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.

Tektronix updates PAM4 validation platform

The latest release of Tektronix’ PAM4 transmitter analysis software adds error detection, SNDR measurement, and FFE/DFE equalization. Read More...

Keysight introduces three PXI chassis

The three chassis give you options when developing automated test applications. Read More...

PXIe modules switch signals from DC to microwave

The SentinelIEX series from Ametek VTI Instruments cover general-purpose switching, matrices, and RF/microwave switching in multiple switch configurations. Read More...

RF power amplifier generates 100 W

Pasternack’s PE15A5033F GaN-based power amplifier delivers 100 W of saturated output power over a frequency range of 0.7 GHz to 2.7 GHz. Read More...

JTAG offers mapping tool for Altium Designer

JTAG Maps for the Altium Designer tool suite lets engineers assess JTAG/boundary-scan resources on their design, before committing to layout. Read More...

Why do users buy test gear? – Part 3: Manufacturing

In part 3 of this series, Larry Desjardin examines the business and financial aspects of why end users and their employers buy test equipment, with a particular focus on manufacturing. Read More...

Commercial content in DesignCon papers

DesignCon papers can't be commercials, but that doesn't mean you can't air out the techniques used in your products! Read More...

PXI-Express PHY: Essential PCB design considerations

Designing for PXI-Express (or PCIe)? Make sure you’re following these guidelines. Read More...

SAR ADCs ease field testing

Analog Devices’ AD400x series of 18-bit and 16-bit SAR ADCs enable test and measurement instruments to operate longer in the field. Read More...

AWG meets tight budget constraints

At $359, Rigol’s DG1022Z generator lets designers build complex arbitrary waveforms, generate 8th order harmonics, and inject random noise. Read More...

Cycles per second: A historical perspective

Heinrich Hertz proved the existence of electromagnetic waves, for which we associate his name with cycles-per-second. Read More...

The chip glitch

These engineers took on six circuit cards that had been relegated to the bone pile to find out why they passed testing but failed in a military black box. Read More...

ESC Silicon Valley: Be creative by goofing off

At the Dec. 8 keynote address, Ransom Stephens will explain how to use your brain to solve bigger problems more effectively than you do now. Goofing off is an important part. 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

Tektronix updates PAM4 validation platform

The latest release of Tektronix’ PAM4 transmitter analysis software adds error detection, SNDR measurement, and FFE/DFE equalization. Read More...

Keysight introduces three PXI chassis

The three chassis give you options when developing automated test applications. Read More...

PXIe modules switch signals from DC to microwave

The SentinelIEX series from Ametek VTI Instruments cover general-purpose switching, matrices, and RF/microwave switching in multiple switch configurations. Read More...

RF power amplifier generates 100 W

Pasternack’s PE15A5033F GaN-based power amplifier delivers 100 W of saturated output power over a frequency range of 0.7 GHz to 2.7 GHz. Read More...

JTAG offers mapping tool for Altium Designer

JTAG Maps for the Altium Designer tool suite lets engineers assess JTAG/boundary-scan resources on their design, before committing to layout. Read More...

SAR ADCs ease field testing

Analog Devices’ AD400x series of 18-bit and 16-bit SAR ADCs enable test and measurement instruments to operate longer in the field. Read More...

AWG meets tight budget constraints

At $359, Rigol’s DG1022Z generator lets designers build complex arbitrary waveforms, generate 8th order harmonics, and inject random noise. Read More...

Pressure sensor works in high-temp environments

A miniature piezoresistive pressure transducer, the Endevco Model 8523 from Meggitt Sensing Systems operates continuously up to +260°C. Read More...

Triple-range switcher furnishes 80 W

The 1412 AC/DC power supply from Global Specialties offers three selectable output ranges: 16 VDC at 5A, 27 VDC at 3 A, and 36 VDC at 2.2 A. Read More...

System tests PAM4 signals to 56 and 64 Gbaud

Anritsu combines three instruments into an integrated system for making BER measurements up to 56 Gbaud PAM4 while generating signals to 56 Gbps PAM4. Read More...

HD inspection system eases eye strain

SharpVue from Aven employs an autofocus HD camera with optical magnification up to 30X and digital magnification up to 300X. Read More...

RF MEMS switch passes 14 GHz signals

The ADGM1304 quad RF MEMS switch from Analog Devices could replace electromechanical RF switches, improving reliability and saving board space. Read More...

USB converters have unique IDs

KKSystems’ isolated USB-to-RS232 and USB-to-RS422/RS485 converters from Saelig can be used with computers that do not have a serial port. Read More...

Probe, bus decoder add power measurements to oscilloscopes

Teledyne LeCroy has added an active voltage-offset probe to its oscilloscope line for power-rail measurements. Software decoder shows digital power protocol. Read More...

Proximal flow sensor is disposable

The SFM3300-D single-use mass flow sensor from Sensirion performs proximal flow measurements in medical applications, such as ventilation. Read More...

