Teardown, Repair & Calibration of a Fluke PM6680B 225MHz High Resolution Frequency Counter

PM6680B

In this episode Shahriar repairs a Fluke PM6680B 225MHz High Resolution Frequency Counter. This unit which is equipped with a soft power button, does not power on. The standby LED is dimly lit and a high-frequency noise is emitted from the unit. This points to a switching power supply failure. The power supply is a simple fly-back converter with three outputs (5V, 18V, -8V). The 5V output is regulated while the other two outputs are single diode rectified.

The fault is traced to a bad precision reference IC which is replaced. The performance of the power supply is verified and the instrument powers on. An OCXO is used to calibrate the 10MHz reference crystal of the unit after the repair is completed.

Teardown, Repair & Calibration of a Valhalla 2701C Programmable Precision DC Voltage Standard

2701C

In this episode Shahriar examines a faulty Valhalla 2701C Programmable Precision DC Reference instrument. Valhalla Scientific’s 2701C Programmable Precision DC Voltage Calibrator delivers ultra-precision, ultra-stable DC voltage from 100 nanovolts to 1200 volts. This unit does not have a working front-panel LCD screen. Luckily, that problem is resolved very quickly.

The internal build and operation of the unit is briefly examined and the instrument is calibrated using a Keithley DMM7510 7.5-digit multimeter. It is possible to upgrade this unit to a more stable and accurate reference voltage generator or to add the reference current capability to it.

FLIR MR160 Thermal Imaging & Moisture Meter Review, Teardown & Experiments

MR160

In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at the FLIR MR160 Thermal Imaging and Moisture Meter. Featuring Infrared Guided Measurement (IGM) technology powered by a FLIR Lepton® thermal imaging sensor, MR160 helps you quickly see temperature patterns that point to potential hidden moisture so you know right where to place the meter probe to capture accurate readings.

After an overview of the camera functions a full teardown of the instrument is presented. The FLIR MR160 is based on a single PIC32 processor with built-in capacitance measurement capability. The MR160 is then used to detect a moisture spot on a floor tiling. The presence of moisture is then verified with both the pin-less and pin-based moisture measurement capability of the MR160. Finally, the MR160 is also used to measure temperature variation across a bank of resistors.

Keysight EXA Signal Analyzer / Spectrum Analyzer Review, Teardown & Experiments

EXA_N9010A

In this episode Shahriar reviews the Keysight EXA Signal Analyzer / Spectrum Analyzer (N9010A). The X-Series Signal Analyzers and Spectrum Analyzers from Keysight are compared against each other. The EXA is a general purpose spectrum analyzer with extensive applications.

The full instrument block diagram is presented with focus on various signal paths and frequency planning. Several of internal modules (RF Front-End, Digital Baseband Processor and LO Synthesizer) are also presented and compared with the block diagram. In order to examine the instrument’s capabilities in a real-world situation, a complete superheterodyne wireless transceiver with a sliding-IF receiver is designed and examined. Each component in the system (LNA, mixer, PLL, etc.) is individually characterized by using the EXA Signal Analyzer. The complete system measurements are also presented.

Various chapters in the video can be found at the following time marks:

  • Introduction (0:08)
  • X-Series model comparison (0:50)
  • EXA block diagrams and principle of operation (4:27)
  • Various board teardown and examination (20:39)
  • Instrument front/back panel overview (37:05)
  • Wireless experiment setup description (43:22)
  • Doubler characterization with EXG as the tracking generator (45:31)
  • LNA and mixer gain and NF by using Noise Figure personality (57:31)
  • Signal-Hound VSG25A I/Q modulator characterization, OBW, ACPR, TOI (1:08:57)
  • PLL characterization with Phase Noise personality (1:19:49)
  • Full transmitter measurement with Keysight VSA (1:26:08)
  • Full wireless link characterization with Keysight VSA (1:30:28)
  • Concluding remarks (1:37:21)

Tutorial on the Theory, Design and Characterization of a CMOS Transimpedance Amplifier

TIA

In this episode, Shahriar and Shayan discuss the design and characterization of a deceptively simple CMOS inverter-based transimpedance amplifier. The the large and small signal behavior of the CMOS inverter is discussed and measured using the Keithley 2450 and 2460 source meters. The transient response is also measured using a Keysight MSO-S series oscilloscope.

The small signal gain of the circuit is calculated from small signal parameters which are extracted directly by measuring the devices I/V characteristics. The NMOS/PMOS devices used are from an ADL1105 quad-discrete transistor IC. Through the use of a shunt-shunt feedback, the CMOS amplifiers is converted to a transimpedance amplifier which is capable of amplifying the current from a photo-detector diode by a gain of 30kV/A. The feedback theory is used to calculate the gain of the amplifier. The slides for this tutorial can be downloaded here.

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