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.

RF Devices: Reliability is critical

Package designs are important in device reliability, something circuit designers may not think about. Read More...

Speak up, your job depends on it

At EDICON 2017, Scott McMorrow told engineers to bet your job every day. Stand up and tell the truth. We're all temporary employees anyway. Read More...

5G front haul, backhaul architectures present wireline test challenges

Although 5G is a wireless technology, networks still rely on wireline links. 5G will bring new test problems at the network level for engineers to solve. Read More...

HV Corotron monitors diesel emissions

Concerns over diesel emissions are nothing new. Read how some old-school tech handled measurements with the help of many, many volts. Read More...

Five technologies for building 5G

Parts of 5G are completely new while other parts are adaptations of previous technologies. Read More...

Keysight BERT now supports 64 Gbaud NRZ

An upgrade to the M8040A adds signal analysis and BER testing to the latest NRZ speed, used for 400 Gbps Ethernet and other standards. Read More...

5G book gets into the technology details

Get an overview of the engineering issues surrounding the next generation of wireless technology and the potential technologies for solving the technical issues. Read More...

Digitizer/DSP analyzes RF and serial signals

The ADP7000 modules from Guzik let you capture and analyze RF/wireless signals, process data in FPGAs, and stream data to storage for offline analysis. Read More...

Cobham expands radio test library

Radio test sets from Cobham can now perform automated test and alignment for Harris XG-75M and Kenwood NX-5000 radios. Read More...

Test is a key challenge for 5G

There are over 15 different centimeter wave and millimeter wave bands identified below 40 GHz for 5G NR access, and they all need to be simulated. Read More...

Modified clock filters improve at-speed test

Adding programmable shift registers and separating the synchronization cell improved performance by minimizing delays and skew. Read More...

Keeping old equipment alive

When an old HP 204D audio oscillator isn’t working, a new component source comes to the rescue for a same-day fix. Read More...

Free tool analyzes waveform parameters

Deep Measure from Pico Technology enables automatic measurement of waveform parameters on up to 1 million successive waveform cycles. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Transcendental resistors simplify precision design

The right resistor value can make the difference between a successful, elegant design, and an abject failure. Read More...

Color sensor achieves high dynamic range with auto exposure

For machine vision and other applications, this circuit provides consistent RGB sensing regardless of illumination level. Read More...

Multi-decade current monitor the epitome of simplicity

This DI will likely make the simplest piece of T&M gear on your bench. Read More...

LTC Design Note: Uncompromised clocking solution for 16bit 2.5Gsps DAC

System performance & phase noise depend on clock as much as DAC quality. Read More...

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...

>> SEE ALL

Keysight BERT now supports 64 Gbaud NRZ

An upgrade to the M8040A adds signal analysis and BER testing to the latest NRZ speed, used for 400 Gbps Ethernet and other standards. Read More...

Digitizer/DSP analyzes RF and serial signals

The ADP7000 modules from Guzik let you capture and analyze RF/wireless signals, process data in FPGAs, and stream data to storage for offline analysis. Read More...

Cobham expands radio test library

Radio test sets from Cobham can now perform automated test and alignment for Harris XG-75M and Kenwood NX-5000 radios. Read More...

Free tool analyzes waveform parameters

Deep Measure from Pico Technology enables automatic measurement of waveform parameters on up to 1 million successive waveform cycles. Read More...

SOIC test socket takes the heat

Used for burn-in and testing, Ironwood Electronics’ CBT-SO-4006 stamped spring-pin socket spans a temperature range of −55°C to +180°C. Read More...

Meters measure milliohm resistance

B&K Precision’s 2840 series of DC resistance meters offers greater accuracy and resolution than typical multimeters. Read More...

Remote module leverages Thunderbolt 3

National Instruments now offers the PXIe-8301 remote control module, which enables laptop control of PXI Express systems using Thunderbolt 3. Read More...

Measure 16 temperatures, controlled online

The WebDAQ 316 from Measurement Computing lets you measure 16 thermocouple channels and includes a built-in web server. Read More...

Bench VNA goes small & light

The ZNLE vector network analyzer from Rohde & Schwarz takes up less bench space than other bench VNAs. You want smaller? Then you need a handheld unit. Read More...

AC sources boast low THD

Two programmable single-phase AC power sources from B&K Precision, the Model 9832 and Model 9833 deliver 2000 VA and 3000 VA, respectively. Read More...

GigE cameras deliver up to 5 Mpixels

FLIR Systems’ Blackfly S GigE POE machine-vision cameras offer CMOS image sensors with resolutions of 1.3 Mpixels, 3.2 Mpixels, and 5 Mpixels. Read More...

Modbus decoder troubleshoots PLCs

Pico Technology has added Modbus ASCII and RTU decoding and analysis capabilities to its PicoScope USB-based PC oscilloscope. Read More...

Acquisition system fits tight budgets

The Model DI-2008 from Dataq is a USB-connected voltage and thermocouple data acquisition system that costs just $62 per analog channel. Read More...

Meter safely tests telecom wiring

Megger’s MIT410TC-3 tests the insulation of twisted copper cable pairs, helping to identify problems that arise from exposed wire. Read More...

Picotest announces power integrity workshops in 6 cities

Learn how to design and test power delivery networks and improve system performance. Read More...

Run data-acquisition boards from Python under Linux

Run data-acquisition boards from Microstar Labs through a Python API under Linux at no extra cost. Read More...

