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.

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...

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...

The 2016 EMC Symposium is coming

Engineers will gather in Ottawa, Canada for the anual IEEE EMC Symposium. Here's what to expect. 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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

>> SEE ALL

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...

Use air-core-coil resistance to estimate inductance

If the coil is tightly wound you do not need the number of turns to calculate inductance. Read More...

Current monitor uses Hall sensor

Use a Hall-effect sensor to measure dc current in the range of 0 to 40A. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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

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...

>> SEE ALL

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...

Read sensors with an oscilloscope

Oscilloscopes have functions that let you scale voltage inputs into engineering units. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

The 2016 EMC Symposium is coming

Engineers will gather in Ottawa, Canada for the anual IEEE EMC Symposium. Here's what to expect. Read More...

Three predictions on the state of signal integrity

Signal integrity evangelist Eric Bogatin makes three predictions on high-speed signals based on DesignCon 2016. Read More...

EDN turns 60, help us celebrate

EDN began life as Electrical Design News on May 8, 1956. Here's what to expect over the coming months as we celebrate the publication. Read More...

Reduce your prejudice to innovation

The biggest obstacle to innovation is our own internal prejudice systems and the "not invented here" mentality. Fortunately, we can get around them. Read More...

PAM4: Symbol levels and voltage compression measurements

PAM4 measurements continue to evolve. Here are two ways to measure symbol level, separation, and nonlinearity, and which is best. Read More...

Simulate automotive electrical noise on the bench

The AING-5000 series from Spirent Communications lets you inject interference into automotive Ethernet links for testing engine control units. Read More...

EMC book needs some serious editing

While you might learn from "EMC Made Simple," you have to get past too many editing errors to make it worth your time. Read More...

How to interpret proficiency test results

Calibration labs often perform proficiency testing to assure measurements are within expected ranges. But, you need to understand the test results. Read More...

Wireless sensor network keeps IC wafer fab running efficiently

In a classic IoT use case, a semiconductor wafer manufacturer retrofitted a running fab with a wireless mesh network to monitor gas cylinder usage and reduce down time. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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