Tag Archive for Review

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


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)

Rigol DSA875-TG 9kHz – 7.5GHz Spectrum Analyzer & Tracking Generator Review, Teardown & Experiments


In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at the top-of-the-line Rigol DSA875-TG 7.5GHz Spectrum Analyzer. This unit which, offers a built in tracking generator for the full frequency range, has a portable form-factor. I offers the following performance:

  • 9 kHz to 7.5 GHz Frequency Range
  • Typical -161 dBm Displayed Average Noise Level (DANL) normalized to 1 Hz
  • -98 dBc/Hz @10 kHz offset Phase Noise
  • Total Amplitude Uncertainty <0.8 dB
  • 10 Hz Minimum Resolution Bandwidth (RBW)

The unit is tested against linearity specification as well as overload conditions. The phase noise of the unit is also verified with an external Keysight synthesizer. The instrument is used to measure OIP3, P1dB input and output matching of various amplifiers. The tracking generator is also used to measure gain and switching behavior of a WiFi extender module. The built-in functions are used to measure OBW, channel power, ACP and THD. The teardown of the unit is also presented showing excellent build quality and manufacturing.

National Instruments VirtualBench Review, Teardown & Experiments


In this episode Shahriar gets a hold of a National Instruments VirtualBench! This instrument combines a mixed-signal oscilloscope, function generator, digital multimeter, programmable power supply and digital I/Os in one compact and portable unit. The teardown of the unit reveals a two-board construction with a core single processor which handles all instrument functionality simultaneously.

The unit software (which is embedded inside the instrument memory) is examined in detaile before performing any experiments. Using the VirtualBench, a Si5351 multi-synthesizer clock generator IC is characterized including output signal analyses and I2C decoding. Next by using the function generator and oscilloscope the response of a band-pass 15MHz filter is measured.

Keithley DMM7510 7.5-Digit Multimeter Review, Teardown & Experiments


In this episode Shahriar takes a detailed look at the new Keithley DMM7510 7.5-Digit Multimeter. Boasting Keithley’s touchscreen GUI interface, 100mV, 1-Ohm and 10uA ranges makes this multimeter a precision instrument for a variety of applications. The multimeter is also capable of 1MS/s digitization functionality.

The teardown of the unit reveals the complex multi-board construction and analog board design intricacies. After a brief performance verification and GUI overview the multimeter is used in several experiments including measuring the conductivity of a flame, digitizing a large dynamic range multi-tone signal and DC-DC converter noise analysis. Furthermore, the scripting capability of the unit is employed to estimate the location of a short in an Ethernet cable and measure the dielectric constant of a parallel plate capacitor.

Siglent SDM3055A 5.5-Digit Multimeter Review, Teardown & Experiments


In this episode Shahriar reviews the Siglent SDM3055A 5.5-Digit Multimeter. After a brief look at the instrument’s datasheet, a full teardown is presented. The instrument utilizes a two-board design and a large LCD screen. The SDM3055A provides a comprehensive set of measurements including capacitance as well as various graphing capabilities including histogram, trend and bar graphs. USB and LAN connections are standard and a USB-GPIB can also be purchased. The performance of the instrument is verified through experiments with various functions and setups.

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