It's been said that when operating test equipment, 90 percent of a measurement time is in the setup.
That being the case, Agilent's N6705A dc Power Analyzer should be a boon for test engineers. The new analyzer is said to save about 90 percent of the time required to set up complex dc sourcing and measurement tasks by eliminating the need for multiple pieces of equipment.
"Because we've integrated a number of (test) modules together and because no programming is required, the user can just go to the front panel, punch a couple of buttons and the test is up and running," says Bob Zollo, product manager for Agilent Technologies Inc.
Agilent engineers accomplished that by combining up to four dc power supplies, digital multimeter, oscilloscopes, arbitrary waveform generator and datalogger. Then, by tying the separate modules together with a central graphical user interface, they eliminated the need for programming prior to a test. To maintain simplicity, engineers incorporated dedicated physical controls for common functions and color-coded the display.
The new design could become a significant one for test engineers in aerospace, defense, automotive, semiconductor and wireless applications. In those industries, synchronizing power outputs from multiple power supplies can be an arduous task, sometimes taking hours or even days. With the new dc Power Analyzer, however, Agilent engineers say much of that time can be reduced or entirely eliminated because multiple output functions can now be assessed without writing a single line of code.
"The test itself doesn't execute any faster," Zollo says. "But you can get to the point where you hit the run button a lot faster. And that's what users want."