3 min read

Power Integrity in Digital Designs [Analysis Application]

By Christoph Zysset on Jul 9, 2020 11:13:00 AM

Modern electronic products operate at higher frequencies, have increased functionality, and have densely populated PCBs. On effect thereof are lower supply voltages, commonly 3.3, 1.8, 1.5 and even 1.1 V DC. All these DC voltages have tighter tolerance compared to previous product generations.

Topics: Keysight IoT Testing and measuring Measurement
4 min read

Arm: How Simulation Models Support Engineers [Fixed Virtual Platforms]

By Grzegorz Cuber on Jun 30, 2020 10:56:00 AM

Fixed Virtual Platforms (FVP) are simulation models used by engineers for software development before the equipment is delivered. FVP are designed to emulate the work of a complete system, just as if it was physically connected to the programming environment.

Topics: Software IoT Industry 4.0 Arm Keil
3 min read

Quick Guide: How to Clean your instruments [Plus Tutorial]

By Selina Schär on Jun 19, 2020 9:30:00 AM

To make sure you can enjoy your measurement device for as long as possible, it is important to take good care of it. To clean your instrument and do some minor maintenance work, you don't have to be a technician at all! In this quick guide, you will learn the main aspects about cleaning your device.

Topics: Instruments Testing and measuring Electronic Engineering Measurement
5 min read

Power Your Car Cameras Properly with ASIL-Grade Camera Power Protector

By Starry Tsai on Jun 18, 2020 11:22:00 AM

It’s common for today’s vehicles to feature multiple cameras that, combined with other advanced sensors such as radar and LiDAR, support safety features like advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). This fusion of sensors detects blind spots, pedestrians, street lanes and more.

Topics: Components Power Maxim Integrated
1 min read

Switzerland: How to Save your Devices from Trash [Repair Cafés]

By Selina Schär on Jun 9, 2020 11:13:00 AM

Switzerland – In 2019, the so called Repair Cafés took care of over 23.000 broken items. Not only they repair electronic devices such as DVD players, but also completely different things like clothes or toys. Over 15.000 items were repaired, thus saved  from landing in the trash.

Topics: Keysight Instruments Electronic Engineering Measurement
2 min read

Fault Hunter: Save Time When Inspecting Digital Signals

By Christoph Zysset on May 27, 2020 11:38:00 AM

Finding and isolating very rare events and anomalies in a digital signal is tedious and time consuming. The all new Fault Hunter application on the Keysight MXR Family oscilloscopes [Datasheet, PDF] automatically finds such events and helps you isolate them.

Topics: Keysight News Instruments Software Testing and measuring
5 min read

Platform Security Architecture [2/2]: The Four Phases

By Alessandro Sanasi on May 20, 2020 11:19:00 AM

The Platform Security Architecture (PSA) is a framework for securing a trillion connected devices. For more details about PSA, read part 1 of this article. The application of the PSA consists of four key phases, each of which is supplied with documentation and guide.

Topics: IoT Industry 4.0 Wireless Security Arm Keil
6 min read

Platform Security Architecture [1/2]: Secure strategy on IoT Device Designs

By Alessandro Sanasi on May 13, 2020 11:33:00 AM

We live in a hyper-connected world, with millions of life-changing devices, connected together, all translated with the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT's vision is to distribute a large number of connected devices, all generating huge volumes of data.

Topics: IoT Industry 4.0 Wireless Security Arm Keil
5 min read

How to Keep Your True-Wireless Earbuds Cool

By Michael Jackson on May 11, 2020 12:45:00 PM

By removing the tangle of wires, true-wireless earbuds truly give users the flexibility that comes with being unencumbered by cords. When designing true-wireless earbuds, you might find that their unique features - small size, high reliability, fast and efficient battery charging - are also among their toughest design challenges.

Topics: Components IoT Power Bluetooth Maxim Integrated
3 min read

Formula Student: How to Get an Electric Racecar Running Properly

By EPFL Racing Team on May 6, 2020 10:43:00 AM

The Lausanne Racing Team is one of several teams developing an electric racecar for the formula student competition. To run a such a vehicle, not only a smooth communication between all different units is required, but also a reliable power supply.

