My Day in Electronica’s Test and Measurement Hall A3
Making use of his Friday at Electronica 2020, All About Circuits’ Jeff Child decided to explore the show’s test and measurement section: Hall A3.
The All About Circuits team had a busy week last week at Electronica 2022. Back in-person for the first time since 2018, this every-two-years trade fair was full of great energy, with everyone pleased to be back.
If you’re not familiar with Electronica, bear in mind that it is huge! There are more than exhibition 12 halls, most with semiconductor companies, but others with a variety of other electronics category vendors.
Like the rest of my EETech team, I had nearly every hour of every day at the show booked with meetings. For me, the one exception in this mad rush was on Friday, where I had a block of open time. Determined to use that time wisely, I set out to spend a couple hours exploring Hall A3. In this article, I’ll share the new and recently announced test and measurement products on display in Hall A3.
Keysight’s Hau-Jiun Chen talks with All About Circuits’ Jeff Child about the company’s no-code Robotic Process Automation (RPA) technology.
First stop was the Keysight Technologies booth. There, Hau-Jiun Chen gave me an overview and demo of the company’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software. Engineers can use the software to do monitoring and control of hardware.
Keysight’s Process Automation Software
Keysight’s RPA software is PC and instrument-based software designed for R&D engineers and technicians. These engineers can use the tool to control test instruments and measurement setups without pre-defining their measurement sequence or compose test automation scripts.
According to Hau-Jiun Chen, RPA automates repetitive tasks and tests. The assists in the control of test instruments to enable parameter changes on a device under test. This means you can enable robotic process automation software either by a PC or embedded instrument software via a GUI interface.
RPA software works with instrumentation that has a built-in user interface screen. Alternatively, the software can be remotely controlled through a PC interface, such as Keysight’s Infiniium oscilloscopes. RPA provides several options to recording and playback parameters or edit code operations.
50 GHz RF Wideband Power Measurement Solution
Meanwhile, over at Rohde & Schwarz’s (R&S) Electronica booth, the company was showing off its NRPxxP RF wideband power measurement sensor family. Announced at the show, the latest model, the NRP50P, enables engineers to measure power levels from –60 dBm to +20 dBm at frequencies from 50 MHz to 50 GHz.
The company says the sensor is well suited for installing, maintaining and monitoring wireless communications systems. The new R&S NRPxxP family has sensors with a measurement bandwidth up to 30 MHz, a new improved design and an extended frequency range. The three-model family covers frequency ranges from 50 MHz to 18 GHz, 50 MHz to 40 GHz, and a new top model for 50 MHz to 50 GHz.
The Rohde & Schwarz NRPxxP family are RF power sensors for measurements of up to 50 GHz.
According to R&S, the NRPxxP sensors are optimized to be small enough to be handheld for easy and convenient installation close to the device under test (DUT). The interface uses standard USB hardware and a TMC (test and measurement class) driver for remote control without a dedicated base unit. This makes the sensors well suited for installation, maintenance or monitoring applications and simplified test system integration, says R&S.
The extended frequency range up to 50 GHz covers the entire Q band. R&S says that the band is used in satellite communications, terrestrial microwave communications, radio astronomy studies, and military communications. Meanwhile, it also covers all the 5G FR2 frequencies that are currently commercially relevant.
When making power measurements on pulsed signals, the R&S NRPxxP family can measure pulses as short as 50 ns. The automatic pulse analysis eliminates time consuming marker setting. The unit’s complementary cumulative distribution function (CCDF) enables sensors to calculate the probability of above average power levels by sampling a million points within 25 milliseconds, says the company.
12-bit HD Scopes for High-Speed Signal Integrity
Next, over at Rigol Technologies' booth, the company had its reccently announced HDO4000 oscilloscopes on display. The series boasts “true” 12-bit resolution, and are available in 70 MHz - 800 MHz bandwidths and with 2 or 4 channels.
According to the company, the HDO Series is powered by the Rigol’s new UltraVision III platform based on a custom ASIC chipset. The ASIC provides for dramatically lower front-end noise, says Rigol. Meanwhile, the higher resolution and lower noise enable engineers to analyze much smaller signal artifacts with greater speed and accuracy.
All About Circuits’ Jeff Child with Rigol Technologies’ Chirs Armstrong at the company’s Electronica booth.
HDO4000 model oscilloscopes are available in 200 MHz - 800 MHz, 4 channels, 4 GS/sec sampling, 100 μV/division range, and 250 MPts of memory standard (500 MPts optional). Meanwhile, the HDO1000 scopes offer 70 MHz - 200 MHz bandwidth, 2- or 4- channels, 1GS/sec sampling, 500 μV/division range, and 50 MPts of memory standard (100 MPts optional).
Both series feature 12 bit resolution and a 10.1" intuitive touch screen display. They also incorporate Rigol's new UltraAcquire Burst Capture mode. This mode makes it possible to visualize dynamic signals in multiple display modes while minimizing down time between trigger events.
Expanding on the oscilloscope’s embedded ASIC technology, the company says the ASIC chipset enables sampling with true 12-bit resolution. This reduces the quantization level between bits by a factor of 16 for far superior precision. Meanwhile, the new chipset provides a significantly lower noise floor than traditional oscilloscopes, says Rigol.
In-circuit and Function Test System
Last, but not least, over at Reinhardt’s booth, the company was showcasing its recently announced ATS-MFT 770M solution. The ATS-MFT 770M is an In-circuit and function test system. The company says it's designed for loaded PCBs, devices, modules and hybrids with all facilities for serial test, in-line test, flashing, EOL or use in life expectancy test or in development.
The ATS-MFT 770 features programmable multiple PSUs and an electronic DC-voltage load (standard). The backplane in the system is suited for new technologies and provides higher communication speed as well as higher measuring precision, says the company. It is also suitable for high voltage and high current tasks.
Reinhardt’s Andreas Pisasale with the company’s new ATS-MFT 770M multi-function test system.
Engineers can use the ATS-MFT 770 as a desktop version or as a 19“ built-in device. Its basic configuration includes a comprehensive in-circuit and function measuring unit, and programmable PSUs. There’s also 192 in-circuit and function measuring channels, 48 stimulus channels and 96 bi-directional logic channels. Control of pneumatic or vacuum fixtures and in-line use is integrated.
The ATS-MFT 770 comes with operating software for the in-circuit and function test as well as with CAD-data import, for example for Eagle. Other standard features include USB-, SPI-, 2 x I2C-, RS-232-, RS-422/485-interfaces and a pulse generator (PWM).
Putting the ATS-MFT 770 capabilities in perspect, Reinhardt says engineers can address, for example, 15 RMX 96 measuring matrix boards. That is a total of 1,440 measuring channels and with expansion racks up to 4,320 measuring channels. For coming modules, a high voltage bus is available.
A Test and Measurement Journey Well Spent
Gone are the days when test and measurement was only about oscilloscopes and analyzers. Today’s design and test engineers have sophisticated and advanced needs. Here, we could only show a cross section of the test and measurement products in Hall A3 at this year’s Electronica. For me, it was a day well spent.
All photos in the article taken by All About Circuits