All-in-one box allowing signal conversion, logic, gating, position capture, and triggering.

What is it? How does it work?

Zebra is a digital signal level converter and position capture unit. The front panel takes signals from multiple single channel inputs in TTL, LVDS, PECL, NIM or Open Collector format, converts the levels to LVTTL and passes the signals to an FPGA. The rear panel passes encoder signals to the FPGA input via Sub-D connectors. The FPGA implements logic gates and position capture circuitry, then signals are translated to be output in the same format as their respective input. The system was designed by the Diamond Controls Group and the unit has seen great success at Diamond across many beamlines from tomography to MX and EXAFS, the unit simplifies and enables more flexibility at once.


  • Supports TTL, LVDS, PECL, NIM and Open Collector inputs
  • Encoder signals via RS422 quadrature with Z-channel
  • Configured using EPICS, communication via RS232 serial
  • 2-10ms per sample, on-the-fly readout time
  • Continuous scanning
  • Level conversion


Zebra is controlled via the industry standard EPICS interface, ensuring integration with existing beamline equipment. Users are able to control the FPGA from a GUI, where they can set AND/OR, GATE, DIV, PULSE
blocks, as well as configuring QUAD blocks and encoders; they are also able to set the system to capture the output so that viewing of the logic processes with time is possible. This makes configuration of the device for even complex scenarios straight forward. The configuration can be saved to internal flash memory.

A new TANGO interface is also in development at the PETRA III synchrotron enabling a broad range of users in Europe access to Zebra.

Chris Hearn

Chris Hearn

Technical Sales Engineer