Test & Measurement

Martin Rowe
Senior Technical Editor
Technical information about test and measurement equipment and strategies from the point of view of the R&D or design and development engineer. Topics include T&M hardware such as oscilloscopes and signal generators/analyzers, as well as software and test methodologies.

Measure RF power at select frequencies

The Power Master MA24507A from Anritsu lets you select or scan frequencies from 9 kHz to 70 GHz in snaps as small as 1 kHz. Read More...

Long-living products defy conventional wisdom

Winning products can have viable production lifetimes of decades, despite our "here today, obsolete tomorrow" thinking. Read More...

Frost and Sullivan: PXI dominates modular market, AXIe rising

A new Frost and Sullivan study shows healthy growth for modular instruments, particularly PXI and AXIe. Read More...

Generate PAM4 signals for receiver compliance testing

PAM4 signals, with their three eyes and small voltage levels make receiver tests a challenge. Changing eye height and adding impairments lets you characterize receivers and perform compliance tests. Read More...

10 interesting products from IEEE EMC 2016

Arturo Mediano reports on products demonstrated at the 2016 IEEE EMC Symposium in Ottawa. Read More...

Autotestcon: the happiest place on earth

See the newest modular instruments targeting the mil/aero market from Autotestcon. Read More...

Thermocouples: Basic principles and design essentials

It takes carefully designed and implemented circuitry to design a high-accuracy thermocouple interface. The first step is to understand the underlying physics principles of this widely used temperature sensor. Read More...

What will drive test & measurement?

Two engineers with vastly different experiences give their thoughts on current trends in test & measurement. Read More...

10-bit oscilloscopes adjust to signal conditions

Using a combination of clock and data offsets, the Teledyne LeCroy HDO9000 oscilloscopes can adjust to signal conditions. Read More...

Electrical engineering in the 1960s: The transistor changed everything

Everything we do today in electronics is based on the transistor, but it wasn't always that way. Here's how one engineer described what happened when transistors came along. Read More...

USB Power Delivery: Compliance is essential

USB Power Delivery has many aspects that include protocols, sourcing, and sinking. Compliance test assures that your product will properly deliver and receive power. Read More...

JTAG tester fits into ECT fixtures

JTAG Technologies’ JT 5705/FXT multifunction tester can be configured in cassette-based, reconfigurable fixtures from Xcerra’s ECT division. Read More...

Software plugins enhance audio test

A trio of plugins adds new capabilities to Audio Precision’s APx audio test software, including fractional octave analysis and A/V sync. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Moving averager rejects noisy outlier values

Improve data-acquisition performance by implementing a smart filter in your FPGA, SoC, or code. Read More...

In-circuit PROM tester

Maintaining old tech takes some resourcefulness. Read More...

LTC Design Note: Precision op-amp enables fast multiplexing at low power

A multiplexed DAQ design presents some subtle challenges, and parts selection plays a crucial role. Read More...

Active load handles high voltages

This electronic load design presses an electric kettle into service as a power resistor. Read More...

Circuit remotely adjusts PSU voltage

This DI circuit allows for remote regulator/PSU programmability or trimming. Read More...

Programmable-gain amp achieves high gains

Roll your own PGA to get the exact high gains you need. Read More...

Fast, low-noise JFET amp is stable over temperature

This Design Idea combines the strong points of JFETs and CFAs to make a high-impedance amplifier that’s fast, stable over temperature, and quiet. Read More...

AC power measurement uses PWM & PAM

Use clever pulse modulation techniques to multiply signals and measure power. Read More...

Simplified kurtosis computation detects signal interference

The statistical kurtosis operation, reinterpreted and implemented on an FPGA for this Design Idea, can detect various forms of interference in RF and other signals. Read More...

De-embed transmission lines with FIR filters

This DI uses MATLAB to design de-embedding filters which clean up high-speed signal measurements. Read More...

Instrumentation amp makes an accurate transimpedance amp too

The interesting topology in this Design Idea turns a monolithic in-amp into a good transimpedance amp for photodiode or similar applications. Read More...

