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Ceramic decoupling capacitors rarely fail, but higher capacitance MMLC types are less robust. I have quite a bit of vintage gear including a 5153 monitor and an original XT it goes with. I replaced a tantalum capacitor that blew up on the XT motherboard once but that's the only one I've ever had fail in anything.
Beginners / Re: How to set an exact voltage at the load?
« Last post by David Hess on Today at 04:18:42 pm »
Can I use this  remote sensing circuit for measuring current measurement (10uA to 1A) with  series resistors 10K, 100R and 1R operated by relays?

Sure that will work.  The sense resistors could even be switched by power MOSFETs.  The remote sense will remove the voltage drop from the sense resistors and any switch.

But like I said, if you want an output which can go both positive and negative, a different output stage will be required than a simple voltage regulator.  It will resemble an audio power amplifier output stage.

If you want to measure currents that low, then some attention will need to be paid to make the remote sense circuit not draw too much current itself but that is not difficult.  Remove sense bias currents from nanoamps to picoamps are easily feasible using operational amplifiers as buffers.
I scrapped a 32" TV, and it has a nice PSU and some chips I can play with, and I manged to figure out how to get the CCFL working off the PSU alone, but sadly it's not even worth it as a wall lamp in my room I don't think. I don't need a lightbox ATM, and have a much smaller 19" I could scrap to use for that.

What else could I use the CCFL for? I hate to toss it. I'll keep the HV inverter tho either way
Decided to dive head first into some PCB design and make a Christmas tree that I could give out as gifts this festive season. Pictures and video of it in action below:

Only took me 3 revisions for a mostly finished version. Will most likely make a version that just runs off USB without a battery as this makes them quite a bit cheaper to make.
The design uses 3 interlocking boards in the shape of a Christmas tree and an Attiny85 to control 22x WS2812C RGB LEDS. These are lower power (5 ma per colour) versions of the WS2812B (also known as Neopixels). The B versions end up too bright, even with the C versions I ended up running at 20% brightness). These are covered with foam dots to defuse the light. A boost converter ups the battery voltage to 5v and a charge IC takes care of battery management. I have put in the circuitry for reprogramming the Attiny from the USB port, but I have not tested it yet.
Version 1 - Proof of concept, just ordered the main board. Turns out I should of listened when the datasheet for the boost controller said there is a DC path through the boost converter even when it is disabled. So it worked, it just wouldn't turn off. The whole circuit apparently runs on 3.7v without an issue.
Version 2 - All three boards. Put in a mosfet to switch power on and off. Routed the battery to a pin on the Attiny for voltage monitoring, turns out it will power the entire circuit from this pin. Missed a trace that connected VCC to the last LED. Ended up getting the base board from JLCPCB completely covered in soldermask despite following the Eagle export procedure exactly from their website for all three boards.
A cut trace, two mod wires (I think red mod wires look a little festive anyway) and much scraping gave a working prototype. Using the Seed Studio 2-layer export option to create gerbers from Eagle resulted in the next set of board turning out fine.
Version 3 - No real mistakes, but the battery is not removable.
I learnt that cheap batteries from eBay tell outrageous lies - the "2300 Mah" battery I used runs the tree for 4h20m at roughly 50ma consumption. I expected them to be a little off their quoted specs, but not by an order of magnitude!

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I've used the leaded Chip Quik paste and haven't experienced the issues you've described. I find it's more difficult to spread than I'd like and can see there could be problems if you don't have good process control over stenciling. I also felt a bit burned ordering from Digikey and getting months old paste.
Nice, but I paid for both DIG and MEM... I have my 34465A registered on MyKeysight and have not yet received an email notification that new firmware is available. Eliminating the Java requirement is good.
Beginners / Re: How to set an exact voltage at the load?
« Last post by Deva on Today at 04:03:12 pm »
Hi David ,
Thank you very much for the reply.
Are you looking for a circuit for an entire source meter or just what is required to add remove sense to a regulator?  The later is pretty easily done in a few different ways as shown below.

If you want a +/-2 volt range, then you need something more like a class-B or class-AB output stage with remote sense.

Note that with remote sense, you can place a current meter in series with the output and not affect the voltage at the remote sense point.
Can I use this  remote sensing circuit for measuring current measurement (10uA to 1A) with  series resistors 10K, 100R and 1R operated by relays?
Metrology / Re: [3458A] Yet another 3458 repair thread.
« Last post by TiN on Today at 04:01:43 pm »

I always welcome a discussion on these complex topics, not pretending to know everything, still learning here.

