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.

Celebrate an Engineer!

It’s time to nominate a deserving engineer for the DesignCon Engineer of the Year, which will be awarded at DesignCon 2016 Read More...

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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...

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Handheld RF analyzers now reach 50 GHz

Keysight Technologies has introduced what it claims is the word's first 50 GHz handheld spectrum analyzer, antenna analyzer, and 2-port VNA. Read More...

PV simulator ups rack-space power density

The Elgar ETS1000Y PV simulator from Ametek tests isolated and non-isolated string inverters with voltages of up to 1000 VDC (Voc). Read More...

Distance sensor touts wide measurement range

Based on an improved time-of-flight principle, the Dx50-2 distance sensor from SICK achieves a measurement range of up to 30 m on white targets. Read More...

Thermal imager integrates photo camera

The THT45 thermal imager from HT Instruments displays both thermal and visual images, mixing them together using picture-in-picture technology. Read More...

BER test platform handles PAM-4 coding

Keysight’s M8000 series of bit error rate test products now supports PAM-4 multilevel signaling formats and built-in error counters. Read More...

Configurable PXI multiplexer switches 60V

Selectable switching configurations allow the Model 40-681 PXI solid-state multiplexer from Pickering to adapt to different test requirements. Read More...

Thermal test systems cut energy and noise

Portable temperature-forcing systems from inTest operate on an energy-efficient 20-A circuit and produce a noise level of less than 56 dBa. Read More...

Tektronix expands function generator line

AFG3151C and AFG3152C add 150 MHz models to the AFG3000 series. Read More...

Scopes gain trigger and decoder option

A software option for the Rhode & Schwarz RTO and RTE digital oscilloscopes debugs serial protocols that employ Manchester and NRZ coding. Read More...

Harmonic analyzer provides power waveform measurements

Vitrek’s PA900 Precision Power Analyser is positioned as the first of a new class of affordable graphical power analyzers. Read More...

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The Tektronix 1101 oscilloscope-probe power supply

A mechanical design is at once a masterpiece and an expensive expedient. 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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Find IGBT degradation through power cycling

A power-cycling experiment, accelerated through temperature cycling, reveals how an IGBT's die-attach materials can break down. Read More...

EDN electronics exclusive: Orion lands safely in desert parachute tests

Work on the Orion spacecraft reveals NASA’s focus on astronaut safety using science, engineering, and technology. Read More...

Analyze mechanical measurements with digitizers and software

Digitizers and software that produces time and frequency plots let you analyze mechanical systems and spot trouble before breakdowns occur. Read More...

IEEE 802.11ah: Wi-Fi below 1 GHz

A standard in progress will result in a longer-distance Wi-Fi with lower bandwidth than 802.11ac. 802.11ah will benefit IoT and M2M applications. Read More...

LVDS display bridges and automated measurements, part 2

Part 2 describes the automation flow for characterizing LVDS devices used in automotive SoCs. Read More...

History of jitter Part 5: PLLs and jitter analysis

Here’s how we gained deeper understanding of periodic jitter components and saw that from very long waveforms, we could now discover the peaks in the jitter distribution. Read More...

Real spectrum analysis with Octave and MATLAB

These techniques and functions for Octave/MATLAB allow easy, consistent, and properly scaled DFT/FFT analysis of signals and noise, and are easily translated to other scripting or compiled programming languages. Read More...

History of jitter Part 4: Time-interval error (TIE)

At its core, jitter measurement is about comparing when an edge actually arrives to when it's expected to arrive. Read More...

Site enables detailed component comparisons

A new site is dedicated to conducting detailed comparisons of electronic components to assist engineers with the selection process. They’ve kicked things off by tackling 60 MEMS & other miniature microphones. Read More...

The Art of Waves: Images on an oscilloscope

Who says waveforms such as Lissajous patterns on a box or PC-based oscilloscope's display aren't an art form? You can do more than that. See for yourself and download a Python script. Read More...

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Was Tesla for real, or not?

A new book about Nikola Tesla attempts to cast doubt that the mythical engineer's inventions weren't all that original. Instead, history is written by those who patent inventions. Read More...

Memories of Steve Weir

Last week, the signal-integrity community was left stunned when we heard about the death of Steve Weir. Read More...

They slice. They dice. Is there anything modular instruments can’t do?

Larry Desjardin looks at the fundamental limits to modular instruments, and concludes that superb engineers have broken barrier after barrier, and will continue to do so. Read More...

Aaronia GPS Logger DF antenna

As mobile communications devices proliferate, the chance for interference to these systems, as well as to television, broadcast radio, and other communication systems increases. One important aspect of EMC is tracking down these interfering signals. Read More...

Refurbishing the KeyTek MiniZap

One of the more popular older ESD simulators was the KeyTek MiniZap. While rugged and easy to use, there are two common failures for this model - the NiCad batteries eventually won’t hold a charge and the two variable knobs at the top tend to crack. The knobs are easy to replace with standard set-screw knobs. This article describes how to replace the existing NiCad AA cells with new ones. Read More...

All of NIWeek 2015 can be reduced to one diagram

Larry Desjardin explains how one diagram, that of smart edge instrumentation, pervades all of National Instruments. Read More...

Meet Daniel's new oscilloscope

Keysight Technologies presented a new oscilloscope to incoming MIT freshman Daniel Sheen on August 12, 2015. Read More...

NIWeek: Automated test systems

NIWeek 2015 was full of companies demonstrating ATE systems ranging from wireless to military to an all-in-one system. Read More...

NIWeek: Inside the Nokia/NI 5G system

In an EDN exclusive, Larry Desjardin describes the architecture of the Nokia/National Instruments 5G system based on LabView and PXI. Read More...

NI Week has the definitive answer to Deflate Gate

Indiana-based Ball systems has developed an automated system for inflating or deflating footballs, basketballs, and other sports balls. See Tom Brady smile and cry. Read More...

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