Design Con 2015

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.

Vote for the Engineer of the Year

DesignCon2015 has announced the finalists for the Engineer of the Year Award (sponsored by National Instruments). The award includes a $10,000 grant that will be given out at DesignCon. Read More...

Review: Tektronix RSA306 spectrum analyzer (part 2)

Last month, we discussed some of the basic operations and specifications of the new Tektronix RSA306 USB spectrum analyzer. This month, we’ll cover some of the more advanced features and measurements. Read More...

The myth called "ground"

"Ground" is probably the most misunderstood and misused term in electrical engineering. Read More...

Jitter and timing analysis in the presence of crosstalk

Oscilloscopes, jitter-analysis software, and bit-error-rate testers all play a role in decomposing jitter into its components. Read More...

Design for test boot camp, Part 4: Built-in self-test

Built-in self-test is more than just test. It includes repair of failed circuits. Read More...

Cognex algorithm hones 2-D barcode reading

X models of the DataMan 300 series of fixed-mount barcode readers from Cognex now leverage a texture-based location algorithm that looks for a pattern of alternating light and dark modules within a 2-D matrix or DPM code to increase read rates. Read More...

DesignCon 2015: Why I’m going

Larry Desjardin will investigate architectural trends of bench instruments at the quintessential conference for design engineers, DesignCon. Read More...

Basics of the IEEE Standardization process

Here's a look at the seven steps in the production of a typical IEEE standard. Read More...

Software controls over 200 bench instruments

BenchVue software from Keysight technologies controls oscilloscopes, multimeters, spectrum analyzers, power sensors, function generators, power supplies and data-acquisition systems. Read More...

PXI module exercises and characterizes DIO channels

The GX5295 from Marvin Test Solutions lets you add 32 DIO channels with source/sink capabilities to an PXI instrument chassis. Read More...

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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...

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Cognex algorithm hones 2-D barcode reading

X models of the DataMan 300 series of fixed-mount barcode readers from Cognex now leverage a texture-based location algorithm that looks for a pattern of alternating light and dark modules within a 2-D matrix or DPM code to increase read rates. Read More...

Software controls over 200 bench instruments

BenchVue software from Keysight technologies controls oscilloscopes, multimeters, spectrum analyzers, power sensors, function generators, power supplies and data-acquisition systems. Read More...

PXI module exercises and characterizes DIO channels

The GX5295 from Marvin Test Solutions lets you add 32 DIO channels with source/sink capabilities to an PXI instrument chassis. Read More...

Analysis toolkit tackles entire DDR design cycle

Teledyne LeCroy’s DDR Debug Toolkit offers physical-layer test, debug, and analysis tools for DDR 2/3/4 and LPDDR 2/3 signals, including the ability to display up to 10 eye diagrams simultaneously for a high-level view of system performance during system bring-up. Read More...

USB oscilloscope gets jump in update rate

USB oscilloscopes from Pico Technology can now update at over 100,000 waveforms/sec. Read More...

Software speeds simulation of electromagnetic properties

3-D EM Simulation Platform provides significant FEM Simulation Speed Increase. Read More...

B&K Precision revamps waveform-generator line

Combining the benefits of direct digital synthesis and true arbitrary waveform generation, the updated 4075B series of arbitrary/function waveform generators from B&K Precision offers higher frequency ranges to 80 MHz, increased waveform memory to 16 million points, and a color LCD. Read More...

16-channel DAQ amplifiers withstand harsh environments

Complementing HBM’s SomatXR data-acquisition system are three multichannel amplifier modules that are well-suited for taking measurements under harsh operating conditions, such as those found in automotive field testing, structural monitoring of buildings, and aerospace applications. Read More...

Handheld Ethernet tester performs speed certification

Net Chaser from T3 Innovation lets engineers and technicians speed-certify the data-carrying capabilities of Ethernet network cables up to 1 Gbps by testing for noise in the network, detecting faults in the cable wiring, and ensuring that cables are able to support the speed capabilities of active equipment. Read More...

