Friday, July 29, 2016

How To Use an Oscilloscope

Hobbyist supplier SparkFun has a nice introduction to using an oscilloscope.  Pretty basic but useful to newbies!

Covered in This Tutorial

This tutorial aims to introduce the concepts, terminology, and control systems of oscilloscopes. It’s broken down into the following sections:
  • Basics of O-Scopes – An introduction to what, exactly, oscilloscopes are, what they measure, and why we use them.
  • Oscilloscope Lexicon – A glossary covering some of the more common oscilloscope characteristics.
  • Anatomy of an O-Scope – An overview of the most critical systems on an oscilloscope – the screen, horizontal and vertical controls, triggers, and probes.
  • Using an Oscilloscope – Tips and tricks for someone using an oscilloscope for the first time.

It's here:

And here's our best-value 100MHz scope:  Siglent's SDS1102CML+

Siglent SDS1102CML+ 100MHz 2-Ch Digital Oscilloscope

Thursday, July 28, 2016

How To Use a Spectrum Analyzer

Nice YouTube video Introduction to Spectrum Analyzers:  from "Electronics + Radio" describing the basic functions of a dedicated benchtop spectrum analyzer.  Using Rhode & Schwartz products, it is applicable to other brands too.

Check out this video showing the key essentials about how to use a spectrum analyzer: controls, operation, examples . . . and some top tips from industry experts.

The video starts by explaining the controls on the spectrum analyzer and then moves on to show how some of the basic measurements can be made. It also details other measurements like phase noise, using spectral masks and much more . . . All you need to know about how to use a spectrum analyzer.

More details about how to use a spectrum analyzer and what the controls do can be found here:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Siglent's SDS2304X versus Keysight’s MSO X 3054A

Jack Ganssle just did an excellent review of Siglent's SDS2304X, comparing it with Keysight’s MSO X 3054A, on

"The layout is eerily similar. Like the Keysight, all of the Chinese unit’s knobs can be pressed in to change some functionality. For instance, on both units pushing a vertical gain knob toggles the gain from the normal 1-2-5 sequence to a “variable” mode, where the gain is continuously adjustable. I don’t find it useful but perhaps it makes sense if one were using the unit for automated testing.
The Keysight’s knobs feel better, and the Siglent’s buttons have a little bit of a mushy feel rather than a sharp snap.

Other features are different – for instance the Keysight has twice the lower unit’s sample rate. It takes a wider range of probes.

But it is five times the price.

The Siglent’s user interface is almost identical to Keysight’s and is just as intuitive. It’s a very easy scope to operate. There are a lot of modes, though, and I found myself referring to the 200 page pretty decent manual (supplied as a PDF without clickable links in the table of contents) for the more obscure functions. The 800 x 480 eight-inch screen is very crisp and, unlike on their $359 model, I didn’t find myself wishing for more resolution. Sometimes a lot of information is displayed and the characters can be quite small. The layout is an odd 8 by 14 divisions which is not a problem; just don’t assume the usual 10 on the horizontal axis when measuring time.

One of the great things about digital scopes is the deep memory. With 140 Mpts there’s a lot of data captured. You can take a single slow sweep and then crank up the time base to see lots of detail about the signal.

Read more here:

Monday, July 25, 2016

Recent Applications for TorqueSense Torque Sensors

TorqSense transducers from Sensor Technology are playing a key role in the development of commercial-scale in-stream tidal turbines produced by Irish company, OpenHydro. They are being used to test the bearings, and this involves the use of a simulator that allows the company's engineers to determine how frictional forces in the bearings vary with different loads and rotational speeds. Central to the operation of this simulator is the measurement of torque in a shaft from the motor that drives the bearing under test. OpenHydro uses the RWT321 sensor in conjunction with Sensor Technology's TorqView software. This offers a choice of dial, digital bar and chart graph format display for torque, RPM, temperature and power. It also provides facilities for realtime plotting and for data recording, and can output stored results as files that are compatible with Matlab and Excel.

A TorqSense torque sensor is helping Powertrain Technologies reduce engine emissions and improve economy as part of a project to develop an intelligent lubrication system. The engine being tested was a current production Diesel and the test bed was configured for motored friction tests with a 6,000rpm 32kW electric motor driving the engine. The engine lubrication system was re-designed with a bank of five computer controlled oil pumps, each capable of supplying individual parts of the engine with oil under conditions unique to that part of the engine and sensitive to the engine operating conditions. The torque sensor is critical to the project since the object is to measure the effect on friction of a range of different oil supply strategies and oil types. Thus the changes in friction are represented by a change in the motored drive torque of the engine.

In the world of pharmaceuticals product integrity is paramount and packaging has a key role to play. CapCoder of Oxford use TorqSense transducers at the core of its specialist bottle sealing machines. These capping machines not only tighten bottle caps within precisely defined tolerance but also log every detail of every bottle that is capped. A batch size is typically 10,000 bottles, which are capped at a rate of one per second. Every cap has to be done up to the same torque, and proof of this performance is required. The machine had to run the torque up to within tolerances of 10% recording the actual value achieved. This secures the cap at a level of tightness that will ensure security and sterility, yet can be opened relatively easily by an adult. The logged values are saved using TorqView software to provide a permanent record for traceability.

The new wireless LoadSense load cell provides all the information needed to optimize efficiency and increase profitability of a wide range of industrial operations. The new development allows weighing processes to be fully integrated with handling operations. All live data is captured in real time and can be transferred to a database, stored, totalized and analyzed. The load sensor can be integrated with a crane hook, fork lift or other handling device. It has an on-board single-chip computer for recording, analyzing and archiving readings, and wireless communications (operating on a harmonized global 2.4 GHz waveband) that can transfer data in real time to a host computer. Internal batteries make LoadSense’s operation completely autonomous. As such it can be deployed with minimal disruption to operations, and will automatically begin transmitting data. No special training is required to install or operate the unit. Multichannel operation is standard.