Topics: Keysight DC Power Instruments Electronic Engineering Mechanical Engineering Measurement
3 min read

LUXROBO Enhances IoT Power Efficiency with Analog ICs

By Christine Young on Apr 23, 2020 9:17:00 AM

LUXROBO helps creative minds - especially those of children - bring their ideas to life, thanks to its MODI “robotics of things” platform. The Seoul, South Korea-based company’s MODI community has conceived and designed everything from a bot that can paint to a smart trash can, a candy machine, and a music box.

Topics: Components IoT Maxim Integrated
9 min read

7 Steps to Improve Your DMM Measurement Throughput

By Keysight on Apr 14, 2020 8:15:00 PM

Whether your electronic test is in manufacturing, design validation, or research and development, reducing your test time translates to a reduction in development time and manufacturing costs.

Topics: Keysight Instruments DMM Measurement
6 min read

How CAN Bus Flourishes in IoT and Automation Designs

By Jim Harrison on Apr 7, 2020 11:12:00 AM

While the Controller Area Network (CAN) bus is the standard automotive network, allowing cars to greatly reduce wiring harness size and weight, the protocol specification is also alive and growing in other areas. CAN transceivers are among the many analog building blocks that can strengthen designs in areas like factory automation and the IoT. You might even call them a hero of analog.

Topics: Components IoT Maxim Integrated Electronic Engineering
2 min read

Guarantee functionality of AC Equipment on different power grids

By Tobias Möri on May 14, 2019 11:30:00 AM

When designing a grid powered product, you should consider various points that can impact the behavior of your product or even the grid.

Topics: News Instruments Power Testing and measuring
3 min read

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Connectivity With Zero Programming - Is That Possible?

By Lance Looper - Silicon Labs on May 2, 2019 3:00:00 PM

 It is very common for developers that they struggle to add wireless connectivity to their IoT devices. In most cases, it takes weeks - if not months - to get from design to prototype. Thanks to the new Wireless Xpress solution from Silicon Labs, even adding the most sophisticated Bluetooth or Wi-Fi functionality can mean no problem for you.

Wireless Xpress provides a configuration-based development experience with everything developers need, including certified Bluetooth® 5 Low Energy (LE) and Wi-Fi® modules, integrated protocol stacks and easy-to-use tools supported by the Silicon Labs Gecko OS operating system.

Let us see the key areas Wireless Xpress can perform in:

Topics: News Components IoT Wireless Bluetooth Wireless Networks
3 min read

IT6300 Combine Channels

By Tobias Möri on Mar 27, 2019 8:49:00 AM

Modern multi-channel power supplies offer the possibility to couple two channels in series or in parallel to double the output voltage or the output current.

This feature is very useful in cases where you have to power a device under test which requires more voltage or current than one of the individual channels of the power supply can source.

Topics: News Instruments Testing and measuring
1 min read

Deep-Sleep Current: Which is better? µCurrent or CurrentRanger?

By Andrea Tinner on Mar 4, 2019 1:09:00 PM

During Deep Sleep, microcontrollers consume very low currents, and batteries live longer. Unfortunately is not easy to measure these small currents. Today we will check out two small boxes which promise to make this possible. And we will use the 10’000$ professional Keysight N6705C Power Analyzer to establish the reference.

Topics: Keysight DC Power Instruments Components IoT Power Testing and measuring Electronic Engineering
4 min read

All the Colors – Advanced Human Interface Design Using Smart RGB LEDs

By Lukas Schrittwieser - Technokrat on Jan 18, 2019 10:40:00 AM

Technokrat is a young company founded by four electrical engineering graduates, providing a fresh and agile approach to development, product design, manufacturing and consulting. As a partner, Computer Controls supports Technokrat by making Test Equipment affordable, even as an initial investment. This gives Technokrat the opportunity to provide valuable services to its clients.

A client of Technokrat asks for a human interface solution to be designed and integrated in a medical automotive device. One of the client’s design requests is to integrate a substantial amount of individual RGB LEDs between various control elements, giving the user a modern and minimalist feedback in contrast to e.g. an LCD display.

Topics: Keysight Instruments Testing and measuring
9 min read

Why Do We Acquire Data And Why Is It So Important?

By Tobias Möri on Nov 21, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Let me start with a question: What is a Data Acquisition System (DAQ) for you?

Basically, it is a system that gathers physical conditions (i.e. Temperature, Humidity, voltage, etc.), converts them into digital data and allows the analysis of those pieces of information on your PC.

