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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.

EDN tours three Silicon Valley electronics shops

EDN Sr. Technical Editor Martin Rowe and former Chief Editor Steve Leibson visited three electronics shops in Silicon Valley. Feast your eyes on these goodies. Read More...

High-speed digital: 112 is the new 56

Never in recent memory at DesignCon has talk of a speed doubling changed so much in just one year. PAM4 is now firmly established as the modulation for 112G. Read More...

Spectrum analyzer provides swept and real-time measurements

The RSA5000 series of spectrum analyzers from Rigol Technologies offers both swept and real-time capture of signals, meaning you don't need two instruments. Read More...

Tektronix moves into EMI precompliance

The longtime test-instrument company has added accessories and software that you can combine with its real-time spectrum analyzers to form a complete EMI precompliance setup. Read More...

NRZ is dead, but not everywhere

DesignCon 2018's "Case of the Closed Eye" panel looked at how far PAM4 has penetrated into NRZ's territory, but NRZ still has a place in data communications. Read More...

We become what we behold

In this first column of 2018, the publisher of ASPENCORE reflects on our journey the last three years and glimpses ASPENCORE's future. Read More...

Buck-boost module teardown & test

An enigmatic architecture, interesting parts, an incredibly basic revelation, and overall, a nice looking module. Read More...

Voltage reference filter increases 32-bit ADC SNR by 6dB: ADI Design Note

Need the ultimate performance from a high-res ADC? The devil is in the details. Learn how to properly handle your reference voltage. Read More...

5G reaches milestone with New Radio specification

The first release of 3GPP Release 15 is being heralded as the start of the next generation of wireless. It is, but there's much more work to do. Read More...

Bluetooth 5 variations complicate PHY testing

Bluetooth 5 is here and features a raft of improvements over the previous Bluetooth 4.2. Let's take a look at how the Bluetooth SIG is changing this ubiquitous and highly popular standard and how these changes will impact PHY-layer test and measurement. Read More...

Why do problems come in pairs?

Computers are infamous for manifesting unrelated problems in groups of two, but now my hardware is doing it too. Read More...

LabVIEW NXG grows features missing in parent version

LabVIEW NXG takes advantage of web technologies that have eluded standard LabVIEW, making data available to tablets in ways that have been impractical. Read More...

Help me build an electronic load & bench supply

I’m assembling a bench supply and could use some suggestions, especially for the electronic load portion and its UI, which will be open-source. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Voltage reference filter increases 32-bit ADC SNR by 6dB: ADI Design Note

Need the ultimate performance from a high-res ADC? The devil is in the details. Learn how to properly handle your reference voltage. Read More...

Inverted dual-slope ADC boosts dynamic range

Gain five-plus bits of dynamic range by flipping a dual-slope converter on its head. Read More...

Transcendental resistors simplify precision design

The right resistor value can make the difference between a successful, elegant design, and an abject failure. Read More...

Color sensor achieves high dynamic range with auto exposure

For machine vision and other applications, this circuit provides consistent RGB sensing regardless of illumination level. Read More...

Multi-decade current monitor the epitome of simplicity

This DI will likely make the simplest piece of T&M gear on your bench. Read More...

LTC Design Note: Uncompromised clocking solution for 16bit 2.5Gsps DAC

System performance & phase noise depend on clock as much as DAC quality. Read More...

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

This Design Idea is a modernized LED version of a simple gadget to find a bad bulb in a series-connected string of Christmas lights. 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...

>> SEE ALL

Spectrum analyzer provides swept and real-time measurements

The RSA5000 series of spectrum analyzers from Rigol Technologies offers both swept and real-time capture of signals, meaning you don't need two instruments. Read More...

Tektronix moves into EMI precompliance

The longtime test-instrument company has added accessories and software that you can combine with its real-time spectrum analyzers to form a complete EMI precompliance setup. Read More...

