In this episode Shahriar goes over the operation and principle theory behind Lock-in Amplifiers. The SRS SR530 is one of the most iconic lock-in amplifiers ever made and since it offers two channels it can be used to perform very interesting experiments across many domains. After reviewing the block diagram and equations governing the theory of operation, a brief instrument teardown is presented.
Two unique and interesting experiments are also presented. In the first experiment the instrument is used to measure the speed of light. This is accomplished by measuring the wavelength of sound at 20kHz using a pair of speakers and a function generator. The distance between the speakers can be carefully adjusted and the relative signal strength from each lock-in channel is measured and thus the wavelength can also be measured.
In the second experiment the sensitivity of a red LED to blue laser light is measured. Due to the semiconductor composition of the red LED as well as its red plastic casing, the responsibility of the LED to blue light is extremely low. A chopper is therefore used to lock the light to the lock-in amplifier’s reference input. The measured induced current is measured down to very low optical level in the order of hundreds of fempto (10^-15) amps.
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.
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.
In this episode Shahriar explores the principle operation of automotive FMCW radars. Thanks to a donated automotive radar module, various components of the system can be examined and explored. The PCB reveals three die-on-PCB ASICs responsible for generating and receiving 77GHz FMCW signals coupled to a 2D array of antennas. Several microwave components such as rat-race couplers and branchline couplers can also be observed. PCB rulers from SV1AFN Design Lab also show these microwave components at much lower frequencies. Two other ICs are used for ramp generation and PLL as well as a multi-input LNA/PGA/AAF with 12-bit ADC for IF processing. All components are examined under the microscope and the frequency of operation is calculated by measuring the branchline coupler’s dimensions.
Finally a simple Doppler effect radar is constructed by using a doubler, power divider, mixer and a pair of Vivaldi horn antennas. The Doppler effect can be observed by moving an object in front of the antenna pair.
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.
The Signal Path (TSP) is an electrical engineering video blog for industry professionals, students and hobbyists. TSP is a non-for-profit website dedicated to provide free education spanning a wide range of electrical engineering topics. Equipment reviews, tutorials and repair videos are posted regularly.