What if I tell you it could save your product from being a total disaster, like a quality assurance?

Topics: Keysight Instruments Testing and measuring
3 min read

PCB Design Review: Best Practices

By Adrienn Horvath on Sep 10, 2018 9:02:00 AM

The fact that you have your in-house development team doesn’t mean that all the PCB designs are free from mistakes. Don’t get us wrong: it is not because of the lack of understanding, but as a result of overtime, exhaustion, and short deadlines.

Avoiding mistakes during the design phase helps to increase time to market and reduce costs. Remember, mistakes found at a later stage of the product lifecycle lead to costly and time-consuming redesigns.

What is a design review?

Detailed and documented monitoring of a design in order to determine its capability and adequacy to meet the original requirements. In addition, it helps you to identify hidden problems.

The purpose of a PCB design review is to find layout errors, violations of the manufacturing guidelines and the adherence of the design to the design specifications. Always keep in mind that a PCB design review is not a design validation. Design validation requires a manufactured and populated PCB, which allows you to measure certain physical and electrical parameters.

Topics: Testing and measuring Electronic Engineering
2 min read

IoT Device: Battery Empty

By Christoph Zysset on Aug 28, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Longevity of battery-driven IoT devices is crucial especially for the users of these devices. Just put yourself in their shoes. Recharging a wearable device, whether it is a hearing-aid, fitness tracker, or a gadget is annoying. 

Or even worse, a tracking device for valuable or sensitive goods which stops working during transport because the battery is drained is more than annoying. It is the worst case scenario.

So what can you do as a company, project leader, or design engineer to get the most out of batteries and have happy customers?

Topics: Keysight Testing and measuring
5 min read

How To Do A High-Speed Test Without Overshoot?

By Tobias Möri on Jul 9, 2018 8:00:00 AM

IT6500C DC Power Supply Applications

When you need to power a test environment, you often have to oversize the power supply.

Why? Principally because of the inrush current. Inrush current is a substantial current flow that exceeds the steady-state current value when the electrical equipment first turned on.

You can avoid it and save money thanks to the new power supply solution from ITECH. It combines the best of Constant Current Mode and Constant Voltage Mode.

Topics: Instruments Testing and measuring Electronic Engineering
7 min read

3 Key Parameters For Testing IoT Devices

By Sook-Hua Wong - Keysight Technologies on Jun 21, 2018 1:08:58 PM

The Internet of Things (IoT) is no longer a fiction. It is quickly becoming a reality. By the year 2020, an estimated 20 billion devices will be connected and be communicating with each other, whether they are smart home devices, appliances, wearables, connected healthcare devices, or connected cars.

Topics: IoT Mesh Bluetooth Security
3 min read

The 5 Best New Features in Altium Designer 18

By Adrienn Horvath on Apr 12, 2018 9:30:00 AM

Altium Designer is one of the world's most popular PCB design tools.

Its developer Altium Ltd. has always employed the most current and high-level technologies. Yet the new Altium Designer 18 release can leave every hardware development engineer speechless.

Let’s see the main reasons why Altium Designer has ever been popular:

  • User experience
  • Professional solutions like the 3D view
  • Efficiency

Prepare yourself, because these words have taken on a completely different meaning in 2018.

Topics: News Software
5 min read

Multiprotocol is the new wireless

By Adrienn Horvath on Apr 9, 2018 9:05:00 AM

We are living in the age of Industry 4.0, Internet of Things and other catchy buzzwords that represent our highly connected and data-driven world. Smartphones and smart devices like watches and bracelets make use of the features of WiFi, Bluetooth, and other protocols.

While this makes the lives of users easier, it more often than not causes developers a few headaches. Low power, small size, low cost and the ability to handle more than one protocol are requirements that can be challenging when implemented in one device.This brings us to the point at which the synergy of the required protocols demands a new generation of components and peripherals that are able to meet the emerging new trends.This is where multiprotocol comes into play.

Topics: Components IoT Mesh Bluetooth Wireless Networks
3 min read

Why Spectre and Meltdown Haven’t Affected These Secure Micros

By Christine Young on Mar 13, 2018 10:30:00 AM

If you rely on secure microcontrollers to protect digital assets and intellectual property (IP) in the embedded devices that you design, you can rest assured that not all of these microcontrollers are impacted by the Spectre and Meltdown chip vulnerabilities.

