Archive for Equipment Repair

Teardown, Repair & Calibration of a Keithley 2400 Source Measure Unit (SMU)

In this short episode Shahriar investigates the failure cause of a Keithley 2400 SMU. The unit powers on and responds to controls however produces no output signal. Further examination reveals that the VFD display shows no activity when the output is enabled; normally the measured output voltage and current are displayed. This failure points to a digital problem, potentially a failure in the analog board FPGA.

Upon close inspection the FPGA clocking circuitry appears to have a failed solder-joint. A quick re-flow of the affected part corrects the problem and the unit reports the appropriate readings. The unit is then upgraded to the latest firmware and calibrated using a Keithley 7510 DMM.

Teardown & Repair of a BK Precision 879B Handheld LCR Meter

In this short episode Shahriar repairs a more affordable instrument! This BK Precision LCR meter does not power up despite looking almost new. The teardown of the unit reveals several damaged components. Without any schematic and obscure part numbers some circuit configurations have to be reverse engineered. One of the main failed components is a TI DC-DC converter IC whose datahseet is examined during the repair.

The damaged components are replaced and the unit powers on normally. The performance of the instrument is verified using a HP LCR meter. The demonstrated Soldering Iron Stand can be found here.

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 & 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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