Archive for Equipment Review

Rohde & Schwarz FPC1500 5kHz – 3GHz Spectrum Analyzer Review, Teardown & Experiments

In this episode Shahriar reviews the newly released FPC1500 Spectrum Analyzer from Rohde & Schwarz. With this addition Rohde & Schwarz continues to aggressively target the entry level market across a wide range of instruments. These units are packed with competitive features some of which are not found in other instruments in the same class. The FPC1500 employs a 10.1″ WXGA LCD screes and a built-in tracking generator with a fully independent synthesizer which allows for offset tracking as well as a built-in VSWR bridge capable of making vector S11 measurements. These features combined with built-in WiFi, wide range of measurement capabilities and digital demodulation of ASK/FSK signals provides a competitive product.

This comprehensive review is organized as follows:

00:01:35 – R&S Spectrum Analyzer model overview
00:02:25 – Front and back panel, GUI initial look
00:06:24 – Complete teardown with digital and RF deck analysis
00:19:11 – DUT device overview and specifications
00:20:00 – DUT power on, FPC overload test, single tone, phase-noise and pre-amplifier performance
00:29:41 – TOI measurement capability and multi-tone inter-modulation performance
00:35:07 – Internal source performance, THD measurement, tracking generator and offset-tracking
00:41:55 – Scaler S21 configuration, DUT gain and bandwidth measurement
00:46:08 – DUT Noise-figure measurement and marker functions capability
00:48:57 – DUT variable gain control characterization, AM demodulation, VGA bandwidth and waveform display
00:57:39 – Digital demodulation of FSK/ASK with multilevel frequency shifting, eye-diagram display and analysis
01:01:13 – Vector S11 measurement, web interface, smith chart display and return loss characterization
01:04:45 – Spectrogram measurement, replay mode and trace storage
01:06:55 – Concluding remarks

Rohde & Schwarz ZNLE 1MHz – 6GHz Vector Network Analyzer Review, Teardown & Experiments

In this episode Shahriar reviews the Rohde & Schwarz ZNLE 1MHz – 6GHz Vector Network Analyzer. The ZNLE is the economy model of the ZNL 3-in-1 instrument. The R&S ZNLE is a two-port vector network analyzer that can be used for bidirectional measurements of S-parameters S11, S21, S12 and S22 on passive components. Ordering the RR&S ZNLE requires only two decisions: the frequency range and whether or not you need a GPIB interface. The analyzer is available with a frequency range of 1 MHz to 3 GHz (R&S ZNLE3) or 1 MHz to 6 GHz (R&S ZNLE6). The optional GPIB interface lets you connect a controller to remotely control the R&S ZNLE. As a standalone instrument, the R&S ZNLE does not require an external PC to configure the setup. You can start measuring immediately after you switch on the instrument.

The review is organized as follows:

01:12 – Model comparison and overview.
02:24 – Instrument overview and design.
06:29 – Brief teardown and internal construction.
09:31 – Electronic Calibration Unit and auto-cal procedure.
17:39 – Measurement and characterization of a tunable microwave filter.
30:47 – Measurement of a tunable phase shifter.
33:16 – Analysis and measurement of a trice coupled quad-patch antenna module.
39:10 – Performance and characterization of an ZNLE internal synthesizer.
46:31 – Mixed-mode S-Parameter measurements using the ZNLE.
49:15 – Extreme dynamic range measurements using a 0.1dB step electromechanical attenuator.
1:02:48 – Overview of additional functions.
1:04:26 – Concluding remarks.

Rohde & Schwarz RTB2004 10-Bit, 2.5GS/s MSO Oscilloscope Review, Teardown & Experiments

In this episode Shahriar reviews the Rohde & Shwarz RTB2004 10-Bit oscilloscope. With its high-resolution touch-screen, intuitive and capable GUI as well as excellent analog/digital performance this scope competes very well against other 2000 series instruments from Tektronix and Keysight. This extensive review includes instrument teardown, overview and dedicated experiments as follows:

01:17 – Model comparison and R&S scope lineup.
02:20 – Front panel, rear panel and overview.
05:01 – Instrument teardown and analysis.
13:37 – Power on and basic functions including intensity grading, XY mode.
26:29 – Multi-tone behavior, FFT and ADC performance.
33:17 – Experiment with ambient light follower: Analog and RS232 digital serial capture, triggering and analysis.
48:03 – Experiment with external DAC: Analog and I2C data capture and search using remote web interface.
57:19 – Built-in arbitrary waveform generator behavior and performance.

Carbide 3D Nomad 883 Pro CNC / PCB Engraving Machine Review & Experiments

In this episode Shahriar demonstrates the capabilities and features of the Carbide 3D Nomad 883 Pro CNC machine. The primary interest is for PCB milling and therefore the machine’s accuracy, speed and software capabilities are examined. The Nomad 883 Pro offers an Aluminum chassis design with a custom machined spindle. XYZ movements are supported by linear bearings with a resolutions of 0.0005 inches and a reputability of 0.0015 inches. Furthermore the Nomad has an accuracy of 0.005 inches. Unfortunately the spindle speed is limited to 10,000 RPM which lags behind other competing CNC machines such as the Bantam Tools Pro (formally Othermill Pro) which support up to 26,000 RPM.

In order to push the machine to its limits, a benchmark PCB design is milled with features smaller than 10 mils. The result shows that the PCB flatness is critical for achieving such fine features since the Nomad does not currently offer mapping features. All milling is done in a custom-made oil bath which must be used for FR-4 materials due to dangerous glass-dust generation during milling.

Dino-Lite USB Digital Microscopes Review and Experiments (2017 Edition)

In this episode Shahriar demonstrates a series of new Dino-Lite USB Digital Microscopes released in 2017. Several models are shown:

  • AM7515MT8A – This unit offers 700X-950X magnification with built in coaxial lighting as we as switchable bright-field and dark-field lighting options.
  • AM73915MZT – USB 3.0 interface with one touch auto-focus, EDOF & AMR. The unit also offers up to 45FPS in lower resolution mode. The magnification range is 20X – 220X.
  • AM73115MTF – USB 3.0 with Dino-Lite’s longest working distance at 1X – 70X magnification. Capable of 20X at 10.5” working distance and 70X at 4.5” working distance.
  • AM5218MZT – HDMI/DVI output connections, new edge optics, minimal latency with fast frame rate up to 60FPS in good lighting conditions.

Furthermore the Vision M1 automated platform is also presented which can be used to manipulate the XYZ position of any microscope through a PC USB connection. All other presented accessories can be found on Dino-Lite website.

The above models are used to analyze several microwave amplifier modules and components. The ASIC die of a 30GS/s Track & Hold Amplifier (THA) as well an RGB light sensors are also closely examined.

 

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