I don't expect in any Fluke spec that it will reflect only typical values or best case data.
Not argue with that. But it looks to me that "not so good" specifications like INL are conveniently "omitted" from the 8508A documentation, as statement like <1ppm it would not look good against 2 times cheaper and 10 year older competitor unit, that states 0.1ppm max.

And what is the point of INL specification in the end?

Great INL is what makes 8.5-digit meter a meter, not an indicator. If you trying to do compensation for tempco/power coefficients and similar analysis, without knowing actual INL how one can get accurate results and be confident that deviations are not come from inherent ADC error contributions. This can be handy to investigate front-end performance, because there are many ranges in meter, and error characteristics on them are different.

Also you can get idea of transfer spec from HP's 3458HFL spec sheet which is just selected 3458A (unless I'm proven wrong with actual HFL unit guts photos):

Now back to the 1kV range. 3458A calibration manual clearly states:

Normal 100 V and 1000 V range measurements use a 100:1 resistor network to attenuate the input. To correct errors introduced by this network, we apply zero volts to the input. Then, we apply 10 V and measure the actual value. Finally, we measure 0.1 V, with the zero error removed, and compute the gain adjustment constant.

Input voltages greater than 100 V (1000 V range) create a self-heating error in the resistor network, as shown in Figure 3. This easily identified error is simply specified as part of the instrument's published error.

Based on this I don't know where you get idea that self-heating is not included in the published specifications for 1kV range?



Interesting ideas. You mean to run little sweep -50..50mV on 10V range with external divider? I have Keithley 262 that can use 1:100 ratios for that, and program Hulk to output -5/+5V sweep. Also another thing to look into is 3458's auto zero function, as all previous sweeps are with AZERO ON, but it'd be interesting to see also data w/o AZER.

For comparing to the Fluke 8508, are that data taken at the same time: AFAIK the Fluke is quite a bit slower so that this would cause a longer average waiting time if a fixed number of 3 readings is used.

8508 is at least 10 times slower than 3458, however all five meters are triggered at same time (with tiny overhead from RPi). Then we read back data as it's ready from the meters.

Code: [Select]
fluke.write("OUT %.7f" % set_value)
    time.sleep(3)                   # Soak little time for settle
    for ix in range (0,10):         # Take samples cycle
        dmm.write("TARM SGL")       # Trigger 3458A
        dmm2.write("TARM SGL")      # Trigger 3458B
        dmm3.write("TARM SGL")      # Trigger 3458C
        dmm4.write("TARM SGL")      # Trigger 3458D
        dmm5.write("*TRG;GET;RDG?") # Trigger 8508D
        val = float(     # Read data from meter
        val2 = float(   # Read data from meter
        val3 = float(   # Read data from meter
        val4 = float(   # Read data from meter
        val5 = float(   # Read data from meter

Next trigger for next sample will not be issued until all meters provided the data. But I don't see how it's important in this case, as even when triggers and read back is sequential it would be visible on the INL plot by small temporal shift, and not the INL error data change. We talking about tiny fraction error over 2-3 minute instability of the used source.

57xx do have separate gain constants for different polarity quadrants. Output from DAC reversed in polarity at buffer output by a relay before it goes further in calibrator signal path, so separate corrections are used depends on signal polarity. 5440B have relay reversal at reference before the DAC, so the crossover error is visibly larger on that unit. Errors as reported by "Hulk", acquired by comparison with it's internal 6V/13V dual LTFLU VREF and zero short:

Code: [Select]
                        DC VOLTAGE OUTPUT SHIFTS
RANGE Point     Zero Shift       Full Scale Shift       Spec (+/-)  Shift (% 24hr spec)
220 mV +FS    -0.00001 mV     0.00001 mV   0.03   ppm   7.27 ppm    0.38
       -FS     0.00001 mV    -0.00001 mV  -0.06   ppm   7.27 ppm   -0.77
  2.2V +FS   0.0000002  V   0.0000002  V   0.08   ppm   3.86 ppm    2.13
       -FS   0.0000004  V   0.0000004  V   0.17   ppm   3.86 ppm    4.41
   11V +FS   -0.000001  V   -0.000001  V  -0.06   ppm   2.77 ppm   -2.09
       -FS    0.000000  V    0.000000  V   0.03   ppm   2.77 ppm    1.08
   22V +FS   -0.000001  V   -0.000001  V  -0.05   ppm   2.73 ppm   -1.95
       -FS    0.000001  V    0.000001  V   0.03   ppm   2.73 ppm    1.00
  220V +FS    -0.00001  V     0.00018  V   0.84   ppm   3.73 ppm   22.44
       -FS     0.00001  V    -0.00018  V  -0.81   ppm   3.73 ppm  -21.69
 1100V +FS     -0.0000  V      0.0019  V   1.71   ppm   5.45 ppm   31.37
       -FS      0.0001  V     -0.0019  V  -1.68   ppm   5.45 ppm  -30.86
I don't think it's a big deal, because we use 3458A data as reference or corrected outsource data (from triple 3458A idea, shown on my post above). By this method such zero error from source is removed.