LabVIEW NXG grows features missing in parent version

LabVIEW NXG takes advantage of web technologies that have eluded standard LabVIEW, making data available to tablets in ways that have been impractical. Read More...

Rohde & Schwarz adds more 10-bit oscilloscopes

The RTM3000 and RTA4000 fill a gap between the company's 8-bit and 16-bit oscilloscopes while providing higher bandwidth than its RTB2000 10-bit models. Read More...

Datalogger improves security, adds oscilloscope module

The TMX data-acquisition system from AstroNova (formerly Astro-Med) features a removable hard drive and an assortment of I/O modules. Read More...

Current/voltage source tests materials and circuits

Offered in DC and AC/DC versions, the MeasureReady 155 from Lake Shore Cryotronics is a low-noise source of current or voltage in the lab. Read More...

Capacitance-to-digital converter resolves attofarads

With a sampling rate of 50 kHz, the PCap04 capacitive sensing front-end IC from ams achieves a measurement resolution of 8 aF. Read More...

EDN Hot 100 products of 2017: Test & Measurement

See which products made the EDN Hot 100 in the Test & Measurement category. Read More...

Measure and control over Ethernet

The D7000 series from DGH lets you configure a data-acquisition and control system over a local or worldwide network. Read More...

Tektronix goes ATE with faceless oscilloscope

Low-profile MSO5 series let you rack mount this 12-bit DSO for automated test applications. Read More...

PXI chassis keeps instrument modules cool

The NI PXIe-1095 can provide up to 58 W of cooling capacity per slot across 18 slots. Read More...

MCU power logger spans nanoamps to milliamps

The STM32 Power Shield expansion board from STMicroelectronics lets developers check the power consumption of their embedded designs. Read More...

ATEasy 10 adds collaboration tools

Multiple engineers can more easily share files across locations and installations. Read More...

Analyzer detects interference in the wireless spectrum

The MNT100 from Rohde & Schwarz lets you identify the direction and location of RF signals that can interfere with cellular wireless performance. Read More...

Simulate OTA channels for 5G mmWave signals

The Model 2040+ radio test set from Eastern OptX emulates over-the-air channels for testing transmitters and receivers. Read More...

Software analyzes V2X messages

Anritsu offers V2X 802.11p-compliant MX727000A message evaluation software for vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-roadside communications. Read More...

Synthesizers are USB-controlled

Comprising four models, Fairview’s FMSN3900 series of PLL synthesizers covers a range of frequency bands from 25 MHz to 20 GHz. Read More...

Generate four channels of high-speed data

The ADNT_MPSG from Adsantec can produce standard or customer bit patterns at 40 Gbps over four channels. Read More...

DAQ starter kit employs 12-bit ADC

At just $89, Dataq’s DI-1110 USB data acquisition system provides eight differential analog inputs and seven bidirectional discrete ports. Read More...

8 Signal generators under $100 compared

A review of some very low-cost generators from audio up to 4.4 GHz. Read More...

Module connects sensors to 12-bit oscilloscopes

Teledyne LeCroy's SAM40 adds sensor inputs to the company's HDO line of 12-bit oscilloscopes forming a complete data-acquisition system. Read More...

Handheld analyzers gain VSA, I/Q analysis

Keysight has added new enhancements to its FieldFox handheld RF and microwave analyzers, including a link to 89600 VSA software. Read More...

Controller automates Type-C validation

The N7018A test controller from Keysight enables automated validation of USB 3.1, TBT 3, and DisplayPort devices over a USB Type-C interface. Read More...

EM switches perform 10 million operations

Electromechanical switches in Pasternack’s PE71S63xx series exhibit low insertion loss repeatability of 0.03 dB to 0.05 dB. Read More...

Audio analyzer module adds new Bluetooth codecs

The Bluetooth Duo module from Audio Precision adds new codecs for Bluetooth 4.2, plus it's now a sink/source module. Read More...

Scopes tout free upgrade for limited time

DS2000E series 100 MHz and 200 MHz digital oscilloscopes from Rigol are bundled with serial decode and triggering options at no charge. Read More...

