Advanced systems demand advanced oscilloscopes

Author : Kelvin Hagebeuk | European Marketing Manager | Yokogawa

01 December 2020

Yokogawa DLM5000_580x280
Yokogawa DLM5000_580x280

The design, validation & manufacturing of today’s advanced embedded systems & mechatronics products require the measurement of both analogue & digital signals. Mixed signal oscilloscopes (MSOs) have been developed to meet these needs, enabling simultaneous, time-correlated observation & analysis of analogue with digital signals.

The full version of this article was originally featured in the December 2020 issue of EPDT magazine [read the digital issue]. Sign up to receive your own copy each month.

And as Kelvin Hagebeuk, European Marketing Manager for electrical test, measurement & control expert, Yokogawa explains, for test & design engineers, MSOs bring the ability to establish the various areas of a device’s electronics and how signals affect each other.

They offer several channels – often four – but is this enough to keep up with the growing complexity and capabilities of today’s power and control products? The exacting needs of companies in industries such as mechatronics, power electronics, automotive, aerospace, railway and consumer electronics may suggest not...

For example, with the increasing emphasis on electric vehicles, there is great interest in developing efficient and reliable high-performance electric motors. Based on modern inverters, successful development of these motors demands multi-channel, high speed waveform measurement.

These types of measurement often need more than four channels, as whole-system measurement is impossible with a four-channel scope. The real difficulty comes in measuring the timing between IGBT (insulated-gate bipolar transistor) gate signals within the inverter.

Voltage and current measurements between three phases and the I/O (input/output) of the motor driver IC (integrated circuit) present a very challenging test with only a four-channel scope available. Multi-channel, high speed waveform measurement is an absolute necessity, making an eight-channel MSO the only truly practical solution.

A similar challenge is represented by the development of mechatronics systems. In this application, many I/O analogue, digital and serial-bus waveforms surrounding the electronic control unit (ECU) must be measured.

The additional logic inputs of a four-channel MSO provide enough channels, but this method does have a drawback. Digital waveform analysis using logic inputs alone will not reveal anomalies such as voltage drift, noise, distortion or ringing, and measure rise-fall times. ECU testing requires stringent examination of all digital waveforms – and analogue input channels are the best tool for the job.

Read the full article in EPDT's December 2020 issue...

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