EDN Hot 100 products of 2014: Test & Measurement

This section of EDN's Hot 100 Products of 2014 lists this year's test & measurement picks. 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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The myth called "ground"

"Ground" is probably the most misunderstood and misused term in electrical engineering. Read More...

Trigger and synchronize digitizers to acquire the right data

Acquiring data usually requires that you define a known point in a waveform. Because signals can have any shape, you often need to use different triggers to acquire a signal based on a specific characteristic. Read More...

Test challenges for USB 3.1 SuperSpeedPlus

Testing for USB 3.1 involves not only measuring traditional eye diagrams, but also RF analysis using spectrum analyzers, time domain reflectometry, transmission characterization using S-parameters, and the new requirement for loopback receiver testing. Here's how to do it. Read More...

10 More tricks to extend oscilloscope usefulness

Make yourself look like the company's oscilloscope expert with these ten handy tips and tricks. Read More...

LXI + PoE: Essential Design Considerations

This paper introduces the basic concepts of LXI (LAN eXtensions for Instrumentation) and PoE (Power over Ethernet), and studies the four key considerations for hardware realization to achieve LXI compliance for a device powered over Ethernet. The LAN PHY compliance test is also discussed. Read More...

Profiles in Design: Thomas Lee, Ph.D.

“Learn to be your own teacher. The profession changes at such a velocity that many things you learn in school will be obsolete before too long.”—Tom Lee Read More...

How to measure the world's fastest power switch

GaN transistors are incredibly fast, but we don't know how fast because of our test equipment and circuit limitations. Read More...

Product safety testing limits risk of shock, fire, and injury, Part 1

Ten important safety tests help protect users, products, and surroundings. Read More...

S-parameters basics

S-parameters are a “frequency-domain” description of the electrical behavior of a network. Here’s an introduction to what they mean and how they are determined. Read More...

Digitizer front ends need the right inputs

Understanding how your digitizer works can help you maximize signal integrity and minimize measurement errors. Read More...

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Vote for the Engineer of the Year

DesignCon2015 has announced the finalists for the Engineer of the Year Award (sponsored by National Instruments). The award includes a $10,000 grant that will be given out at DesignCon. Read More...

Review: Tektronix RSA306 spectrum analyzer (part 2)

Last month, we discussed some of the basic operations and specifications of the new Tektronix RSA306 USB spectrum analyzer. This month, we’ll cover some of the more advanced features and measurements. Read More...

Design for test boot camp, Part 4: Built-in self-test

Built-in self-test is more than just test. It includes repair of failed circuits. Read More...

DesignCon 2015: Why I’m going

Larry Desjardin will investigate architectural trends of bench instruments at the quintessential conference for design engineers, DesignCon. Read More...

Circuit simulates a loudspeaker's impedance curve

Testing an audio amp, and want a better test load than just a resistor, or an actual speaker? Read on. Read More...

Standardized tests versus creativity

Emphasis on standardized tests has educators in an uproar, claiming that they have less time teaching students to think. Read More...

Review: Tektronix RSA306 spectrum analyzer (part 1)

The spectrum analyzer has always been a vital tool for the EMC engineer. Until the last few years, these instruments have been rather large and heavy desktop instruments, weighing up to 60 pounds, or more. With the breakthroughs in components used for wireless technology, the size and weight of these instruments has decreased dramatically. In this review, we'll check out the new Tektronix RSA306 spectrum analyzer and run it through its paces. Read More...

Classic oscilloscope front panels show how it's done

Scope front panels can teach us lessons about design and ergonomics. Let's look at some older ones, including the best front panel ever. Read More...

Design for test boot camp, part 3: Advanced fault models and cell-aware test

Fault models must cover a variety of defects such as IDDQ, shorts and opens, and delay defects. Read More...

100G and things to COM

Channel Operating Margin provides a more flexible way to characterize channels and receivers in the presence of FEC, but what you get in flexibility you pay for in complexity. Read More...

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