Keysight BERT now supports 64 Gbaud NRZ

An upgrade to the M8040A adds signal analysis and BER testing to the latest NRZ speed, used for 400 Gbps Ethernet and other standards. Read More...

Digitizer/DSP analyzes RF and serial signals

The ADP7000 modules from Guzik let you capture and analyze RF/wireless signals, process data in FPGAs, and stream data to storage for offline analysis. Read More...

Cobham expands radio test library

Radio test sets from Cobham can now perform automated test and alignment for Harris XG-75M and Kenwood NX-5000 radios. Read More...

Free tool analyzes waveform parameters

Deep Measure from Pico Technology enables automatic measurement of waveform parameters on up to 1 million successive waveform cycles. Read More...

SOIC test socket takes the heat

Used for burn-in and testing, Ironwood Electronics’ CBT-SO-4006 stamped spring-pin socket spans a temperature range of −55°C to +180°C. Read More...

Meters measure milliohm resistance

B&K Precision’s 2840 series of DC resistance meters offers greater accuracy and resolution than typical multimeters. Read More...

Remote module leverages Thunderbolt 3

National Instruments now offers the PXIe-8301 remote control module, which enables laptop control of PXI Express systems using Thunderbolt 3. Read More...

Measure 16 temperatures, controlled online

The WebDAQ 316 from Measurement Computing lets you measure 16 thermocouple channels and includes a built-in web server. Read More...

Bench VNA goes small & light

The ZNLE vector network analyzer from Rohde & Schwarz takes up less bench space than other bench VNAs. You want smaller? Then you need a handheld unit. Read More...

AC sources boast low THD

Two programmable single-phase AC power sources from B&K Precision, the Model 9832 and Model 9833 deliver 2000 VA and 3000 VA, respectively. Read More...

GigE cameras deliver up to 5 Mpixels

FLIR Systems’ Blackfly S GigE POE machine-vision cameras offer CMOS image sensors with resolutions of 1.3 Mpixels, 3.2 Mpixels, and 5 Mpixels. Read More...

Modbus decoder troubleshoots PLCs

Pico Technology has added Modbus ASCII and RTU decoding and analysis capabilities to its PicoScope USB-based PC oscilloscope. Read More...

Acquisition system fits tight budgets

The Model DI-2008 from Dataq is a USB-connected voltage and thermocouple data acquisition system that costs just $62 per analog channel. Read More...

Meter safely tests telecom wiring

Megger’s MIT410TC-3 tests the insulation of twisted copper cable pairs, helping to identify problems that arise from exposed wire. Read More...

Picotest announces power integrity workshops in 6 cities

Learn how to design and test power delivery networks and improve system performance. Read More...

Run data-acquisition boards from Python under Linux

Run data-acquisition boards from Microstar Labs through a Python API under Linux at no extra cost. Read More...

DC loads handle up to 350 W

DL3000 DC electronic loads from Rigol draw maximum power up to 350 W, 150 V, and 60 A to provide a baseline for testing mainstream designs. Read More...

Triaxial accelerometers are case isolated

PCB’s 354A04 and 354A05 triaxial ICP accelerometers are case isolated to ensure measurement accuracy on structures with poor grounding. Read More...

DACs work with optical modules

A pair of DACs from Analog Devices, the 12-bit AD5767 and 16-bit AD5766 reduce the footprint of wired telecommunication systems. Read More...

Bench supplies sense loads, log data

Keysight's E36300 Series of power supplies feature output lists and a datalogger for controlling outputs and storing power measurements. Read More...

PXIe generator is scalable to 44 GHz

With frequency coverage up to 44 GHz and modulation bandwidth up to 1 GHz, Keysight’s M9383A generates complex 5G waveforms. Read More...

