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.

Corelis updates boundary-scan tool suite

ScanExpress Version 8.4 allows dynamic driving and sensing of GPIO signals on Corelis USB-1149.1/1E and USB-1149.1/4 JTAG controllers. Read More...

Compiled SCPI: Forerunner to IVI drivers

25 years ago, Compiled SCPI promised to deliver compatibility and speed to test systems. Today, IVI drivers have that role. Larry Desjardin explains the details. Read More...

Evaluate reference clocks for serial-data jitter specifications

Measurement techniques used for jitter don't let you predict how a reference clock will operate in a real application. Read More...

Spread-spectrum clocking in PCI Express

EMI-reducing SSC isn't always up to snuff. Read More...

Five test and measurement predictions for 2017

Larry Desjardin makes his “Top 5” prediction of trends in test and measurement for 2017. Read More...

PLL synthesizers are USB-controlled

Comprising six models, Pasternack’s PE11S3900 series of PLL synthesizers covers a wide range of frequency bands from 25 MHz to 27 GHz. Read More...

Hall switch supplies dual outputs

Housed in a low-profile X2-DFN1410-4 package, Diodes’ AH1389 unipolar Hall-effect switch offers a tightly defined magnetic operating window. Read More...

Why do users buy test gear? – Part 4: Maintenance

In part 4 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 maintenance applications. Read More...

GPS logger employs multiple sensors

The Aaronia GPS Logger is a tiny USB-based device that packs six sensors to log position, speed, and height with a sensitivity of -165 dBm. Read More...

Properly ground your circuits

You may think that having separate analog and digital ground planes will yield maximum performance and minimal EMI, but you'd be wrong. Read More...

Waveguide attenuators cover seven bands

Pasternack’s waveguide direct-read attenuators operate in seven waveguide bands within a frequency range of 18 GHz to 110 GHz. Read More...

Megger enhances insulation testers

Megger’s MIT480/2 series of insulation testers is not only faster, but also minimizes the risk of accidental damage to equipment under test. Read More...

Near-field scanning: useful or misleading?

Near-field probes can help you find the source of emissions, but remember, not all fields propagate. 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

Corelis updates boundary-scan tool suite

ScanExpress Version 8.4 allows dynamic driving and sensing of GPIO signals on Corelis USB-1149.1/1E and USB-1149.1/4 JTAG controllers. Read More...

PLL synthesizers are USB-controlled

Comprising six models, Pasternack’s PE11S3900 series of PLL synthesizers covers a wide range of frequency bands from 25 MHz to 27 GHz. Read More...

Hall switch supplies dual outputs

Housed in a low-profile X2-DFN1410-4 package, Diodes’ AH1389 unipolar Hall-effect switch offers a tightly defined magnetic operating window. Read More...

GPS logger employs multiple sensors

The Aaronia GPS Logger is a tiny USB-based device that packs six sensors to log position, speed, and height with a sensitivity of -165 dBm. Read More...

Waveguide attenuators cover seven bands

Pasternack’s waveguide direct-read attenuators operate in seven waveguide bands within a frequency range of 18 GHz to 110 GHz. Read More...

Megger enhances insulation testers

Megger’s MIT480/2 series of insulation testers is not only faster, but also minimizes the risk of accidental damage to equipment under test. Read More...

Magnetic sensor stabilizes drone designs

MEMSIC’s three-axis sensor, the MMC5883MA, achieves high accuracy and low noise to meet the demands of industrial and drone applications. Read More...

Test setup eases material characterization

An option for Keithley KickStart instrument control software automates volume and surface resistivity measurements without custom programming. Read More...

ProPlus upgrades 1/f noise analyzer

The 9812DX wafer-level 1/f (flicker) noise-measurement system from ProPlus offers increased measurement speed and system resolution. Read More...

Networked spectrum analyzer delivers in real time

ThinkRF's R5500 comes in models up to 27 GHz with real-time capture bandwidth to 100 MHz, all under network control and display from a PC. Read More...

Real-time analyzer captures pulsed and modulated signals

The Tektronix RSA7100 real-time spectrum analyzer covers up to 26.5 GHz. Options let you record up to two hours of signal data. Read More...

EDN Hot 100 products of 2016: Software Development and Test & Measurement

This section of EDN's Hot 100 Products of 2016 lists the top software development and test & measurement products. Read More...

Spectrum Instrumentation enhances PXIe digitizer line

Nine new models in the M4x series have top sample rates of 1.25 Gsamples/s to 5 Gsamples/s and Bandwidths to 1.5 GHz. Read More...

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 SentinelEX series from Ametek VTI Instruments covers 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...

>> 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

Evaluate reference clocks for serial-data jitter specifications

Measurement techniques used for jitter don't let you predict how a reference clock will operate in a real application. Read More...

Properly ground your circuits

You may think that having separate analog and digital ground planes will yield maximum performance and minimal EMI, but you'd be wrong. Read More...

Detect and analyze EFT events

Electrical fast transients can disturb electronic circuits. Using an oscilloscope, you can find these pulses, display them, and calculate their characteristics as part of troubleshooting. Read More...

Move ICs from defects per million to defects per billion

Manufacturing and quality engineers need to find defects before they occur, especially for parts used in automotive and medical applications. You can predict failures if you collect and evaluate enough test data. Read More...

RF energy: Measurements improve cooking, lighting, and more

RF energy, through the use of high-power solid-state amplifiers and feedback, could change the way we cook, light our homes, and power our vehicles. These applications are still in their infancy, but there's real potential. Read More...

Medical electronics imaging to aid sufferers of cerebral spinal fluid leaks

We need your out-of-the-box thinking and ideas that will lead to an imaging technology that can help those suffering from cerebral spinal fluid leaks. Read More...

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...

>> SEE ALL

Compiled SCPI: Forerunner to IVI drivers

25 years ago, Compiled SCPI promised to deliver compatibility and speed to test systems. Today, IVI drivers have that role. Larry Desjardin explains the details. Read More...

Five test and measurement predictions for 2017

Larry Desjardin makes his “Top 5” prediction of trends in test and measurement for 2017. Read More...

Why do users buy test gear? – Part 4: Maintenance

In part 4 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 maintenance applications. Read More...

Near-field scanning: useful or misleading?

Near-field probes can help you find the source of emissions, but remember, not all fields propagate. Read More...

Use LT SPICE to analyze input filters

From a SPICE analysis, you can design filters that reduce EMI. Read More...

My NO/NC misassumption reminder

A trivial repair reminded me that making assumptions can often cause problems ranging from trivial to tricky in debug and repair situations. Read More...

EDN Exclusive: North Pole to host first commercial deployment of 5G

In an EDN exclusive, we interview Santa Claus about the North Pole’s surprising deployment of 5G. Read More...

North Pole: Modular Instrument Success Story

Santa Claus recounts why he switched to modular instrumentation. Read More...

TE, Molex to dual-source high-speed connectivity products

Rivals will make it easier for engineers to specify connectors, modules, and cable assemblies. Read More...

Why does this year have an extra second?

International timekeepers have decreed that the atomic clock is due a leap second. Read More...

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