Maxim DeepCover® secure microcontrollers based on Arm® Cortex®-M and ARM926™ processors are unaffected by these hardware-based security vulnerabilities. Our USIP PRO secure microcontrollers based on MIPS processors are also not affected, as are our MAXQ family of RISC microcontrollers.

Topics: Components Embedded Maxim Integrated Security
2 min read

Why Isolated Function Generators?

By Erik de Jong - GW Instek on Mar 1, 2018 1:57:36 PM

There are various function generators on the market. Despite a wide variety of choices, most function generators are common grounding between output signal ground and instrument chassis earth ground. Hence, non-isolated function generators cannot output correct waveforms for circuit tests such as bridge rectification, voltage doubler and chopper.    
Why can’t they? The following comparison was made for a bridge full-wave rectification circuit test by using a non-isolated function generator and an isolated channel function generator MFG-2000 or AFG-3000 from GW Instek. First of all, we have to know the ideal waveform of a full-wave rectification output, which is as follows:      

Topics: Instruments
1 min read

Protect Against Counterfeiting with Secure Authentication

By Christine Young on Dec 20, 2017 10:53:00 AM

Industry estimates reveal that the gray market consumes about eight percent of the total market revenue for electronics components. Revenue risks aside, nefarious activities like counterfeiting and hacking also impact company reputation and brand, as well as the customer experience.

There’s no single solution that provides long-lasting, impenetrable security. For those on the wrong side of the law, it’s a game of risk versus reward. So making the risk too great relative to the perceived reward can offer protection.

Topics: Components Maxim Integrated Security
1 min read

Faster, Easier Design of Pulse-Oximetry Systems

By Christine Young on Dec 13, 2017 10:54:00 AM

Wristband-based health and wellness wearables are just the starting point in this market. The industry is also moving toward more sophisticated wearables for activities such as continuous cardiac monitoring of heart-rate and blood-oxygen (SpO2) levels.

Topics: Components AppNote Maxim Integrated
6 min read

Testing the Versatile USB Type-CTM that has it all – Power, Speed and Flexibility

By Erik Babbé - Keysight Technologies on Dec 6, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Type-C is exponential in its effect on your board testing and validation. Considering its validation as an “incremental” change to your testing environment is wrong and dangerous.

Topics: Keysight Instruments Power
1 min read

How Battery Management ICs Maximize Performance and Security

By Christine Young on Nov 22, 2017 10:57:00 AM

From smartphones to laptops, medical equipment, and more, the array of portable devices that relies on batteries continues to grow. This makes battery monitoring and management all the more important.

Topics: Components Maxim Integrated Security
1 min read

Save Design Time with Highly Integrated Reference Designs

By Christine Young on Nov 15, 2017 1:16:00 PM

As designs grow more complex and teams have become leaner, you’ve got much more on your plate. Aside from the usual development, prototyping, debug, and validation cycles, you also have more to worry about when it comes to design security.

Topics: Components Maxim Integrated Security
1 min read

Why I’m Proof that Engineering is for Dummies

By Christine Young on Oct 25, 2017 10:05:00 AM

My first experience designing and building my own PCB from scratch was exciting - and a colossal disaster. My love of Guitar Hero inspired me to design my own string-less guitar. I’d learned about touch sensor technologies during a summer internship and had also taken an embedded C programming class. I was familiar with the Arduino platform, too.

Topics: Components Software Maxim Integrated
5 min read

New IoT Product Using Silicon Labs MCU Helps People Parking Faster

By Deirdre Walsh - Silicon Labs on Oct 17, 2017 10:00:00 AM

Q-Free, a Norwegian transportation system provider, will launch an exciting new product at the end of 2017 that will help people reduce the time they spend searching for parking spots.

Q-Free Project Manager, Brage Blekken, shared exciting details about the new product in the following interview with Silicon Labs.

Topics: News Components IoT Wireless Wireless Networks
6 min read

Technology Enablers towards Connected and Autonomous Driving

By Giacomo Tuveri, Keysight Technologies on Oct 11, 2017 11:36:00 PM

Recent developments in the automotive sector provided a glimpse of future mobility with autonomous driving – safer roads, improved road usage and traffic efficiency, lower emissions, the introduction of self-driving uber-like services and possibly changes in city landscapes towards a more sustainable urban living.

