You need to test, we're here to help.

You need to test, we're here to help.

25 June 2015

Don't Leave Oscilloscope Performance on the Table

Figure 1: In this screenshot, four signals are displayed
on a single grid. Each signal is only using
64 counts of its ADC, which amounts to 6-bit resolution.
As test and measurement companies add to their products' capabilities, digital oscilloscopes serve a larger and more sophisticated set of measurements as vendors have added to their capabilities. And even though many of those additions come at the behest of the user community, many oscilloscope users don't even scratch the surface of what their instrument can do.

16 June 2015

Device Analysis in Switch-Mode Power Supplies

Figure 1: Setup for analysis of switching losses
in a switch-mode power supply's MOSFET
Our survey of testing switch-mode AC-DC power supplies started by looking at the variety of measurements one might make on these devices and why differential probes and amplifiers are often the best choice over passive probes. Subsequently, we examined the key sources of error in power-supply measurements and how to minimize them. Now it's time to start taking some measurements with an eye toward device analysis, particularly the switching transistor in a switch-mode supply.

11 June 2015

Reducing Errors in Switch-Mode Power Supply Measurements

Figure 1: Skew between voltage and current probes
results in power measurement errors
Almost all portable electronic devices, and lots of non-portables, come with switch-mode power supplies. These range from common "wall warts" to the larger brick-sized supplies that power a laptop. We've taken a look at the typical measurements one might make on a switching power supply and at why single-ended measurement techniques should take a back seat to differential approaches. Now, let's see what steps we can take to ensure that our measurements on power supplies are accurate.

09 June 2015

Testing Techniques For Switch-Mode Power Supplies

A simplified schematic of a switch-mode power supply circuit
Figure 1: A simplified schematic of
a switch-mode power supply circuit
On its journey from wall socket to the device being powered, power typically passes through a switch-mode power supply, where the AC signal is rectified into DC before it reaches the device. After that, the DC signal (often 5 V) is passed on to DC-DC converters on the device's PC board for feeding various voltages to branches of the device's power-delivery network. Let's look at some of the measurement techniques and considerations relative to testing switch-mode power supplies.

05 June 2015

Testing Challenges in Motor Drive Systems (Part III)

Figure 1: An example of PWM for
a single power semiconductor
As noted in an earlier post, variable-frequency motor drives (VFDs) display a good amount of variation in terms of architectures and topologies. Another differentiator between VFDs is their application of pulse-width modulation (PWM) techniques.

28 May 2015

The History of Jitter (Part V)

Applying PLLs for clock-data recovery is not unlike tapping your feet to the beat of music
Figure 1: Applying PLLs for clock-data recovery is not
unlike tapping your feet to the beat of music
A milestone in the history of jitter measurement came in the 1990s with receivers that could reveal the slowly varying component of jitter that became evident in time-interval error (TIE) tracks. That led to the advent of using phase-locked loops (PLLs) for clock-data recovery. In turn, PLLs opened new horizons in jitter analysis.

19 May 2015

The History of Jitter (Part IV)

An example of a time-interval error track
Figure 1: An example of a time-interval error track
In the previous installment in this series on the history of jitter, we'd reached the cusp of the new millennium. The in-vogue methodology for jitter analysis of the day was using edge crossing-point data in the form of a histogram and fitting Gaussian functions to the tails of the plot. But tail fitting, as we well know, isn't for the faint of heart. How would test methodologies move forward to surmount that hurdle?