DC loads handle up to 350 W

DL3000 DC electronic loads from Rigol draw maximum power up to 350 W, 150 V, and 60 A to provide a baseline for testing mainstream designs. Read More...

Triaxial accelerometers are case isolated

PCB’s 354A04 and 354A05 triaxial ICP accelerometers are case isolated to ensure measurement accuracy on structures with poor grounding. Read More...

DACs work with optical modules

A pair of DACs from Analog Devices, the 12-bit AD5767 and 16-bit AD5766 reduce the footprint of wired telecommunication systems. Read More...

Bench supplies sense loads, log data

Keysight's E36300 Series of power supplies feature output lists and a datalogger for controlling outputs and storing power measurements. Read More...

PXIe generator is scalable to 44 GHz

With frequency coverage up to 44 GHz and modulation bandwidth up to 1 GHz, Keysight’s M9383A generates complex 5G waveforms. Read More...

Analog or digital: Choose your oscilloscope inputs

The MSO5 series mixed-signal oscilloscopes from Tektronix provide 4, 6, or 8 flexible 12-bit analog inputs, but you can choose between analog logic inputs. Read More...

VNAs tackle high data-rate designs

A universal fixture option for Anritsu VectorStar VNAs enhances model accuracy through improved test fixture de-embedding. Read More...

I/Q mixers simplify wideband designs

Passive in-phase quadrature RF mixers, the HMC819x series from Analog Devices, cover a frequency range of 2.5 GH to 42 GHz. Read More...

Is iPad scope worth professional pricetag?

A nice looking scope module with some very major omissions. Read More...

IR thermometer works unattended

With its auto-capture function, the Fluke 64 MAX IR thermometer records up to 99 data points unattended to capture elusive temperature events. Read More...

Generator creates DVB-S2/S2X signals

Option SMW-K116 for the Rohde & Schwarz SMW200A vector signal generator allows it to perform DVB-S2 and DVB-S2X satellite transmission tests. Read More...

RF synthesizer helps reduce system size

Packing an integrated VCO core with four separate VCOs, the ADF5356 wideband synthesizer from Analog Devices operates to 13.6 GHz. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Teardown: The Tektronix P6042 current probe is a classic

The Tektronix P6042 current probe, introduced in 1969, allows you to understand and troubleshoot reactive circuits like switching power supplies, where the voltage and current waveforms are not in phase or proportional. Read More...

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

5G front haul, backhaul architectures present wireline test challenges

Although 5G is a wireless technology, networks still rely on wireline links. 5G will bring new test problems at the network level for engineers to solve. Read More...

Modified clock filters improve at-speed test

Adding programmable shift registers and separating the synchronization cell improved performance by minimizing delays and skew. Read More...

OTA testing to gain importance with 5G

Test and measurement will play a more strategic role compared to earlier wireless technologies, but test equipment and methods still need to undergo change as 5G technology develops. Read More...

Build your own oscilloscope probes for power measurements (part 2)

In this concluding part, learn how to design and construct an n:1 voltage probe and two high-frequency current probes. Read More...

Build your own oscilloscope probes for power measurements (part 1)

When bandwidth and cost are limiting your measurements, consider building your own probes. In Part 1 of 2, learn what it takes to build a 1:1 and n:1 voltage probe. Read More...

NASA’s launch complex 39B: Paving our path to Mars

Get an exclusive look at NASA's Launch Complex 39B, which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. Read More...

DIY DCV Calibrator & reference has under 70µV error

Learn precision techniques while building your own lab reference. Read More...

Machine learning improves production test

See how machine learning was applied to speed production test and increase yield. Read More...

An IBIS-AMI Simulator for the rest of us

IBIS-AMI doesn’t have to be the domain of the wizards any longer. Get this free software and start experimenting and designing! Read More...

Too many clip leads? Make your own organizer

Sometimes, all you need is a little engineering and some household materials to solve a problem. Best of all, no software needed. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

RF Devices: Reliability is critical

Package designs are important in device reliability, something circuit designers may not think about. Read More...

Speak up, your job depends on it

At EDICON 2017, Scott McMorrow told engineers to bet your job every day. Stand up and tell the truth. We're all temporary employees anyway. Read More...

HV Corotron monitors diesel emissions

Concerns over diesel emissions are nothing new. Read how some old-school tech handled measurements with the help of many, many volts. Read More...

Five technologies for building 5G

Parts of 5G are completely new while other parts are adaptations of previous technologies. Read More...

5G book gets into the technology details

Get an overview of the engineering issues surrounding the next generation of wireless technology and the potential technologies for solving the technical issues. Read More...

Test is a key challenge for 5G

There are over 15 different centimeter wave and millimeter wave bands identified below 40 GHz for 5G NR access, and they all need to be simulated. Read More...

Keeping old equipment alive

When an old HP 204D audio oscillator isn’t working, a new component source comes to the rescue for a same-day fix. Read More...

Self-driving cars will save money and lives as they destroy jobs

Self-driving cars will save us money, time, and prevent death and injuries, but at what cost? Read More...

EMC Band plays first outdoor gig

Besides playing the usual songs from the 70s, the EMC Society Band added Bach and a Mandarin Chinese song, all outdoors along the Potomac River. Read More...

IoT: The Interference of Things

A technical session at the 2017 IEEE EMC+SIPI Symposium made it clear that EMI engineers will be constantly fixing interference problems as billions of wireless devices come online. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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