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TSP #202 - A Uniquely Complicated Nixie Tube Clock: HP 5245L Electronic Counter & ERA EasySynth++

29.8K views December 12, 2021 12:24 AM

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In this episode Shahriar repairs and analyzes two instruments. An HP 5245L Electronic Counter which uses 1960's technology to achieve some incredible performance. The HP unit uses eight beautiful nixie tubes as its main numeric display. The instrument requires repair, calibration and some upgrades to prepare it for use as a nixie tube clock! The source of the clock is an ERA Instruments EasySynth++ which is a high performance, open-source synthesizer up to 20GHz:

The architecture and teardown of the EasySynth++ is also presented. The two instruments are combined with some custom scripts to create the world's (?) most complicated nixie tube clock.

TNP #11 - Teardown & Analysis of a 75-110GHz (W-Band) Waveguide mm-Wave Balanced Mixer Module

17.5K views November 13, 2021 11:03 PM

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In this episode Shahriar investigates the mysteries of a W-Band fundamental LO balanced mixer module based on GaAs Schottky Barrier Diodes. The mixer offers a very high IF bandwidth of 35GHz and LO driver requirements of 13dBm between 75-110GHz.
The teardown reveals the waveguide to coaxial transitions as well as the interface to the pair of Schottky diodes. High resolution microscope analysis provides a detailed view of the precise machined waveguide ports.​​​

TSP #201 - Rohde-Schwarz NGU401 500kS/s Source Measure Unit Review, Teardown & Experiments

14.8K views November 7, 2021 10:23 PM

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In this episode Shahriar reviews the latest edition to the R&S SMU family, the NGU401.

This instrument offer four-quadrant operation, 60W total output power, 6.5 digit resolution as well as 500kS/s digitizers on both voltage and current readbacks. The instrument also offers a verity of output control and arbitrary waveform generation. This review is organized as follows:

00:00 - Introductions
00:50 - Front & back panels, interfaces, design
02:40 - Detailed teardown & architectural analysis
08:36 - Pooch!
08:45 - USB Power Bank experiment, NGU GUI design, primary capabilities
13:20 - Multi-quadrant operation, sink/source conditions
15:49 - High-speed sampling, auto-ranging and transient detection
18:29 - Deep-sleep battery drain detection of Fluke 233, graphical viewer, fast logging
22:35 - Characterizing a DC/DC converter, transient output current
27:19 - High output capacitance mode, oscillation detection
29:45 - Current/voltage priority modes
30:40 - Fast arbitrary waveform generation,
34:20 - Additional functions, OVP, OCP, OPP, Modulation Input, trigger IOs, slew control, fast transient
36:18 - Concluding remarks​​​

TNP #10 - Teardown & Experiments with a Mystery Vintage (1950) Hewlett-Packard Instrument

20.1K views October 17, 2021 9:39 PM

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In this episode Shahriar takes a look at an unusual vintage HP instrument from the 1950s. The unit has a vacuum-tube-like core with a pair of banana plug interface.
After restoration, the instrument principle of operation, teardown and schematics are presented. Several experiments demonstrate the use-case as well as the correct operation of the unit.​​​

TNP #9 - Teardown & Analysis of an Electronic COVID-19 Home Test Kit (ellume)

26.9K views October 9, 2021 9:01 PM

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In this episode Shahriar takes a look at a pair of COVID-19 electronic home kits. These Bluetooth enables devices are manufactured by ellume. Both of these tests had produced false-positive results. The optical readout mechanism of the devices are examined as well as the general design of the unit.

This video is not about which COVID-19 home test kit you should purchase. This is an exploration and analysis of this particular device for educational purposes only. For all medical advice regarding COVID-19, please contact your doctor.

TSP #200 - Carvera (Makera) 4-Axis CNC Machine with Automatic Leveling, Tool Changer & Laser Review

24.8K views October 3, 2021 11:34 PM

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In this episode Shahriar reviews an ambitious new CNC machine currently offered on Kickstarter. The machine is equipped with automatic tool changer, automatic probing & leveling, built-in dust collection, optional fourth axis and integrated laser engrave module. The review of the pre-production model focuses on the units capabilities along with high-precision PCB experiments. You can access the Kickstarted campaign here:

This review is organized as follows:

00:00 - Introductions and expectations
01:22 - Machine overview, constriction, tablet holder, work area
03:23 - Automatic tool changer design & operation
04:30 - Automatic probing and leveling system
06:11 - Movement mechanism, precision & accuracy, built-in laser, z-axis
09:37 - Optional fourth axis module
10:23 - Included accessories, bit changer tool, collet tool
10:56 - Built-in dust collector
11:33 - CNC interface software, G-code, features & work flow
15:03 - High precision measurement of the x-axis accuracy & repeatability
17:34 - 3.5GHz filter design from Gerber to G-Code, CNC operation
21:18 - Filter PCB and high precision examples after CNC, microscope view
23:23 - Filter measurements & comparison with simulation
24:27 - Homemade oil-bath for FR4 CNC dust protection
24:56 - Manufacture example of PCB with solder-mask
25:38 - Laser engraving example of photo-realistic sample
26:32 - Automatic level & laser engraving of soft materials
27:55 - Conclusions & future plans​​​

TSP #199 - Digilent Analog Discovery Pro 3000 Series (ADP3450) Review, Teardown & Experiments

22.8K views September 26, 2021 3:19 PM

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In this episode Shahriar reviews the Analog Discovery Pro 3000 Series, particular the ADP3450 model. The instrument offers a combination of mixed signal oscilloscope and dual-channel arbitrary waveform generator. The WaveForms free software can be used to perform a wide range of measurements. You can find more information about this product at:

The review is organized at follows:

00:00 - Introductions
00:35 - Instrument overview, functions, specifications and design
04:53 - Detailed teardown and architecture overview
11:17 - WaveForms software, oscilloscope capabilities, catching glitches, trigger functions
19:18 - Mixed-Signal measurements, logic analyzer, cross-domain triggering
22:19 - Serial decode, digital trigger, correlated measurements
24:03 - Waveform generation, synchronized signals, modulations, sweeps, FFT, 3D spectrogram
28:46 - Network analyzer functionality, measuring linearity and frequency response of DUT
33:42 - Impedance analyzer functionality, measuring complex impedance across frequency
36:29 - Additional capabilities, tracer, scripting, etc.
37:39 - Concluding remarks

TNP #8 - Teardown & Detailed Analysis of the U2001A 6GHz Agilent USB Power Sensor

17.4K views September 5, 2021 2:23 PM

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In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at the design and architecture of an Agilent USB Power Sensor. The principle operation of different power detectors is presented alongside various block diagrams and schematics. The teardown of the power sensor reveals the system components from the integrated sensor MMIC to the ADI BlackFin DSP core. The detector is further examined under the microscope and the dual-diode detector design is presented.​​​

TNP #7 - Ynvisible Electrochromic Ultra-low Power Segmented Display Technology

15.3K views August 21, 2021 4:22 PM

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In this episode Shahriar takes a look at an ultra-low power display technology. The Ynvisible Segment Display is an electrochromic display. It is categorized as a reflective display, meaning that it reflects ambient light instead of using a backlight. All layers are screen printed on a plastic substrate.

The display stack consists of organic layers including a plastic substrate, an electrochromic material, an electrolyte, and an electrode for each segment. Additional layers such as graphical overlays and circuits may be added if required.

You can find more information about this display technology at:​​​

TNP #6 - Teardown & Analysis of a Keysight (Agilent) 9GHz Electronic Calibration Module (ECal)

11.7K views August 14, 2021 9:45 PM

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In this episode Shahriar analyzes the principle operation of an Electronics Calibration Module also known as ECal. This unit operates up to 9GHz and is one of the earlier models produces by Agilent. The block diagram of the unit is presented as well as a detailed teardown of the RF core assembly. The various built-in standards can be clearly seen as well as the solid-state switch networks which connects them to the network analyzer ports.​​​

TNP #5 - Teardown & Analysis of Damaged Anritsu K250 40GHz & SHF 123B 65GHz Bias-T Blocks

11.8K views August 14, 2021 3:38 PM

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In this episode Shahriar takes a look at some mailbag RF components. The set of Anritsu Bias-T blocks all have damaged DC paths. The teardown of the Bias-T shows its internal construction and assembly procedure. The SHF Bias-T offers a much more sophisticated and broadband response. A single Bias-T has survived with only a broken DC connector which is repaired and measured.​​​

TSP #198 - Teardown, Repair & Analysis of an Anritsu MG3700A 6GHz Vector Signal Generator (Part 1)

15.3K views August 8, 2021 5:14 PM

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In this episode Shahriar attempts to repair an Anritsu MG3700A Vector Signal Generator. The instrument does not fully power on and suffers from several problems. The digital IF board as well as the main computer are presented. The power-on fault is traced to a faulty fuse on the 5V power supply which feeds the main CPU board. A new fuse enables the instrument to fully boot.

The unit also exhibits a failure for all signals above 3GHz. The instrument is equipped with a super hetrodyne mixer board which covers 3GHz - 6GHz output range. This RF board is examined and explored in details alongside the block diagram of the unit. The fault is traced to a unidentifiable component (potentially PIN diode switches). Bypassing these components allows the instrument to generate sufficient power. However, the repair must stop here for now until these parts can be identified.​​​