Transient load gives power systems a workout

Verify power supply performance with this transient load generator. Read More...

Bad-bulb finder fixes Christmas lights

15 years later, here’s a new take on one of our most popular Design Ideas ever! Read More...

Power transient buffer enables IC & circuit testing

This DI lets you use a versatile function generator to test a circuit’s response to power transients and noise. Read More...

Antilog converter linearizes carbon dioxide sensor

Simplify gas sensor interface with some analog preprocessing. Read More...

Sub-picofarad measurement with CMOS inverters

Measure capacitance down to 2.5pF full-scale using this hex inverter-based design. Read More...

Short circuit tracer/finder uses low power

Build this bench tool and become a master at pinpointing shorts. Read More...

LabVIEW real-time seismic alert system

National Instrument’s LabVIEW has uses beyond instrument control, as demonstrated by this Web app. Read More...

LTC Design Note: Robust 10MHz reference clock input protection circuit and distributor for RF systems

Design a protected 10MHz reference input without degrading phase noise. Read More...

Milliohm Squawker great at finding shorts and reverse engineering PCBs

This well thought out tool for “listening to” low resistances really speeds troubleshooting & tracing. Read More...

Versatile noise generator tests signal recovery gear

Accurate noise generator allows mixing-in of a clean test signal. Read More...

LTC Design Note: Measure RH with instrumentation-grade system monitor

An accurate, modern system monitor chip senses humidity the old-fashioned way. Read More...

Simple capacitance meter bins parts

This simple, elegant circuit lets you quickly sort through capacitors. Read More...

Detect wire breaks with unusual CMOS gate circuit

TDR in the shop? Try this circuit to detect a wire break. Read More...

Measure inductance & capacitance over a wide range

Measure inductors and capacitors over a very wide range of values with this simple circuit. Read More...

Best Design Ideas of 2013Q3

We present the best Design Ideas of the last quarter! Read More...

Precision capacitance meter

There's an art to capacitance measurement. What do you think of this rendition? Read More...

Novel Q-meter

This highly unusual "cross-quad" circuit topology finds application measuring Q. Read More...

Voltage-to-period converter improves speed, cost, and linearity of A-D conversion

Turning a VFC on its head improves many parameters. Read More...

Complete, low-cost, software programmable ohmmeter measures micro-ohms

An ac voltage is generated by switching current into the unknown resistance. The resulting ac voltage is then amplified and filtered to produce an output voltage proportional to the resistance being measured. Read More...

Convert your smartphone into a pedometer and tracking device

A bit of Python code along with the power of GPS and your smartphone lets you track and record your outdoor excursion activities. Read More...

Photo meter assesses ambient light

When most PN-junction diodes are reverse biased, they will produce a small photovoltaic output as the light level is increased. Read More...

Circuit automatically switches off DMM

Add automatic-shutoff to your DMM, save batteries, and eliminate wear and tear on the function switch. Read More...

Create secondary colors from multicolored LEDs

One disadvantage of generating a yellow color by mixing two primary-color light sources is that the LED must use twice the current because both the red and the green LEDs must be on. Read More...

Measure an amplifier's THD without external filters

Adding a secondary amplifier boosts the THD to measurable levels. Read More...

Wireless temperature monitor has data-logging capabilities

You can make a wireless temps system with two ICs. Read More...

Make an asynchronous clock for VPX-based PCIe systems

Careful crystal selection and an FPGA are key to success. Read More...

Use a photoelectric-FET optocoupler as a linear voltage-controlled potentiometer

The circuit takes advantage of an identical photo-FET as a feedback element. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Measure RF power at select frequencies

The Power Master MA24507A from Anritsu lets you select or scan frequencies from 9 kHz to 70 GHz in snaps as small as 1 kHz. Read More...

Adlink launches PXI/PXIe platforms

Aimed at entry-level PXI test needs, the PXES-2301 PXI Express six-slot chassis from Adlink enables system bandwidth of up to 8 Gbytes/s. Read More...

