller, Projects.

22 Responses

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  1. MichaellaS says

    G’day everyone, I figured it was about time I stopped lurking around and said hello. So here is my very first post and hopefully the first of many…

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  3. mpare says

    I was just about to ask if you would be willing to share when I read your comment about making it open. I’ve been wanting to make a pc controlled signal generator all semester long and I thought I probably could make my life easier using one of the many arduino bb I have in my pile. So I did a quick google and there you go. I’m looking over ladyada’s openbench stuff now but please shoot me an email or post a comment where additional information, schematic, code, etc can be found. I used to be a relatively active member of the Drupal community and since leaving I’m looking for new projects to contribute to while in school, EE TTU.


  4. dfowler says


    Gerber files, same as all board houses. PayPal.

  5. Joseph Yumul says

    dfowler,can you please tell me what type of files do Gold Phoenix accept and what payment did you use

  6. Symnripmeme says

    I am only looking for
    information,that is most popular about anything,but only legal and not adult.
    Thanks for the info.

  7. oOgerryOo says

    I’m Gerald.

    Just saying hello – I’m new.

  8. dfowler says

    Welcome Eric!

  9. xztheericzx says

    i’m eric. joining a couple boards and looking
    forward to participating. hehe unless i get
    too distracted!


  10. Eric says

    Good deal. If my plans change, I will let you know!

  11. dfowler says


    Sure! I will send you an email to make arrangements. Any one else comming to Belton?

  12. Eric says

    Hey Dave,
    Any chance you want to meet me at the Belton Hamfest and swap one of these for something? πŸ™‚

  13. dfowler says


    First impressions on Gold Phoenix; they are great. I had no problems supplying them the required information, they actually beat the price I was expecting by 10%. The boards are of great quality. The only issue I can see is that it does take a while. I am used to receiving parts in a couple of days but ordering from China takes time. They quote 6 to 9 days for delivery but I think that starts after they finish your order. I had to wait about 12 days. I think it would have been 10 if they had not arrived around the Labor Day holiday.

    I will most certainly use Gold Phoenix again. I am collecting up some board ideas now. If anyone has some suggestions let me know. Maybe we could start an open source movement for small adaptor boards which could be included on any order from Gold Phoenix to fill out the panel space.

  14. pK says

    Absolutly clean PCB, great job. We whant more about your signal generator please! πŸ™‚

    Oh tell me about Gold Phoenix first impresions… works well, shippement, some prices?

    I will post this on my site with your permision, of course.

    Thanks and keep on the great work!

  15. Ulf says

    Actually I am also looking forward to build an ULF and VLF receiver, but it will take some time to get all the cable to build the magnetic loop antenna (diameter 40cm and 1000 windings ;))

    @ladyada: you could use a cypress FX2 USB chip to build an ‘oscilloscope’… With some further work it could be a nice project.

    PS.: oh by the way… Ulf is just the name my parents gave me πŸ˜‰

  16. dfowler says


    This could make a great LO for a software defined radio. The log amp could be used to do a spectrum display as the radio was tuned. Even though the main frequency output is 0-25MHz you can use the high level output in square wave mode to generate harmonics to tune with at much higher frequencies.

    Does your name, ulf, stand for ultra low frequency? If so have you looked at the 8Hz earth resonance stuff? I want someday to play with a magnetic feild sensing setup to listen to the 8Hz modulation, maybe mix it with some other earth based sounds…

  17. dfowler says


    All the ICs, except the 50MHz oscillator are AD parts. AD5932 DDS, AD8310 Log Amp, and a high speed OpAmp from AD.

  18. ladyada says

    ! awesome! i’ve been noodling around with building a set of open source tools ( is the current ‘notes storage location’ but its a bit out of date) and one of the things i wanted to do is make an arduino-shield set of tools (just plug it onto a standard arduino).

    Are you using the AD family of chips? I liked em except I really wanted arbitrary waveform generation to make sawtooths and PWM’s squares aaand the TSSOP bit made it a little DIY unfriendly. πŸ™

    I’m excited to see other people working on this stuff, so please keep posting! πŸ™‚

  19. dfowler says


    The basic specificaitons are 0-25MHz with two outputs, low level and high level and a log amp input. The DDS generates Sine, Square, and Trangle outputs and supports frequency sweeping.

    I will do a more detailed post about the Ardunio SigGen1 very soon.

  20. Ulf says

    You are right this feeling is great! Together with a friend of mine I designed and build a Spartan3 FPGA board… my heard was beating faster when we programmed it for the first time πŸ™‚
    Since I got my Arduino board last week I am very interested I your Signal generator design! Do you use an DDS chip in your design? This would be great sine I am doing some experiments with simple software defined radios and until now I couldn’t find the time to build my own DDS.

  21. RSBohn says

    I know I could sure use a signal generator/analyzer like this. What is the frequency range? I’d love to see more on this project.


  22. James Moxham says

    Hey, thanks for posting a comment on my post on Instructables (which linked back to this post).

    Also thanks (publicly) for the Arduino kit which arrived today.

    I know the “Ahhh” feeling when the boards arrive. My wife thinks I am quite mad. The Ahhh comes mainly from all the huge amount of time saved from building prototypes but non electronics people possibly don’t understand that!

    I have at least 10 project ideas in the pipeline which will be relevant to uchobby.

    Back to the shed…