Archive for January 22, 2017

Teardown, Repair and Experiments with a Tektronix RSA 6114A Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer

In this episode Shahriar attempts a difficult repair of a Tektronix RSA real-time spectrum analyzer. This well-equipped instrument reports several error messages during startup POST including LO Unlock as well as Signal Path failures. The service manual of the instrument does not provide any detailed block diagram and no schematics. Most failures require the instrument to be serviced by the Tektronix factory. The equipment has various advanced options including 110MHz analysis bandwidth, digital modulation analysis, wide-band IF output and deep memory.

The teardown of the instrument reveals a multi-board, multi-module design. The top of the instrument contains all digital blocks and boards while the bottom of the instrument houses the RF deck assembly. The RF deck is broken into various stages such as attenuator, RF switches, first converter, second converter, IF block, reference synthesizer and LO generator. For the purposes of addressing the YIG problems the LO board is examined. The problem is traced to two components, both dividers in the complex PLL system of the LO subsystem. The LO board is fully analyzed and described and the defective components re replaced.

The repaired instrument is tested for various functionality including DPX, de-modulation and measurement of beyond 8GHz CW tones. The instrument passes all self-tests, alignments and detailed diagnostics.

Teardown, Experiments & Calibration of an Ist-Rees Laser Spectrum Analyzer

In this short episode Shahriar takes a close look at an Ist-Rees laser spectrum analyzer. This simple instrument is based on a continuously rotating diffraction mirror to detect various wavelengths. A trigger signal is used to denote the beginning of the scan and the front-panel display shows the current selected wavelength. By aligning the output signal with the trigger signal the wavelength of the input light can be measured.

After the unit teardown, the instrument is used to measure the wavelength of a semiconductor 1310nm laser. The unit is calibrated using this source and is then used to measure the infrared leakage wavelength from a green laser pointer.

Tektronix MDO4104C-6 Mixed Domain Oscilloscope (MDO4000C) Review, Teardown and Experiments

In this episode Shahriar performs a full review on the Tektronix MDO4000C series mixed domain oscilloscope, particularly model MDO4104C-6. The MDO4000C combines up to six instruments including a function generator and a built-in spectrum analyzer. Unlike any other instrument, it can synchronize RF, analog and digital channels. These correlated measurements provide insight into difficult to find problems particularly intermittent events.

This review begins with a comparison between the MDO4000B and MDO4000C instruments. The full review of the MDO4000B can be viewed here. All experiments demonstrated in the MDO4000B review are also relevant to the MDO4000C instrument.

The teardown of the instrument reveals a multi-board construction where the ADCs, FPGAs, application processor and memory are on the main system board. A complete analysis of the entire system is presented including the operation of the RF module.

In order to demonstrate the instrument’s capabilities, an encrypted frequency hopping transmitter system is analyzed. The system exhibits various problems such as high BER, low SFDR, poor phase-noise and EVM. The MDO4000C is used to perform advanced measurements across analog, digital and RF domain to track and resolve these problem. The complete block diagram of the experiment can be found here.

Teardown & Repair of an Agilent 8164A Lightwave Measurement System

In this episode Shahriar investigates a failure of an Agilent 8164A lightwave measurement system. A quick power-on test reveals the main power supply of the unit has failed and has caused catastrophic damage to some of the instrument modules.

After the teardown of the unit the power supply module is examined. Tracing the signal path from the switching transformers shows a pair of damages rectifier diodes. A new component with similar specifications is salvaged from a different power supply. After the installation, the unit can be powered on and detects all the installed modules. Most of the modules are functional, however the main tunable laser module fails alignment. The repair of that component is reserved for another video.

Teardown & Repair of a Sencore PR570 Variable Isolation Transformer & Safety Analyzer

In this short episode Shahriar performs a teardown and repair of a Sencore PR570 variable isolation transformer and safety analyzer. One of the LCD segments of the unit does does not display.

The teardown of the unit reveals a variable auto-transformer followed by an isolation transformer. The main board contains all of the circuitry for performing over-current protection, ground leakage current monitoring and other safety analysis software. The LCD problem is easily corrected by cleaning the contacts of the LCD module. A quick experiment on an Apple iPhone charger is used to verify the instrument functionality.

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