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.

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...

Near-field scanners let you see EMI

EMI scanners can display the spectral and special view of a circuit's emissions. From those plots, you can quickly see how circuit changes affect emissions. 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...

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...

Is 5G mmWave right around the corner? Not so fast.

Every service provider and equipment manufacturer feels compelled to belly up to the 5G saloon’s bar, and place their mmWave pistol on the table. Larry Desjardin opines that this doesn’t mean large-scale deployments are soon to follow. Read More...

Why are 19-in. racks that size?

How did we settle on 19 in. as the standard size for an instrument rack? 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...

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...

Aeroscope funding campaign launched

The Bluetooth wireless oscilloscope is ready for production, it just needs some funding. 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...

IBIS-AMI for rocket scientists

Verification of high-speed serial links has become a major challenge for many satellite OEMs wanting to offer the benefits of high-throughput digital payloads to spacecraft operators. 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

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...

Right-angle test cables span DC to 27 GHz

Flexible test cables from Pasternack come with right-angle SMA, Type-N, and TNC connectors offering a low-profile design to fit tight spaces. Read More...

Simulate thermocouples, check indicators and processes

The P470 thermocouple simulator from Highland Technology lets you simulate thermocouples, which can provide a "sanity check" for indicators and control systems. Read More...

Signal generators deliver 125 Msamples/s

Global Specialties’ SFG-20X series of function/arbitrary waveform generators are capable of generating a 5-MHz or 10-MHz sine wave. Read More...

Test cables remain phase-stable

Operating up to 26.5 GHz, TMFlex coaxial cables from P1dB are designed to maintain phase stability under continuous flexure. Read More...

Generate analog and digital signals on the bench

The AWG4162 from Tektronix combines two types of analog outputs with a digital pattern generator. Read More...

Force sensors gain TEDS option

A TEDS memory module for HBM’s force sensors stores sensor properties to speed configuration of the measurement system. Read More...

Test wireless devices and emulate their networks

OctoPal from OctoScope lets you test wireless devices that use cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth communications. Read More...

BERT takes on 400 Gbps links

Keysight's M8040A bit-error-ratio tester is ready for today's high-speed link testing with enhancements for the next generation. Read More...

Power platform touts current doubling

The California Instruments Asterion line of AC power sources from Amtek is available in power levels of 500 VA, 750 VA, and 1500 VA. Read More...

Pickering ups density of relay module

Configured with 83 SPDT relays, the Model 40-100 PXI-based relay module from Pickering Interfaces performs 2-A maximum hot or cold switching. Read More...

FEI offers mid-range SEM

The Apreo SEM (scanning electron microscope) from FEI is capable of resolution down to 1.0 nm at 1 kV without the need for beam deceleration. Read More...

Microstar updates data-acquisition OS

DAPL 3000, a real-time OS for Microstar’s xDAP data-acquisition subsystems, now incorporates configurable multichannel digital filtering. Read More...

VNA tools improve signal integrity test

Software options for Anritsu’s VectorStar and ShockLine vector network analyzers conduct channel diagnostics and model validation. Read More...

Diode array offers robust TVS protection

The SP4042 TVS diode array from Littelfuse absorbs lightning surges up to 120 A (2/10 µs) without degradation and withstands ±30 kV of ESD. Read More...

12-bit PCIe card runs FFT application

Keysight has launched an improved FFT option for its U5303A, a data-acquisition card that samples from 1 Gsample/s to 3.2 Gsamples/s. Read More...

Wideband digital receiver fits PXIe format

The M9203A 12-bit digitizer/receiver from Keysight Technologies samples at up to 3.2 Gsamples/s with up to 2 GHz of instantaneous bandwidth. Read More...

Get a DMM and thermal imager in one

Fluke combines a digital multimeter with an infrared thermometer into a single handheld instrument. Read More...

Instruments vary insulation test voltage

Insulation testers in Megger’s MIT400/2 series offer a user-variable range that allows any test voltage from 10 V to 1000 V in 1-V steps. Read More...

Wireless signal analyzer supports LTE-A and 4x4 MIMO

Anritsu has strengthened the wireless test functions of its all-in-one Radio Communication Analyzer MT8821C with the release of four new software packages for evaluating LTE-Advanced UE supporting downlink (DL) 4x4 MIMO and Downlink Carrier Aggregation (DL CA) 5CCs. Read More...

Magnetic sensor fits mobile devices

The MMC3630KJ magnetometer from MEMSIC integrates a 3-axis AMR sensor and a signal conditioning ASIC into a 1.2×1.2×0.5-mm BGA package. 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

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...

How to perform histogram analysis on your oscilloscope

Looking for histogram basics and how to apply histogram analysis to your project? This article from Art Pini has you covered. Read More...

How to measure instantaneous RF power

Oscilloscopes can help designers of quadrature-modulation-based communications systems evaluate dynamic power requirements by providing a fast method to measure instantaneous power on very long data records. Read More...

Improve power supply reliability

How to use Safe Operating Area plots to monitor device stress limits. Read More...

Product How To: Calculate power with a scope

Teledyne LeCroy’s Art Pini explains the math behind automatic power calculations on an oscilloscope equipped with power analysis software. Read More...

Measure vector and area with an oscilloscope X-Y display

Summary: X-Y plots help you view I and Q as constellation diagrams. Area plots and circles show the relative phase of sine waves. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Near-field scanners let you see EMI

EMI scanners can display the spectral and special view of a circuit's emissions. From those plots, you can quickly see how circuit changes affect emissions. Read More...

Is 5G mmWave right around the corner? Not so fast.

Every service provider and equipment manufacturer feels compelled to belly up to the 5G saloon’s bar, and place their mmWave pistol on the table. Larry Desjardin opines that this doesn’t mean large-scale deployments are soon to follow. Read More...

Why are 19-in. racks that size?

How did we settle on 19 in. as the standard size for an instrument rack? Read More...

Aeroscope funding campaign launched

The Bluetooth wireless oscilloscope is ready for production, it just needs some funding. Read More...

IBIS-AMI for rocket scientists

Verification of high-speed serial links has become a major challenge for many satellite OEMs wanting to offer the benefits of high-throughput digital payloads to spacecraft operators. Read More...

Fix poor capacitor, inductor, and DC/DC impedance measurements

Improved measurement technique extends the range and improves the accuracy over standard S-parameters. Read More...

Workshop shows off test and measurement equipment

The Keysight Technologies TestDrive workshop shows you how to get measurements such as power integrity, power consumption, and RF spectrum, but has less hands-on time than last year. Read More...

Rubber Band Engineer: The book that will get you in trouble

Rubber Band Engineer is the kind of how-to book that can surely get you in trouble while having fun with projectiles. Read More...

The virtual reality of 5G – Part 2 (measurements)

Larry Desjardin looks for 5G test products at IMS, and focuses on LitePoint, Keysight, and National Instruments. Read More...

NI introduces PXIe 7.5-digit DMM

The NI PXIe-4081 brings the accuracy of its PXI predecessor to PXI Express. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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