SDG1025 Waveform Generator TCXO Hack

I have some low-cost Chinese arbitrary waveform generators for analog design/test work below ~25MHz. They are not lab grade, but they are inexpensive and offer a rich feature set if you can live with their warts. If you’re not familiar with waveform generators, this is a good introduction.

This post examines an upgrade to the Siglent SDG1025 (see: datasheet, user manual), service manual). One of the main shortcomings of this generator is that it uses a basic crystal oscillator as its frequency standard which delivers around 10ppm of frequency accuracy at room temperature and might be as bad as 50ppm. While that’s fine for many applications, Siglent includes a spot on the main board for a TCXO so you can upgrade this to 0.1ppm accuracy for under $20. You need to remove the crystal and add the TCXO and one jumper wire; see how-to links: here and here.

After installing the TCXO, I tested the SDG1025 accuracy using its frequency counter feature to measure a signal from a Marconi 2025 RF signal generator which was slaved to a rubidium frequency standard (in my Anritsu spectrum analyzer). A few things to note:

  1. The frequency accuracy was improved to 0.1ppm as advertised
  2. The frequency counter input requires a strong signal: with +10dBm input, it was accurate only to 12.5MHz; with +13dBm input (the max my RF sig gen can output), it could count accurately through 27.5MHz. The manufacturer specifies it to 200MHz.

Of the two low-cost waveform generators I own (Rigol DG1022 and Siglent SDG1025), I prefer the Rigol, but both are useful toolsand the TCXO hack certainly improves the SDG1025 frequency accuracy.

Some useful links:

12.5MHz max counter frequency
Can’t measure 13MHz
Can’t measure below 20kHz accurately
Can’t measure below +10dBm