In this episode Shahriar explores the cause of failure of an Agilent E4405B ESA 13.5GHz spectrum analyzer. In a previous episode, an E4407B version of the ESA was repaired and upgraded which is helpful in debugging and analyzing this instrument. The instrument displays LO Unlock which is a familiar problem. After an overview of the system block diagram, the LO signal path is traced and analyzed for problems.
After some investigation, the problem appears to be identical to the E4407B model repaired before! The Hittite (Analog Devices) divide-by-4 static divider unit has failed and does not divide correctly at high frequencies. The component is replaced which restores the instrument’s functionality.
The LCD screen of the unit is also very dim. The CCFL tube and the inverter are replaced with an LED back light instead. The unit then produces a bright and vibrant graphs and text. The performance of the instrument is verified with a Keysight MXG signal generator.
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 episode Shahriar investigates a faulty Agilent 53152A 46GHz frequency counter. The instrument does not power on and shows no sign of internal voltage presence. Teardown of the instrument reveals a large PCB where all analog and digital circuity is contained. The power supply module is a module components and upon measurements shows no activity.
The power supply is a simple switching architecture with functioning input rectifier and capacitor filter. By using an oscilloscope it is clear that the power supply PWM controller attempts to start. However, the main power supply pin shows unstable voltages indicating inadequate charge retention on the rectifying capacitor. Replacing the capacitor revives the startup condition and the power supply function returns. The PWM controller and main switching transistors are also replaced with new ones. After this repair the unit powers on and passes all self-tests. The unit can successfully measure signal frequencies and power.
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.