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

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

28 March 2013

Zero in on Power Analysis

Given the emphasis on "green" initiatives, in which anything and everything is touted as "energy efficient," there's been lots of chatter about low-power design. Naturally, much attention is focused on switched-mode power supplies, power devices, and power-conversion circuitry of all kinds. This is where a lot of power efficiency is either lost or gained, depending on how carefully you approach the design task. You know, a milliohm here, a milliohm there, and pretty soon you're talking about real voltage drops that are going to affect the performance of a power-distribution system.

25 March 2013

The Resolution Revolution In Oscilloscopes

The HDO Series oscilloscopes sport 12-bit vertical resolution.
The HDO Series oscilloscopes
sport 12-bit vertical resolution.
Oscilloscopes have been around for a very long time now, and older scope users will remember the heyday
of those analog boat anchors of the '60s and '70s. A lot of them have survived and can still be usable as long as you don't need much bandwidth (and have the means to calibrate them if necessary). I used to scout local hamfests looking for bargains on them. Many techs and engineers cut their teeth on those behemoths. You could learn a lot about design if you poked around inside them, too.

15 March 2013

Spectrogram Display Is Another Tool in the SI Shed

An oscilloscope with spectrum-analysis capability marries the best that both instruments offer in one package. You get the traditional oscilloscope view of signals in the time domain, but you also get the spectrum analyzer’s ability to take the same signal and look at it from the frequency perspective.

14 March 2013

Check Constellation Diagrams for Digital Data Integrity

Data-communication systems that rely on quadrature signal generation to phase-encode data can run into a number of signal-corrupting snags. These can include things like Gaussian noise, non-coherent single-frequency interference, phase noise, and attenuation in the channel and/or receiver, to name a few. But did you know that you can use your digital oscilloscope to diagnose problems like these?

You Can’t Eliminate Noise You Can’t Measure

Noise within a circuit or system is, by most anyone’s definition, the bane of the engineer’s existence. It can be maddening to track down and even more so to solve. It can come from many different sources, from thermal problems to cold solder joints to grounding issues, and often from more than one at the same time. On top of that, it’s a random phenomenon by nature. Noise detection and analysis is a matter of having the right tool(s). It’s especially helpful if those tools span the time, frequency, and statistical domains. Naturally, an oscilloscope is the go-to tool for noise measurement and analysis.