Tag Archive for Review

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.

Review & Experiments of the Signal Hound BB60C Spectrum Analyzer & TG124A Tracking Generator


In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at the Signal Hound Real-Time Spectrum Analyzer (BB60C) and Tracking Generator (USB-TG124A). In order to evaluate the performance of these units a few experiments have been setup. The performance of the Signal Hound unit is compared with the Tektronix RSA306.

A set of FHSS 900MHz long-range radios are used in the first experiment. The frequency hopping behavior, channelization, bandwidth and transmit powers are all captured using the BB60C. Furthermore, the recording capability and zero-span modes are used for frequency demodulation. The tracking generator (USB-124A) is then used to measure the performance of a band-pass microwave filter as well as a high-gain amplifier (40dB) gain. The free-space performance of the TekBox EMC Probe Set is also measured using the tracking generator.

Keithley 2460 Source Measure Unit (SMU) Review, Teardown and Experiments

Keithley 2460

In this episode Shahriar reviews the new Keithley 2460 Source Measure Unit (SMU). The Keithley 2460 shares all the touchscreen GUI advancements of the 2450 SMU and offers up to 100W of power in full four-quadrant operation. The combination of the 2450 and 2460 SMUs from Keithley offer a wide range of applications.

After a brief teardown of the instrument, several experiments are devised to demonstrate the TSP scripting as well as KickStart software capabilities. The experiments include LED failure modes, Geiger counter setup, Op-amp based voltage regulator characterization, temperature controller, non-linear transconductance emulation and data collection application.

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