Archive for Teardown

Rohde & Schwarz 4.0GHz Portable Spectrum Rider FPH Review, Teardown & Experiments

In this episode Shahriar reviews the Rohde & Schwarz 4.0GHz Spectrum Rider FPH. The new design of the FPH series is aimed for ease of use in outdoor situations as well as offering several software features for data collection, analysis and debugging of standard wireless communication protocols. The review is organized as follows:

1:10 – Model comparison of R&S portable spectrum analyzers.
5:44 – Instrument hardware overview and GUI characteristics.
22:24 – Using the FPH Spectrum Rider to analyze unknown wireless signals including a multi-tone, QPSK modulated signal, AM/FM demodulation analysis and frequency hopping.
46:46 – FPH teardown and analysis.
55:33 – Overview of the Instrument View remote connection software.
57:42 – Concluding remarks.

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.

Keysight MXA Revision-B Signal Analyzer / Spectrum Analyzer Review, Analysis & Experiments

In this episode Shahriar reviews the long awaited Keysight MXA Signal Analyzer (N9020B). The new X-Series Spectrum Analyzers from Keysight offer an entirely re-designed GUI interface which supports multiple tabs as well as multi-touch interaction. The review is organized as follows:

1:07 –   Model comparison and overview of x-series spectrum analyzers.
7:08 –   Instrument physical overview.
11:49 – New GUI overview and demonstrations.
22:44 – Instrument block diagrams and analysis.
28:46 – Brief look inside the MXA spectrum analyzer.
32:53 – Back-scattering communication experiment block diagram and description.
37:16 – Phase noise characterization of doubler and amplifier.
51:54 – Complete back-scattering experiment measurements and analysis.
1:04:45 – Analysis of broadband modulated signals by using the S-Series scope and MXA Signal analyzer at the same time.
1:13:56 – Concluding remarks.

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 & Analysis of Microwave (26.5GHz) Electro-Mechanical Step Attenuators

In this short episode Shahriar takes a close look at a pair of Hewlett Packard microwave electro-mechanical step attenuators operating up to 26.5GHz. Mechanical attenuators offer excellent repeatability, low insertion loss and nearly limitless linearity. The teardown reveals that the construction of both modules is very similar on the microwave path. In fact, the lower-frequency model still uses the same attenuator components. The newer model employs electronic control circuity while the older generation attenuator uses purely mechanically controlled DC path. Both models use a solenoid style actuators for step attenuation control.

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