10-bit oscilloscopes adjust to signal conditions

Using a combination of clock and data offsets, the Teledyne LeCroy HDO9000 oscilloscopes can adjust to signal conditions. Read More...

JTAG tester fits into ECT fixtures

JTAG Technologies’ JT 5705/FXT multifunction tester can be configured in cassette-based, reconfigurable fixtures from Xcerra’s ECT division. Read More...

Software plugins enhance audio test

A trio of plugins adds new capabilities to Audio Precision’s APx audio test software, including fractional octave analysis and A/V sync. Read More...

Power source delivers 18 kVA

Part of Pacific Power’s AFX series, the 3180AFX provides programmable AC, DC, and AC+DC power to single, split, or three phase loads. Read More...

Wall enclosure gets equipment off the floor

The ERWEN-6E wall-mount enclosure from Video Mount Products houses 19-in. rack-mount audio/video, security, or communications equipment. Read More...

Battery simulator teams with fault inserter

Bloomy Controls’ fault-insertion unit (FIU) supplies 24 channels of independently programmable fault insertion and switching. Read More...

Isolated measurement system boosts CMRR

Tektronix’ IsoVu optically isolated measurement system achieves a CMRR of 10,000:1 (80 dB) at 1 GHz and 1,000,000:1 (120 dB) at up to 100 MHz. Read More...

Oscilloscopes integrate with education

The TBS2000 oscilloscopes from Tektronix let educators teach directly on the instrument through Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or USB connections. Read More...

Integrated system speeds LMR testing

Cobham and TRX Systems have joined forces to form an integrated platform that automates indoor LMR (land-mobile radio) testing. Read More...

Analyzer generates clean eye diagrams

Teamed with the G0361A 64-Gbaud DAC, Anritsu’s MP1800A signal-quality analyzer accurately verifies high-speed interconnects and backplanes. Read More...

Scope option eases MIPI M-PHY debugging

Triggering and decoding option RTO-K44 for Rohde & Schwarz RTO2000 digital scopes allows developers to debug designs with M-PHY interfaces. Read More...

AWGs sport up to 8 synchronous channels

LXI-based generatorNetbox 14-bit and 16-bit arbitrary waveform generators from Spectrum take aim at automated test and remote applications. Read More...

Review: Siglent SDS 2304X oscilloscope

Siglent's new SDS 2000X series of scopes hit a home run. Read More...

Modules optimize OTDR performance

Yokogawa offers three modules to extend the usefulness of its AQ7280 series of OTDRs for characterizing fiber-optic cable. Read More...

Multiport VNA works up to 20 GHz

With up to 16 integrated test ports, the ZNBT20 vector network analyzer from Rohde & Schwarz now spans a frequency range of 100 kHz to 20 GHz. Read More...

PCIe 4.0 scope software handles 16 GT/s

Tektronix offers automated transmitter/receiver test software for its DPO70000SX oscilloscopes to address PCIe 4.0 designs at up to 16 GT/s. Read More...

Software eases 5G test system development

Keysight’s Signal Optimizer software platform performs calibration, signal creation, and signal analysis of 5G candidate waveforms. Read More...

Acquisition system employs CIC filters

The DI2108 USB-based data-acquisition system from Dataq provides eight 16-bit analog-input channels, each with a CIC-type antialias filter. Read More...

Sensors detect tip-over conditions

Accelerometers and tilt sensors in the 624X family from Memsic offer internal anti-vibration filtering for use in high-vibration environments. Read More...

Adapters ease JTAG testing of DIMM sockets

JTAG Technologies has launched a family of hardware adapters for testing DIMM and SODIMM sockets using universal JTAG/boundary-scan hardware. Read More...

Updated SEM software aids failure analysis

Compatible with FEI’s DualBeam FIB/SEM platforms, Auto Slice & View V4.0 reconstruction software offers enhanced productivity and accuracy. Read More...

USB oscilloscopes add waveform generators

TiePie Engineering has added a waveform generator to its line of USB oscilloscopes, which the company claims is a unique design. Read More...

Synthesis platform aims to halve design time

Catapult decreases the hardware design time from design start to RTL verification closure by 50%, reports Mentor Graphics. Read More...

