Development Guide Helps Engineers Build Better Test Systems

Feb. 13, 2008
Test engineers are under constant pressure to maximize performance and flexibility while minimizing cost and complexity. By providing practical advice and real-world examples, Agilent Technologies, Inc. hopes to help them achieve that goal in ...

Test engineers are under constant pressure to maximize performance and flexibility while minimizing cost and complexity. By providing practical advice and real-world examples, Agilent Technologies, Inc. hopes to help them achieve that goal in its 200-page, full-color, downloadable guidebook titled, "Test System Development Guide." The guide is broken down into four sections: Test System Design, Networking Choices, LXI: The Future of Test, and RF/Microwave Test Systems.

The first section seeks to show the reader how a test system can be used to do more than verify the limits of the DUT. For example, it can find weaknesses in a device and predict failures or out-of-specification production trends. The second section, which focuses on Networking Choices, looks at the different options that are currently available. Local-area networking (LAN) is covered in detailin both network and personal-computer (PC) configurations. Universal Serial Bus (USB) also is discussed. The general-purpose instrumentation bus (GPIB) has been the standard interface for connecting test instruments to computers as well as providing programmable instrument control. Now, however, a variety of I/O options are available. They are discussed in these chapters.

In the section dubbed, "LXI: The Future of Test," the guidebook explains how this new measurement platform promises to combine the advantages of PC-based connectivity with the flexibility of card-based instrumentation. LAN Extensions for Instrumentation (LXI) equipment does not require a conventional card cage. As a result, it lowers costs, shrinks footprints, and increases flexibility. To provide even more flexibility, it incorporates a variety of current and future instrument form factors. This section shows how to make the transition from GPIB-based systems.

Section 4 is devoted solely to RF/microwave test systems. Its goal is to provide advice on the configuration of test systems that balance the need for performance, speed, and repeatability. The guidebook's first task is to show how an RF/microwave test system can be more easily configured, updated, and modified both now and in the future. The result will be flexible, longerlasting test systems. The second chapter, titled "Six Hints for Enhancing Measurement Integrity in RF/Microwave Test Systems," includes a short discussion on different types of cable and which ones are right for certain applications. This sectionand the guidebookend with an overview of three approaches that can be used to calibrate RF signal paths and produce accurate, repeatable measurements.

Agilent Technologies, Inc., 5301 Stevens Creek Blvd., Santa Clara, CA 95051; (877) 424-4536, FAX: (408) 345-8474, Internet: www.agilent.com.

About the Author

Nancy Friedrich | Editor-in-Chief

Nancy Friedrich began her career in technical publishing in 1998. After a stint with sister publication Electronic Design as Chief Copy Editor, Nancy worked as Managing Editor of Embedded Systems Development. She then became a Technology Editor at Wireless Systems Design, an offshoot of Microwaves & RF. Nancy has called the microwave space “home” since 2005.

Sponsored Recommendations

Ultra-Low Phase Noise MMIC Amplifier, 6 to 18 GHz

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ LVA-6183PN+ is a wideband, ultra-low phase noise MMIC amplifier perfect for use with low noise signal sources and in sensitive transceiver chains. This model operates...

Turnkey 1 kW Energy Source & HPA

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ RFS-2G42G51K0+ is a versatile, new generation amplifier with an integrated signal source, usable in a wide range of industrial, scientific, and medical applications...

SMT Passives to 250W

July 12, 2024
Mini-Circuits’ surface-mount stripline couplers and 90° hybrids cover an operational frequency range of DC to 14.5 GHz. Coupler models feature greater than 2 decades of bandwidth...

Transformers in High-Power SiC FET Applications

June 28, 2024
Discover SiC FETs and the Role of Transformers in High-Voltage Applications