Design Con 2015

Tektronix releases first power analyzer

-April 12, 2013

Marking its entrance into the power analyzer market, Tektronix this week debuted the PA4000 power analyzer. Based on intellectual property (IP) gained from Tek’s agreement with Voltech, the new power analyzer features a proprietary Spiral Shunt design, which includes dual internal spiral shunts in each module for stable measurements from micro-amps to high-current motor drives. A few weeks ago, I met up with Ken Price, product planner for Tektronix, to discuss this new product.

First, some specifics: Basic voltage and current accuracy is specified at 0.04% with crest factors up to 10. The PA4000 offers a voltage input range up to 1000V RMS, 2000 V peak. Its dual internal current shunts include a 20A RMS shunt for current up to 30A RMS, 200A peak. For low-current devices, each channel also includes a 1A RMS shunt. The shunts help keep voltage and current phase aligned during measurements. Sensing current accurately is challenging, and the IP in the instrument as well as high-resolution 14-bit ADCs make this possible. The unit measures up to the 100th harmonic.

Available with 1 to 4 inputs, the power analyzer is modular, so it can be configured in multiple ways (see Figure 1). For instance, designers working on single-phase devices might order the PA4000 with two modules. Those working on three-phase devices would likely want all four channels.

Figure 1: the PA4000 power analyzer from Tektronix equipped with four channels.

In terms of analysis, the unit is equipped with USB, LAN, and RS-232 interfaces standard (GPIB is optional). PWRVIEW PC software is included. Application-specific built-in automatic test modes include PWM motor drive mode (which sets filters and timing for testing pulse-width modulated motor drive outputs), standby current test (which configures measurement timing to perform standby current measurements), electronic ballast test (which synchronizes measurements for highly-modulated electronic ballast waveforms), and integrator mode (which sets the analyzer for energy consumption measurements). Price says that he expects to add to these in the future in order to serve other applications. In addition, designers can log their measurement data to a flash drive using a front-panel USB port. PC software for data download, analysis, and application specific testing is available as a free download.

For current measurements above 30A RMS, Tektronix recommends the CT-S, CT-M or CL series of current transducers.

Pricing & Availability
For pricing, Tektronix decided to keep configurations simple. Most features are standard, but there are two options, the GPIB interface and an internal 15V power supply (for sensors above 30A). The unit comes with a three-year warranty.
PA4000 pricing: 1 channel $10,500; 2 channels $13,400; 3 channels $16,200; 4 channels $18,900.
Available now worldwide.

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