Autonomous driving is no longer just a concept. Self-driving vehicles are already hitting the road in some countries. The connected car is already here in many ways with advanced telematics becoming more and more available on a wide range of vehicles, Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) almost a reality. This article focuses on the enabling technologies which pave the way towards the vehicles of the future.

Topics: Keysight Instruments Green Energy
1 min read

Winner Op Amps For Low-Power And Reliable Systems

By Christine Young on Sep 21, 2017 1:29:00 PM

There are lots of op amp choices in the market. Are you looking for a fast, but not too fast, op amp with really low power? The low power specification of many amplifiers fits portable, battery-operated designs, and also makes circuit design easier. 

An ideal amplifier for applications like portable test equipment, medical diagnostic equipment, industrial sensor data gathering and the like would also provide DC precision and low noise. If you can find an amp with all these traits that takes only, say, 10µA supply current, why not use it - even if low power is not a supreme design requirement?

Topics: Components Maxim Integrated
4 min read

AMZ Team's driverless car won the Formula Student Germany

By Fabio Meier on Sep 6, 2017 2:38:00 PM

Eleven months after the decision to participate at the Formula Student Driverless the time has come: Formula Student Germany was around the corner.

Up until then, we had managed to integrate a second project into AMZ and teach flüela how to drive autonomously. Due to the novelty of the competition, it was difficult to assess the project’s progress. Accordingly, we had to work extremely hard to ensure a competitive level of performance.

After all, the hard work of this eleven month seems to payed off: We reached the podium in each of the eight disciplines and won five of them. Moreover, we won the overall championship in the driverless category.

But this was not a straight and easy way to achieve.

Topics: Keysight News Instruments AMZ Racing Green Energy Power
2 min read

Bluetooth Mesh - IoT will never be the same again

By Adrienn Horvath on Aug 16, 2017 1:52:00 PM

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced a new mesh topology available for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices that enables many-to-many (m:m) communications.

A mesh network is a network topology in which all nodes cooperate and relay data for the network.

Do you know what is awesome about it?

Topics: IoT Wireless Mesh Bluetooth Wireless Networks
2 min read

Formula Student East made some noise

By Adrienn Horvath on Aug 10, 2017 9:37:00 AM

Our colleagues visited the Formula Student East car race, which is a student engineering competition. It took place between 20th and 23rd of July in Hungary at the Euroring race-circuit near Budapest.

Student teams from around the world design, build, test, and race a small-scale formula-style racing car. What makes FS really unique is that it uses the same rules as the original Formula SAE with supplementary regulations. As the competition has been significantly expanded compared to the first season (in 2016), 40 combustion and 20 electric teams are able to participate at FS East this year.

Topics: News AMZ Racing Green Energy Power
3 min read

Precise Current Profile Measurements of Bluetooth® Low Energy Devices

By Andrea Tinner on Jul 31, 2017 10:15:08 AM

New information technology, the Internet of Things (IoT) is changing our lives. The Bluetooth® low energy (BLE) standard is aimed at IoT applications and dramatically extends battery life. In order to implement it, there is a need to reduce the amount of unused power from existing devices, and Engineers are therefore exploring component level dynamic current consumption, which is difficult to measure, especially for low-power devices used in IoT enabled products, because of the limited dynamic range, large measurement noise and limited bandwidth.

Topics: Instruments Components IoT Green Energy Power Wireless Bluetooth
4 min read

DC Power Supplies: Switch-Mode vs. Linear

By Christoph Zysset on Jul 12, 2017 9:21:00 AM

DC power supplies for research, electronics development, and automated testing in production environments are available in two different flavours: switch-mode or linear regulated. Both types supply DC power but the method how DC power is generated differs between them.

This white paper will give a short introduction into the different technologies, outline the pro’s and con’s for both approaches and finally lists applications where one of the technologies is more suitable.

Topics: DC Power Instruments Green Energy Power
3 min read

AMZ racing - Measurements on adaptive shock absorbers

By Adrian Ruckli on Apr 25, 2017 2:24:00 PM

1 Preface

The Formula Student Team AMZ (Academic Motor Sports Club Zurich) has set itself the goal of building an electric racing car every year to compete in international Formula Student races. In 2017, the AMZ is building our eleventh racing car and our objective this year is to bring the number 1 spot in the world rankings back to Switzerland. Without external support such a project would be inconceivable. The company Computer Controls AG has been a loyal partner to the Club over many years. Computer Controls AG produces electronic measurement equipment which is crucial to the development of major components of the vehicle. The following sections describe the development of the circuit for controlling the adaptive shock absorbers.

