Archive for Equipment Repair

Teardown & Repair of an Agilent 53152A 46GHz Microwave Frequency Counter

In this episode Shahriar investigates a faulty Agilent 53152A 46GHz frequency counter. The instrument does not power on and shows no sign of internal voltage presence. Teardown of the instrument reveals a large PCB where all analog and digital circuity is contained. The power supply module is a module components and upon measurements shows no activity.

The power supply is a simple switching architecture with functioning input rectifier and capacitor filter. By using an oscilloscope it is clear that the power supply PWM controller attempts to start. However, the main power supply pin shows unstable voltages indicating inadequate charge retention on the rectifying capacitor. Replacing the capacitor revives the startup condition and the power supply function returns. The PWM controller and main switching transistors are also replaced with new ones. After this repair the unit powers on and passes all self-tests. The unit can successfully measure signal frequencies and power.

Teardown & Experiments with an HP 83475B 500MHz Lightwave Analyzer / Oscilloscope

In this short episode Shahriar takes a close look at an HP 83475B Lightwave Communication Analyzer / Oscilloscope which offers a 500MHz bandwidth on both the electrical and optical inputs. The sub-sampling scope has a minor issue where the CRT brightness knob has been disconnected internally.

The teardown of the scope reveals the sub-sampling ADCs, O/E front-end as well as CRT driver circuitry. The operation of the scope is demonstrated using various electrical and optical NRZ and multi-level signals.

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.

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