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

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

01 February 2016

USB Type-C Cable Detection

The four possible states of connection for a USB Type-C cable
Figure 1: The four possible states of
connection for a USB Type-C cable
Having examined some of the basics regarding the USB Type-C connector and the Power Delivery 2.0 specification that complements the Type-C spec itself, we'll turn our attention to the topic of cable detection. The Type-C connector is reversible, which is to say there are four ways a cable can be connected between upstream- and downstream-facing ports (Figure 1). Not only that, but there are different types of Type-C cables. So how do the devices discern what's between them?

05 January 2016

A Look at USB Type-C and Power Delivery

The USB Type-C connector alongside its Micro-B counterpart
Figure 1: The USB Type-C
connector alongside its
Micro-B counterpart
With USB 3.1, the latest iteration of the serial-data protocol, comes a new smaller and universal connector: USB Type-C, the USB-IF's answer to Apple's Lightning connector (Figure 1). Even Apple itself has adopted USB Type-C for its latest MacBooks, a rare show of support from Cupertino for an open standard. Like Lightning, USB Type-C is reversible, but it offers other interesting features, such as the ability to handle other protocols using "alternate modes." It also incorporates the new USB Power Delivery specification for improved power-supply capabilities over USB.

10 December 2015

Using Your Oscilloscope's X-Y Display

Shown are some common Lissajous patterns in an X-Y display
Figure 1: Shown are some common
Lissajous patterns in an X-Y display
If you're fortunate enough to own an oscilloscope with X-Y display capabilities, you have a valuable tool at your disposal. From classic Lissajous patterns to state transition diagrams for today's quadrature communication systems, X-Y plots give us a window of the functional relationships between two waveforms.

30 November 2015

Follow The Bouncing Signal

Trend plotting is a handy tool for discerning frequency-hopping patterns
Figure 1: Trend plotting is a handy tool
for discerning frequency-hopping
patterns
Signal jamming, noise generation/interference, signal interception, and other malicious RF-related activities have long been part and parcel of the electronic warfare arena. One countermeasure that is widely deployed is frequency hopping spread-spectrum (FHSS) transmission, or rapid and pseudo-random jumps of the carrier frequency in an effort to confound would-be jammers. FHSS transmission poses test and measurement challenges that we'll outline below.

18 November 2015

Analyzing RADAR Signals with Demodulation

An example of a radar signal with 1-GHz RF carrier
Figure 1: An example of a radar
signal with 1-GHz RF carrier
In the electronic warfare milieu, one of the most common RF applications is that of radar systems. Radar, which uses RF energy to determine the range, angle, and/or velocity of objects, can be used for detection of aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain, among other things. An oscilloscope's demodulation math function is very helpful in analysis of radar signals, so let's look at a couple of examples of how to approach such measurements.

02 November 2015

Video: The Many Varieties of Oscilloscope Probes

Got a minute (OK, a minute and a half)? Take a look at this quick tutorial video that takes you through the four basic types of probes and what they're used for:


If this little thumbnail sketch whetted your appetite for more info on oscilloscope probes, we've got you covered with a series of popular blog posts on the topic:









21 October 2015

Analyzing Pulse-Width Modulation Signals

Persistence display provides a quick-and-dirty view of a PWM signal
Figure 1: Persistence display provides
a quick-and-dirty view of a PWM signal
Pulse-width modulation (PWM), a favorite technique for achieving analog ends through digital means, finds application in all kinds of end systems. Motor control might be the number-one application, but PWM turns up in telecommunications, audio systems and amplifiers, and any number of other uses. Armed with a capable oscilloscope, one can thoroughly analyze and understand the behavior of PWM circuits.