Topics: Keysight Instruments AppNote AMZ Racing
1 min read

How Analog Integration Supports the Industrial IoT

By Christine Young on Apr 5, 2017 10:24:00 AM

Even though industry forecasters began predicting the demise of analog a decade or two ago, analog remains alive and well. The move to digital has actually created a bigger need for analog, which we can broadly define to include sensors, signal conditioning, power management, and wired/wireless connectivity.

Topics: IoT Industry 4.0
3 min read

University motorsport association uses Hioki power analyzer for efficiency measurements and portable PicoScope

By Andrea Tinner on Mar 7, 2017 10:00:00 AM

SUCCESS STORIES@Computer Controls

As a technology partner, Computer Controls supports the Akademischer Motorsportverein Zürich (AMZ) with professional knowledge and high-precision instrumentation. The AMZ was founded in 2006 by students at ETH Zurich, who develop a prototype vehicle for the various “Formula Student” races in Europe each year. The association gives students an opportunity to put their theoretical engineering knowledge into practice in a very complex product.

The power dissipation of an inverter can be determined with the aid of a power analyzer. On their motor test stand the AMZ Racing Team uses a Hioki PW6001 Power Analyzer to carry out validation tests for power circuitry and motors. The power dissipation of the components can be determined quickly and easily with the measurement setup described here. The power analyzer computes the Fourier components of the measured signals and directly outputs the derived effective, apparent and reactive power values. Based on the measured torque and motor speed, it can also indicate the motor efficiency by calculating the difference between the input power and the effective mechanical output.

Figure 1: Test setup for making measurements with the power analyzer on the AMZ test stand

Topics: News Instruments AMZ Racing Green Energy Power Hioki
9 min read

How does oscilloscope signal integrity impact your measurements and analysis?

By paulcapozzoli on Jan 16, 2017 10:00:00 AM

By looking for an oscilloscope with good signal integrity you not only can impress your colleagues, but you also get:

  • More accurate wave shapes
  • More accurate and repeatable measurements 
  • Wider eye diagrams
  • And less jitter

Signal integrity is the primary measure of signal quality.  When you need to view small signals, or small changes on larger signals; it is critical that you see those signals the way the components in your design see those signals.

Topics: Keysight Instruments AppNote IoT
4 min read

The Electrical Engineer’s Multi-tool

By Johnnie Hancock - Keysight Technologies on Oct 11, 2016 10:30:00 AM

The Electrical Engineer’s Multi-tool of the test & measurement world is the oscilloscope. Not only can a scope be used to view time-domain waveforms (voltage vs time), which is the primary cutting blade of an oscilloscope, but many of today’s scopes have additional blades that can perform measurements that were formerly relegated to specialized test gear, including spectrum analysis (FFT), DVM, counter, logic analysis, serial protocol analysis, and arbitrary waveform generation.

Topics: Keysight Instruments AppNote
1 min read

How to build a Bluetooth derby car with Thunderboard React

By Andrea Tinner on Sep 8, 2016 7:30:00 PM

Thunderboard React makes it easy to test and prototype an IoT application. It has leading set of sensors and connects using Bluetooth Smart to the free mobile app. The mobile app seamlessly communicates between the Thunderboard and the cloud database to visualize sensor data collected or control the LED states on the Thunderboard React hardware. Individual components of the Thunderboard React can be easily integrated and modified in order to add BLE-to-cloud connectivity for a user’s particular application.

Topics: News IoT
7 min read

Ingredients to perform low current measurements

By Christoph Zysset on Jul 28, 2016 1:00:00 PM

Assessing novel materials, characterizing transistors or measuring reverse-bias currents of diodes, photodiodes of LEDs have one thing in common: a very low current usually below the nano-Ampère range has to be measured accurately.

It is quite obvious that a multimeter is not suitable for this kind of job. Instead you use you use a Source-Measure-Unit (SMU) or parametric test systems for this task.