Last night was also testing some python code, and ran quick NPLC5 sweep while at it. Outcome quite interesting:

Now we remove noisy misused 8508A with it's RESL6 data, and just focus on 3458A in this fast mode. The effect on INL going from NPLC50 (previous post) to NPLC5 is actually not that big, as one may expect.

This is another aspect that I do not enjoy about 8508A. As far I tried, there is no way to configure 8508A for max resolution with custom NPLC conversion time. Best accuracy/lowest noise configuration is RESL8, FAST_OFF which translates to about NPLC1024 judging from spec conversion time. I understand reasons why Datron/Fluke limited this and removed ability of user to set NPLC, but it's rather inconvenient if we trying to work out the unit’s ADC performance.

I did some sweeps on other end of the spectrum, using NPLC1000 on two 3458s, but actually result was rather bad compared to faster NPLC5...NPLC50 sweeps. I'd expect that because ambient temperature/short term drifts variations and such. When we go long conversion times/lot of samples we are measuring less of ADC's INL but more of stability across time + INL.

The large error for one of the remote 3458 indicates a kind of slight problem with that meter.

Yea, those meters known to throw some RAM/ROM checksum errors sometimes. NVRAMs are on last breath in those, so perhaps some little bit got flipped.

Is it possible to measure the INL of the bad 3458A the other way around?
In reverse polarity? I doubt that would make any point, as sweep is covering both polarity already.


Another big point is ACAL. Phil expressed his concerns about it before, even saying it is a "drawback" of the meter, however I respectfully disagree on that. ACAL is just another tool that engineer can use to improve the confidence and achieve better data results between the traceable metrology-proven calibrations. ACAL does not replace the need of the calibration with known uncertainty equipment, but rather makes possible to do educated accuracy improvements at time of the measurement, different from calibration day.

As side effect this also means lack of manual range adjustments in 3458A, and deleting those range adjustment corrections during ACAL procedure in 57xx MFC. The point is that 3458A internally does very precise transfers, which are quite expensive to do externally (as you can learn from 8508A calibration procedures/certificate). And if you replace those transfers with manual adjustments, it's rather an open question if typical lab can meet tight 3458A specifications and account for all external errors of doing such a transfer set. After all owner of 3458A want to use it to measure the DUT, not fiddle with meter for days with manual calibration before you can use it.

For volt-nuts ACAL is pure gold, which also enables people like me to test DUTs versus 24-hour specifications of the 3458A, instead of relying on annual spec. Sure if volt-nut lives and works at NMI, he could in theory shorten the external calibration cycle to maybe 30 days and rotate meter between references (here we talk about accurate known sources for all functions/ranges, not silly 10V/10Kohm ACAL only, aye?) to obtain real traceable 30-day specifications. But for mortals like me, that is not viable solution at all and tracking meter with ACAL versus annual and traceable 10V/10k/1ohm standards calibration makes use of all other ranges possible too, not just 10V/10k. Here is just use ACAL as a tool to confirm meter's drift and confidence in results on _all_ ranges between the traceable external calibrations.

It does not mean however that we cannot also get better results from fancier parts 3458A. Using better components like VHP resistors in shunt/ohm current section might be helpful, but that's topic for yet another article. :) All I want to say here - I don't buy that marketing push of "8508A is filled with VHP resistors and selected parts, hence it's more stable and does not need ACAL to meet its spec". 3458A don't need ACAL to meet specs either, on that part, but artifact calibration is helpful and integral part of the meter operation and meter was designed around it, it is not just few extra relays to make required switching.


Ok, enough rambling for now, time to hunt for some 3458A parts to get these "C" and "D" units facelifted and patched up.
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