Software enables one-button network testing

Anritsu’s SEEK MX100003A GUI software allows the creation of detailed test configurations for one-button execution on Network Master testers. Read More...

Optical tester adds return loss measurements

The MaxTester 945 from EXFO adds this useful measurement for telco field technicians. Read More...

Handheld unit certifies Ethernet speed

Net Chaser from Platinum Tools tests and speed-certifies the data-carrying capabilities of Ethernet network cables up to 1 Gbps. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

What's inside a smart meter? iFixit tears it down

When iFixit's Kyle Wiens had the opportunity to tear down an Elster smart meter, he jumped at it—not to come up with a repair manual but to evaluate the health and safety issues that seem to surround the utilities’ installation of smart meters. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Generate PAM4 signals for receiver compliance testing

PAM4 signals, with their three eyes and small voltage levels make receiver tests a challenge. Changing eye height and adding impairments lets you characterize receivers and perform compliance tests. Read More...

Thermocouples: Basic principles and design essentials

It takes carefully designed and implemented circuitry to design a high-accuracy thermocouple interface. The first step is to understand the underlying physics principles of this widely used temperature sensor. Read More...

USB Power Delivery: Compliance is essential

USB Power Delivery has many aspects that include protocols, sourcing, and sinking. Compliance test assures that your product will properly deliver and receive power. Read More...

Measurement basics in LED thermal management

It takes more than the ability to read a datasheet to figure out the thermal aspects necessary for your LED design—here’s some help. Read More...

Vintage electrical measuring instruments from the 1950s

As we celebrate 60 years of EDN, it’s interesting to look back at the equipment from EDN’s early days. Check out Howard Skolnik’s collection of measuring instruments made from 1954-1958. Read More...

Modular AWGs: How they work and how to use them

Arbitrary waveform generators are inverse digitizers; the results you get depend on how you use them. Read More...

Proper oscilloscope setup yields correct ESD measurements

To get the right measurements of ESD pulses, you need to set trigger levels properly and use as much of the ADC as possible. Read More...

Hardware registers control modular instruments

Engineers who develop test software for modular instruments, including PXIe and AXIe, might wonder how their test software performs instrument control through IVI drivers, which read or write to the hardware through VISA. This article provides the answer. Read More...

Look Inside Fiber Optic Sensing

Improvements in fiber optic sensing technology can help engineers solve complex system sensing problems. Read More...

Free yourself from IBIS-AMI models with PyBERT

PyBERT, an open-source modeling tool, can help you design high speed SERDES devices and systems. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Long-living products defy conventional wisdom

Winning products can have viable production lifetimes of decades, despite our "here today, obsolete tomorrow" thinking. Read More...

Frost and Sullivan: PXI dominates modular market, AXIe rising

A new Frost and Sullivan study shows healthy growth for modular instruments, particularly PXI and AXIe. Read More...

10 interesting products from IEEE EMC 2016

Arturo Mediano reports on products demonstrated at the 2016 IEEE EMC Symposium in Ottawa. Read More...

Autotestcon: the happiest place on earth

See the newest modular instruments targeting the mil/aero market from Autotestcon. Read More...

What will drive test & measurement?

Two engineers with vastly different experiences give their thoughts on current trends in test & measurement. Read More...

Electrical engineering in the 1960s: The transistor changed everything

Everything we do today in electronics is based on the transistor, but it wasn't always that way. Here's how one engineer described what happened when transistors came along. Read More...

Loop Gain measurement error

We have learned, courtesy of Dean Venable, the following method of measuring loop gain, typically in a switchmode power supply, but elsewhere too Read More...

Engineering education: "What have you built?"

Engineering education is more than circuits and software; universities today are emphasizing building things than can help society. Read More...

Check the lab for false radiated emissions

If you see emissions that you can't explain, look beyond for EUT to other equipment in the lab. Read More...

US Department of Labor recognizes calibration occupation

Finally, those who work in the calibration will have their own official classification for what they do, which will benefit the profession. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

FEATURED RESOURCES