Archive for Equipment Teardown

Teardown and Repair of an Agilent E4433B ESG-D Synthesized Signal Generator


In this episode Shahriar repairs an Agilent E4433B ESG-D Synthesized Signal Generator. This 4GHz unit shows the “UNLEVEL” error for all frequencies and at all output power levels. After a close look at the system block diagram the fault is traced to the main Output RF board.

The Output RF board is equipped with various amplifiers, electronic attenuators, I/Q mixers, heterodyne paths and final PA. By using soldered SMA cables to various points in the signal path, the fault is traced to an internal amplifier chain which is likely made of a MESFET or JFET transistor. Since this part is obsolete, an RFMD GaAs hybrid amplifier is used in its place. The biasing network and matching networks need to be modified to accommodate this change. The repaired unit is then verified for functionality and performance by measuring a QAM constellation output signal.

Review, Comparison and Teardown of Siglent SDG5162 and Rigol DG4162 Arbitrary Waveform Generators


In this episode Shahriar compares the performance and features of the Siglent SDG5162 and Rigol DG4162 Arbitrary Waveform Generators. Siglent has recently opened a new North America office which would certainly help them bring their instruments to the US more quickly and provide better local customer and sale support.

The Siglent SDG5000 teardown is presented. Aside from various GUI features of these two units, the THD, phase noise and maximum output power of each unit is measured. The ability of the Siglent generator to produce 12ns pulse width independent of the output frequency is also presented with some practical applications. Finally the Easy Wave application us is used to generate some custom waveforms.

Teardown, Analysis and Repair of an HP/Agilent 5347A 20GHz Frequency Counter and Power Meter


In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at an HP/Agilent 5347A 20GHz Frequency Counter and Power Meter. This defective unit does not provide any frequency information from Input 2 which is rated to operate up to 20GHz. Before the teardown and repair attempts, the principle operation of the instrument is reviewed.

The properties of a Step Recovery Diode (SRD) is presented along with the theory and practical aspects of generating a frequency comb. The heterodyne architecture of the frequency counter is explained in detail with the mechanism of detection and calculation of the input frequency.

During the teardown of the unit the synthesizer board, motherboard, power meter reference board and the main RF assembly are shown. The schematic of the synthesizer board and the RF board are also described. The defective component is identified and examined under the microscope. The slides for this episode can be found here.

Agilent 53131A Universal Counter Upgrade OPT-030 Analysis and Experiments


In this episode, Shahriar upgrades an Agilent 53131A Universal Counter with the OPT-030 which extends its frequency range from 225MHz to 3GHz. The upgrade kit is a replica PCB intended to emulate the behavior of the original Agilent branded option.

The PCB is examined carefully with attention to microwave layout techniques along the signal path. The datasheet of all the parts are reviewed and the reverse-engineered block diagram of the PCB is presented. The expected behavior of the PCB is then measured in both small-signal and large-signal operation using an active 3GHz probe. The PCB is then installed inside the unit and the functionality of the instrument is verified within its specifications. All the documents presented in the video can be found here.

Teardown and Repair of an Agilent E4421A Synthesized Signal Generator


In this episode Shahriar repairs an Agilent E4421A synthesized signal generator purchased from eBay. The unit displays the error messages “UNLOCK” and “UNLEVEL”. The cause of failure is investigated and traced. Alongside the repair efforts, the internal construction and components of the synthesizer are also presented. A short tutorial on the advantages and disadvantages of using a Darlington transistor is also presented as well as the schematic of a simple Darlington based voltage regulator. The documents for this tutorial can be found here.