Follow the Script: The script
language in the Keithley Series 2600 SourceMeter family lets engineers
quickly automate tests that require simultaneously sourcing and measuring
currents and voltages.
Few things irk engineers more than having to make dozens or hundreds of
careful measurements of device characteristics while simultaneously varying a
current or voltage. This tedious process takes considerable time and one error
can undo test results. The Series 2600 SourceMeter instruments from Keithley
Instruments combine a voltage and current meter with a voltage and current
source that operate independently or together. The capability to operate the
source unit in synchronization with the measure unit lets the instrument
automate many repetitive measurement tasks. Those tasks can occur either in a
stand-alone mode controlled solely by Series 2600 instruments or under control
of a host PC.
The source-measure capabilities provided by the Series 2600 instruments serve engineers who must make current and voltage measurements on devices such as transistors, displays, display-driver circuits, radio-frequency amplifiers, disk-drive read-write heads, individual passive components, and so on. As a stand-alone instrument, the measurement portion of the Series 2600 SourceMeter can acquire 12,600 readings/sec. Each reading includes a simultaneous current and voltage measurement. When combined with the current-voltage source, the instrument operates at 4,750 source-measure cycles/sec. A new type of ranging control lets the output of the source-measure unit settle quickly, thus increasing test speeds over those available in other instruments.
Each member of the Series 2600 family includes a Test Script Processor (TSP) that lets it function as a stand-alone instrument system. Keithley's Test Script Builder software, which operates within an instrument, provides a simple graphical user interface that lets engineers and technicians develop, modify, and debug high-speed test-and-measurements programs, or scripts. A BASIC-like language simplifies writing these scripts. Easy-to-read commands such as smua.reset() and smua.measure.rangei=1.0 establish a current-measurement range, for example.
The flexible TSP "language" includes the following capabilities:
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For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.