Analog or digital: Choose your oscilloscope inputs

The MSO5 series mixed-signal oscilloscopes from Tektronix provide 4, 6, or 8 flexible 12-bit analog inputs, but you can choose between analog logic inputs. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Teardown: A19 LED bulb

EDN looks inside an LED bulb, tracing out the schematic and assessing the components of the power converter circuit. Read More...

Teardown: Platinum Tools LANSeeker TP500

Take a look inside this simple but useful tester's components. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

High-speed digital: 112 is the new 56

Never in recent memory at DesignCon has talk of a speed doubling changed so much in just one year. PAM4 is now firmly established as the modulation for 112G. Read More...

Bluetooth 5 variations complicate PHY testing

Bluetooth 5 is here and features a raft of improvements over the previous Bluetooth 4.2. Let's take a look at how the Bluetooth SIG is changing this ubiquitous and highly popular standard and how these changes will impact PHY-layer test and measurement. Read More...

Reveal die-level signals with two-pronged attack

Use a combination of simulation and measurement to confidently infer die-level signals. Read More...

Trend and track: Two useful oscilloscope diagnostic tools

An oscilloscope's trend and track functions can help you identify the source of signal problems. Trends let you log data while tracks let you demodulate signals, which can reveal hidden problems. Read More...

Design a DSP lock-in amplifier, Part 2: Design methodology

Part 2 of this series looks at the hardware and software, plus the rationale behind choosing parts. Read More...

Design a DSP lock-in amplifier, Part 1: Background

Long considered an analog or analog/digital function, lock-in amplifiers can now be implemented using software-defined radio techniques. That lets you redefine your lock-in amplifier as needed. Read More...

Three 5G test challenges to overcome

Changing standards, mmWaves, and cost of test will impact your designs. Read More...

Anechoic chambers: Design and demonstration

Boston-area engineers were treated to a presentation on chamber design and modeling, plus a look inside a working chamber. Read More...

Bluetooth 5: More speeds, more range, new RF tests

Bluetooth keeps evolving as new applications for the wireless technology arise. Bluetooth 5 adds features that will appeal to designers of IoT devices that need low power and longer range, but don't need high data rates. The new data rates mean new tests. Read More...

QSFP-DD pluggable modules boost data density

An array of high-speed, high-density solutions revolving around various small form-factor pluggable modules gained considerable traction in datacenter switch and networking devices. Thermal management strategies are critical as the industry is readying for the launch of next-generation copper and optical QSFP-DD transceivers. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

EDN tours three Silicon Valley electronics shops

EDN Sr. Technical Editor Martin Rowe and former Chief Editor Steve Leibson visited three electronics shops in Silicon Valley. Feast your eyes on these goodies. Read More...

NRZ is dead, but not everywhere

DesignCon 2018's "Case of the Closed Eye" panel looked at how far PAM4 has penetrated into NRZ's territory, but NRZ still has a place in data communications. Read More...

We become what we behold

In this first column of 2018, the publisher of ASPENCORE reflects on our journey the last three years and glimpses ASPENCORE's future. Read More...

Buck-boost module teardown & test

An enigmatic architecture, interesting parts, an incredibly basic revelation, and overall, a nice looking module. Read More...

5G reaches milestone with New Radio specification

The first release of 3GPP Release 15 is being heralded as the start of the next generation of wireless. It is, but there's much more work to do. Read More...

Why do problems come in pairs?

Computers are infamous for manifesting unrelated problems in groups of two, but now my hardware is doing it too. Read More...

Help me build an electronic load & bench supply

I’m assembling a bench supply and could use some suggestions, especially for the electronic load portion and its UI, which will be open-source. Read More...

Vinylphile? Ha! Shellac rules!

A look at the latest in consumer entertainment technology… as of 100 years ago. Read More...

How to avoid measurement mistakes

EDN's large collection of basic measurement articles shows you how to get the most from your test equipment. Read More...

Time to fill out your DesignCon dance card

Anticipating that magic time of year when engineers come together in joy, argument, and drunkenness on the hollowed ground of the Santa Clara Convention Center: DesignCon is almost here! Read More...

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