The Ubiquitous "Test and Measurement"

Jason Lomberg, North American Editor, PSD



With summer in the rearview mirror, we have Thanksgiving, the Holidays, and the “most wonderful time of year” to look forward to. Kinda. Sorta. The cold weather is miserable, the Holidays are a huge hassle, and every Turkey Day features an impromptu political sermon from crazy Uncle Bob or Aunt Susan. So it’s not really “look forward to.” More like “survive.” Fall and Winter might test your patience, but this September we feature a far more pleasant form of it (test, that is).

This September we deals with the ubiquitous “Test and Measurement,” and while you might be shaking your head, consider this – every product goes through a testing cycle. So even if your device isn’t targeted at the T&M vertical, you availed yourself of testing products throughout its design and production.

Indeed, few topics are as universal as “Test and Measurement.”

To kick things off, Brad Jolly with Keysight Technologies ties his September article with June’s Internet of Things topic by focusing on optimizing battery life in IoT applications. Since power is sacrosanct for portable devices, manufacturers are increasingly using tools to perform a battery drain analysis (BDA).

“Customers prefer long operating life,” notes Jolly. “Device vendors who demonstrate superiority in this area will have a key competitive advantage that drives market share growth.”

For certain devices, a digital multimeter (DMM) may perform an adequate BDA, but some designs call for an event-based power analysis.

Meanwhile, Rohde & Schwarz's Dr. Markus Herdin covers one of the most common T&M tools, the oscilloscope.

As Dr. Herdin explains, memory errors, lower than expected data rates, or unexplainable sensitivity reduction in receiver components can be reduced with proper power integrity measurements. And the preferred instrument for those measurements is our old friend, the oscilloscope.

Chad Clark over at Vitrek discusses the power designer’s version of the fabled Swiss Army Knife, the power analyzer. Quite simply, designers have to measure a large number of electrical parameters for power conversion systems, and power analyzers merge the functions of meters, oscilloscopes, chart recorders, data loggers, harmonic analyzers, and other more.

Finally, Herman van Eijkelenburg with Pacific Power Source ponders how to avoid AC power source mistakes by using common protection like constant current mode and constant voltage mode. Advanced designs can enable additional protection measures like power protection modes and peak current protection mode.

“Protecting valuable equipment under test, especially when dealing with early engineering prototypes is critically important as the accidental loss of a prototype can set back product development cycles by weeks or months,” says van Eijkelenburg.

Enjoy these and all our September articles, and don’t let the cold weather get you down!

Best Regards,

Jason Lomberg

North American Editor, PSD