Oscilloscope option analyzes 100 GbE link-training signals

The HSSLTA 100 GbE link-training software option for the Tektronix 70 GHz DPO70000SX oscilloscope lets you automate measurements on signal equalization at the highest data rates in use today. Read More...

Add waveforms to your PXI system

Spectrum Instrumentation's 1, 2, and 4-channel AWGs let you add analog signals to an automated test system to simulate actual conditions. Read More...

Platform eases in-vehicle eCall testing

Teamed with a wireless test set and RF generator, Keysight's E6950A eCall conformance software allows end-to-end testing of eCall modules. Read More...

High-voltage PXI oscilloscope lets you create your own instruments

The PXIe-5164 from National Instruments adds FPGA technology to let you program your own instrument after digitizing signals. It also supports a wide range of voltage inputs. Read More...

Logger employs embedded web server

Dataq Instruments’ DI-808 data logger can be used by any device with a web browser running under any operating system. Read More...

AFE device monitors power quality

With embedded power-quality algorithms and integrated ADCs, the ADE9000 AFE IC from Analog Devices extends the life of industrial equipment. Read More...

ATE system automates power semiconductor tests

The Keithley S540 from Tektronix combines a source-measure unit, DMM, software, and other instruments into a fully automated system for wafer-level parametric measurements of power devices, including silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN). Read More...

PCIe frame grabbers offer PoE protection

The PCIe-GIE72 and PCIe-GIE74 PCIe GigE Vision frame grabbers from Adlink Technology provide two and four GigE channels, respectively. Read More...

Phase shifters span 5 GHz to 18 GHz

Analog phase shifters, the PE82P2000 and PE82P2001 from Pasternack, offer a continuously variable and monotonic phase shift of up to 800°. Read More...

RF signal generator is software-tunable

SynthHD Pro from Windfreak Technologies is a dual-channel signal generator that is software-tunable from 54 MHz to 13.6 GHz in 0.1-Hz steps. Read More...

Passive probes work up to 9 GHz

PicoConnect test probes from Pico Technology allow minimally invasive browsing of broadband signals or data streams out to 9 GHz or 18 Gbps. Read More...

5½-digit DMM runs on batteries

The Model 1908 from Aim-TTi brings benchtop features to a battery-powered digital multimeter. Read More...

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...

>> 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...

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PXI-Express PHY: Essential PCB design considerations

Designing for PXI-Express (or PCIe)? Make sure you’re following these guidelines. Read More...

Oscilloscope rise time and noise explained

Arthur Pini responds to an EDN reader who asked if the traditional relationship between rise time and bandwidth still applies. He also explains the relationship between rms and peak noise. Read More...

Digital oscilloscopes: When things go wrong

Learn how to avoid aliasing, false modulation, and false overshoot by properly using your oscilloscope settings. Read More...

Low-voltage tests uncover low-temperature IC problems

Testing automotive ICs with low voltages let us find and eliminate failures that only occur at low temperatures. Read More...

Distributed measurements unlock the future of design

Distributed physical measurements are the key to working with new materials and state-of-the-art mechanical design. Read More...

FFTs and oscilloscopes: A practical guide

Understanding how oscilloscopes perform Fast Fourier Transforms lets you get the right results. 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...

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...

>> SEE ALL

Why do users buy test gear? – Part 3: Manufacturing

In part 3 of this series, Larry Desjardin examines the business and financial aspects of why end users and their employers buy test equipment, with a particular focus on manufacturing. Read More...

Cycles per second: A historical perspective

Heinrich Hertz proved the existence of electromagnetic waves, for which we associate his name with cycles-per-second. Read More...

The chip glitch

These engineers took on six circuit cards that had been relegated to the bone pile to find out why they passed testing but failed in a military black box. Read More...

ESC Silicon Valley: Be creative by goofing off

At the Dec. 8 keynote address, Ransom Stephens will explain how to use your brain to solve bigger problems more effectively than you do now. Goofing off is an important part. Read More...

LED lamp cycles on and off, why?

When an LED flood lamp started cycling, I suspected temperature. Now, how can we find what's the root cause? Read More...

Why do users buy test gear? – Part 2: R&D

In part 2 of this series, Larry Desjardin examines the business and financial aspects of why end users and their employers buy test equipment, this time with a particular focus on research and development. Read More...

Go inside Fluke's electrical metrology lab

Without measurements, commerce would be chaos because there would be no way to know how much of a quantity you're buying or selling. Calibration give meaning to measurements because it provides a verifiable means of provide the quality of a measurement. Metrology labs like the one at Fluke give value to electrical measurements. Read More...

8 tips for effective power-integrity probing

Poor PCB layout, inadequate floor-planning, ineffective de-coupling, and weak filtering cause AC noise, interference, and transients on the power rails supplying FPGAs, ADCs, and DACs, affecting their performance. Read More...

Testing bulk cable is not so easy

A paper at EDICON shows what one company did to develop a fixture that connects bare cable to TDRs and VNA. Read More...

Why do users buy test gear? – Part 1

Why do end users and their employers buy test equipment, and what does that mean to our industry? Here is an overview of the key business drivers across the product lifecycle. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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