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

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

27 June 2022

Get Ready for PCIe 6.0 Base Tx Testing--Compliance, Jitter and Eye Diagrams

Figure 1. The four levels and three eyes of the
PCIe 6.0 PAM4 signal.
Click on any image to enlarge.
The PCI Express® 6.0 Base specification was officially released in January 2022 at version 1.0, meaning it is considered final. The CEM and PHY test specifications are currently at version 0.3, and 0.5 versions of both will probably be released sometime in the third or fourth quarter of 2022. As both the CEM and PHY test specifications are still at an early stage, it's hard to predict exactly when the PCIe® 6.0 compliance test program will start, but it's safe to say it is at least a few years out. However, PCIe 6.0 Base testing is upon us, especially those of us working on chip design.

So, what can implementers expect as they retool for PCIe 6.0 Base Tx and Base Rx physical layer testing?

20 June 2022

Is It OK to Use an External 50 Ohm Terminator with an Oscilloscope?

Recently, a reader posed the question in the Comment field on Dr. Eric Bogatin's blog post, How to Choose Between the Oscilloscope's 50 Ohm Input and 1 MOhm Input:  "Is there any difference between using an external 50 Ohm terminator instead of the internal 50 Ohm termination on the oscilloscope--for example, using a RG58/RG174 cable?"

Eric answered:

"In principle, you can use the oscilloscope input set for 1 MOhm termination, then add an external 50 Ohm termination resistor on a BNC Tee connector, for example. This has the advantage that you can actually use any resistor for a load, or terminate signals with an RMS voltage larger than 5 V.

However, there are two problems with using this approach for high-speed signals with rise times shorter than 1 nsec, which require an oscilloscope with bandwidth larger than 1 GHz.

13 June 2022

Oscilloscope Basics: Cal Out and Aux Out

Fig. 1: Cal Out and Aux Out 
provide many useful outputs.
Oscilloscopes are generally thought of in terms of the signals that are input to them, but even oscilloscopes that are not equipped with function/signal generators can usually output some useful test signals.

Nearly all oscilloscopes have a Cal Out (calibration output) terminal on the front. Most Teledyne LeCroy oscilloscopes also have an Aux Out (auxiliary output) connector on either the front or back, depending on  model. Both outputs provide configurable signals that can assist you to compensate probes and attenuators, test frequency response, trigger waveform acquisition and coordinate multiple test instruments.

06 June 2022

What Happens When You Connect a USB-C Cable

The USB Type-C® connector is designed to be very simple for the user to use: you insert it in either orientation, and a multitude of services just “work”. Though simple to use, it is a complicated connector to program and test, with a very complex system of protocols behind it. There is USB power delivery (USB-PD) and multiple rates of USB data delivery from USB 2.0 through USB4®, specified by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF®). There are protocols other than USB, such as DisplayPort™, High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI™), Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe®), Base-T Ethernet and Thunderbolt™. 

So, what actually happens when you connect a USB-C cable? To understand that, first let’s take a look at the signals and pin assignments in the USB-C connector receptacle (Figure 1).

Figure 1: The USB-C receptacle pin assignments showing the key signals used for device-to-device communications. Related pins have matching color overlays.