However, applying an SMU or a parametric test system correctly to assess sub-nA currents is far from easy. There are four important points which you have to take care of to perform a successful measurement:

  1. Shielding
  2. Guarding
  3. Appropriate measurement setup parameters
  4. Calibration and SMU zero offset

Why do I want to go into detail on this topic? Fist, because advances in material research and semiconductors make this topic increasingly important. The second reason is that I often encounter test setups in which these four points are not taken carefully into consideration and the measurement results are not reliable.

Download the The Parametric Measurement Handbook

Topics: Keysight Instruments AppNote
2 min read

Six hidden costs of a 99 cent SoC #5-6

By SiLabs Technologies on Jun 27, 2016 3:00:00 PM

See previous post: Six hidden costs of a 99 cent SoC #3-4 >

Hidden Cost #5: Reduced Product Revenue from TTM Delays

One of the biggest hidden “costs” in using a wireless SoC versus a module is the risk of missing the market window due to incremental time to design it in, test it, debug it, type-approve it, and certify it.

Topics: Components AppNote IoT Industry 4.0
3 min read

Six hidden costs of a 99 cent SoC #3-4

By SiLabs Technologies on Jun 13, 2016 1:30:00 PM

See previous post: Six hidden costs of a 99 cent SoC #1-2 >

Hidden Cost #3: PCB Layout and Antenna Selection

How hard can it be? Many engineers believe it should be easy to follow an application note for layout. While that can be true in some cases, antenna application notes are often complex.

Topics: Components AppNote IoT Industry 4.0
6 min read

Six hidden costs of a 99 cent SoC #1-2

By SiLabs Technologies on May 30, 2016 2:00:00 PM

So You Want to Save Money by Using a Wireless SoC?

There are two main options:

Topics: Components AppNote IoT Industry 4.0
3 min read

A simple way to create an automated test sequence

By Christoph Zysset on Apr 27, 2016 2:00:00 PM

Creating automated test sequences are important in a variety of applications such as automated test equipment (ATE) for production lines, incoming components inspection, prototype testing or component evaluation to just name a few.

Throughput and speed matter for both ATE systems and incoming components inspection. Which is why investing time and resources to write you own piece of control software, is definitely the right approach. For prototype testing and component evaluation however, spending several hours on programming an application that performs a simple task like sweeping a power supply and measuring a value of interest with a scope or a multimeter at every sweep step cannot always be justified. The reason for that is that even a skilled engineer easily spends several hours to write such kind of a program.

Nevertheless, such small programms can be very handy and the good news is that you can create them within a few minutes and without the knowledge of any programming language. The solution is the Test Flow environment within Keysight’s BenchVue software. Okay, you should probably know what a for loop is and an if statement, but that is quickly explained.

In this post, I would like to give a quick overview with a concrete example on how you can use Test Flow and how powerful it is.

Topics: Keysight News Software AppNote IoT
8 min read


By Greg Steiert on Apr 11, 2016 2:00:00 PM

Abstract: This article describes some of the unique challenges of designing wearable devices and how to optimize power efficiency to reduce size. It covers the importance of the operating voltage and how to select the right voltage regulators. It also explains the importance of battery fuel gauging and ends with a summary describing an example of a highly integrated device optimized for these ultra-portable/wearable applications.


As people turn to electronics for entertainment, physical activity can decline and lead to health issues. While technology may be one of the causes of obesity, technology can also be used to fight the problem. Today there are electronic pedometers and fitness trackers that encourage more physical activity by reporting activity levels, and there is data to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach.

Topics: Components Embedded AppNote IoT Green Energy Power
2 min read

Testing Lithium-Ion Batteries

By Christoph Zysset on Apr 6, 2016 9:30:00 AM

In a previous blog, I wrote about how the AC method can be applied to measure lead acid batteries and how the principle of this measurement works. I also mentioned at the end of that blog post, that for Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) batteries the measurement gets a bit more tricky. The reason for this is an additional impedance element in Li-Ion batteries, called the Warburg impedance. On the one hand, the size of the Warburg impedance, caused by the difusion of lithium in the electrode material, is a parameter of interest to characterize a Li-Ion battery. On the other hand, the presence of the Warburg impedance requires a slightly different measurement approach.

In this blog post, I will describe what the Warburg impedance is, how it affects the Cole-Cole plots and finally the different measurement approach.

