Archive for Equipment Review

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.

 

Siglent SSA3032X 9kHz – 3.2GHz Spectrum Analyzer / TG Review, Teardown & Experiment

In this episode Shahriar presents a full teardown, analysis and review of the Siglent SSA3000X Series Spectrum Analyzer. Siglent’s SSA3000X family of spectrum analyzers offer a frequency range of 9 KHz to 2.1 GHz / 3.2 GHz. With their light weight, small size, and friendly user interface, the SSA3000s present a bright easy to read display, powerful and reliable automatic measurements, and plenty of impressive features. Applications are many, but include research and development, education, production, maintenance, and many more.

The review is organized as follows:

00:41 – Model comparison and overview.
03:56 – Full teardown and analysis of internal hardware.
17:38 – Initial performance assessment including tracking generator behavior.
29:50 – Antenna and diplexer measurements and characterization.
50:00 – Built-in applications overview and measurement personalities.
56:58 – PC interface software performance and overview.

Overview of the Tektronix MSO58 8-Channel 6.25GS/s 2GHz Mixed-Signal Oscilloscope

In this short episode Shahriar demonstrates an overview of the new Tektronix MSO58 8-Channel 6.25GS/s 2GHz Mixed-Signal Oscilloscope with up to 64-Bits of digital channels. The scope features independent ADC, data acquisition and memory per channel as well as FlexChannel architecture which allows each channel to act as either a 2GHz analog channel or an 8-Bit digital channel. The scope also features a brand new GUI interface on an HD 15.6″ display with significant performance enhancement and touch interface optimizations. A full review of the instrument will be provided in the future.

Tektronix RSA607A Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer Review, Teardown & Experiments

In this episode Shahriar reviews the Tektronix RSA607A real-time spectrum analyzer which operates from 9kHz to 7.5GHz. The instrument has a 40MHz wide analysis window with a DANL of -160dBm. The built-in tracking generator is capable of measuring return loss, cable loss and DTF measurements without a need for an external coupler. This review is organized as follows:

01:03 – Model comparison and overview.
03:25 – Front & rear panel overview.
05:31 – Complete unit teardown & examination.
16:33 – Reverse engineering and experiments with a drone remote control transmitter.
39:27 – Characterizing and experimenting with an ISM band diplexer.
47:29 – Return loss measurements of a tunable band-pass filter.
53:23 – Concluding remarks.

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