Topics: Instruments IoT Power Hioki
4 min read

Testing Lead Acid Batteries

By Christoph Zysset on Mar 30, 2016 10:00:00 AM

Testing lead acid batteries is a relevant topic for uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). Even though most uf us do not take notice of all the installed UPS systems in our environment, they can be encountered in a variety of facilities: Hospitals, banks, data centers, broadcasting systems, base stations or emergency communication systems to just name a few. And in many cases they are mission critical. Just think of a hospital where actual loss of life is eminent during a power outage, or a bank where a power outage could result in the loss of millions of dollars.

The core of many UPS systems is a bank of large lead acid batteries, which bridge the time between the failure of the power grid and the turn on of the diesel engine, which powers a local generator. An important task in maintaining a UPS system is to regularly check the capacity of the battery bank.

Topics: Instruments AppNote IoT Power Hioki
5 min read

Probing a Power Rail Correctly to Assess Power Integrity

By Christoph Zysset on Jan 12, 2016 9:30:00 AM

In one of my previous posts, I went into the details of power integrity and the reason why we need to take it into account in both current and future hardware designs. Furthermore, I promised to provide some tips and hints on how to do this measurement correctly to make sure that the obtained values are actually from your design and not from the scope and the probe.

Before I go into the details of assessing power integrity correctly, I would like to repeat briefly why we have to care about this kind of measurement. Power rails in today’s hardware designs are affected by periodic and random deviations (PARD) caused by noise, load responses and coupling from adjacent traces like clock and data lines. All these deviations have the potential to violate the noise margins of individual components within the hardware design. Deviations can also corrupt data transmissions, because they propagate into the data lines. More details on PARD, its causes and consequences can be found in this post.

10 MHz clock signal coupling to the power rail on a hardware design.

Topics: Keysight DC Power Instruments AppNote IoT Industry 4.0 Power
4 min read

Power Integrity – More Important Than Ever For Your Hardware Design

By Christoph Zysset on Dec 31, 2015 12:36:25 PM

Power integrity (PI) is a term you probably have heard of – or not. In this blog post, I would like to dive into the questions “what is it?” and “why should we care about it?”. Of course, I will not deprive you of the solution to assess the power integrity of a hardware design.

What is it?

Topics: Keysight Instruments AppNote IoT Power
1 min read

Fiber Inspection Probe — FIP-400B Wireless

By Patrik Blaser on Aug 26, 2015 8:30:00 AM

Fully automated WI-FI inspection tool with embedded analysis

EXFO Inc. announced the addition of the FIP-435B, fully automated Wireless Fiber Inspection Probe to its market-leading portfolio of portable fiber-optic test equipment.

Topics: News Telecom
1 min read

Quickly Develop Sophisticated IoT Applications

By Andrea Tinner on Aug 7, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Wireless Sensor Node (WSN) Demonstrator


  • Blood Glucose Metering
  • Galvanic Skin Response Measurement
  • Pulse Oximetry Measurement
  • Wearable Medical Devices
Topics: News Components IoT Industry 4.0 Green Energy
2 min read

UXM Wireless Test Set LTE-A Capabilities

By Patrik Blaser on Aug 6, 2015 11:30:00 AM

Keysight Technologies Expands UXM Wireless Test Set LTE-A Capabilities with 4CC, 256 QAM, LTE-U, Cat 0 Support New Enhancements Address Emerging 4G Test Challenges.

Keysight Technologies, Inc. announced new enhancements to the E7515A UXM wireless test set to address leading-edge LTE-A carrier aggregation (CA) test requirements. New capabilities include support for downlink 4CC1, 256 QAM, and LTE-U with up to three unlicensed carriers, as well as FDD-TDD mixed CA and uplink intra- and inter-band CA measurements.

Topics: Keysight News Instruments
2 min read

AMZ Racing at Hockenheim

By Andrea Tinner on Aug 4, 2015 4:38:00 PM

A big shout out to the whole AMZ team for their amazing performance at the Hockenheim Ring! Congratulations from everyone at Computer Controls!

"Formula Student Germany e.V. is over, and it was once more a week full of excitement, a lot of work and a little bit of luck." AMZ Racing

Topics: Keysight News Instruments AMZ Racing

Welcome to the CControls Blog

By Andrea Tinner on Jul 31, 2015 5:43:12 PM

Welcome to our new platform to share information and news, hot promotions, helpful white papers, best practices and application notes.

Topics: News Instruments Components Embedded Software