Author Topic: E36300 Series Programmable DC Power Supplies (E36311A, E36312A, E36313A)  (Read 33317 times)

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Offline HighVoltage

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Since about 6 month I have the Keysight E36103A.
This one has 1 mA and 1 mV resolution and also works really well.

But this morning I was glad they come with a 3 year warranty, because it is not working anymore.
And since all of these new PSUs will not have a schematic anymore, what do we do, when they are outside their 3 year warranty. Then, a repair is not so easy anymore. But that is true for all brands.

The E36102A just sits at 463mA although nothing is hooked up.


There are 3 kinds of people in this world, those who can count and those who can not.
 
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Offline nctnico

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I think I'll put a E36312A on my wish list! Pretty much what I have been looking for in a PSU and the small current + logging features seem very handy to me.
Yesterday I've requested a quotation. Oddly enough I didn't get an immediate response in the e-mail. It also turns out there is a special offer where your get a U1242 handheld DMM for free with many types of equipment (including these power supplies). It's not that I need a new DMM so I'll see what room there is to haggle a bit.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline Dwaine

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That is very disappointing.  You would think in 2017 a power supply would be bullet proof.  With all the documentation and schemic to go with it.

Is it me?  Or is everything going backwards in quality and reliability.  Just yesterday I was using my Dynaco ST70 tube amp and was laughing at the various better and newer amps that won't power up or have their circuit boards dead.

That ST70 just keeps playing and keeps on going.    I had zero problems with it.

Anyone else notice that all the new test equipment these days, you are scared to even turn it on because it will break?

You walk by a new power supply these days and the electrical charge from your stare will send the moffets to magic smoke land.

You spend more time managing your equipment warranties and breakage, than learning or experimenting with new things in electronics.
 
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Offline Dubbie

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Look up "survivorship bias" Dwaine.
 
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Offline olkipukki

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Just recently got E36312A and tried it a few days in the row, couple times it became unresponsive at all  :-//, you cannot either switch it off  :palm:
workaround - unplug the main cable  :-+
 
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Offline nctnico

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Just recently got E36312A and tried it a few days in the row, couple times it became unresponsive at all  :-//, you cannot either switch it off  :palm:
workaround - unplug the main cable  :-+
That doesn't sound very good. I'm getting one to play with soon to see if it works well (or not).
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline alm

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At least it sounds like something that could be fixed with a firmware update. Have you reported it to Keysight yet?
 
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Offline olkipukki

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Not yet, will try to replicate it. Somehow it happened in the first 5 minutes after boot while I am using knobs and keypad for 1 and 3 channels...
 
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Offline nctnico

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Keysight E36312A review
Firmware version: 1.0.4-1.0.0-1.04

Look what landed on my desk for a short sleepover:


I guess antracite is the new beige!

The E36312A peeked my interest because I have been looking for a decent lab power supply for a while which has a positive/negative output. Since I have an Agilent 66311B telecom power supply I have grown to appreciate a PSU with an accurate voltage an current readout. No longer a need to hook up external DMMs to measure current and voltage. What sets the Keysight E36312A apart is that it (like the 66311B) has a low current measurement range with uA resolution which is ideal for measuring current consumption in low power circuits. Other power supplies have a 1mA resolution at best.

One of the perks is that you can take screenshots:


And yes, it can also show power consumption in a load:


The binding posts are standard but it can also be ordered with safety banana jacks.

Operation
The operation is quite straightforward. There are two seperate voltage and current knobs. In my opinion the accelleration could be better because turning the voltage or current up takes a large number of spins. OTOH when available I usually use the keypad on instruments to just punch the number in.

One thing I have noticed is that even with the channels off there is a small leakage of around 8uA current flowing when a load is attached.

Current measurement
The low current measurement is one of the features which sets this PSU apart especially when you realise that a DMM has a signficant burden voltage and internal resistance which makes it less suitable for measuring power consumption in digital circuits. Dave did several video's on this subject (including EEVblog #2) but this is a later video which explains it in great detail:
https://youtu.be/jx0dryLmUEQ
Back to the 34461A which doesn't have problems with the burden voltage at all. The resolution is 1uA but my measurements show that the reading can be 7uA off when loaded at 50uA or 500uA (compared to a 34461A). Better than specified but showing a 1uA resolution may be a bit too optimistic. At higher currents the current display (1mA resolution) is spot-on.

Output noise
I compared the output noise using a simple (5uH) LISN between an HP6024A (switching PSU, blue line) and the E36312A (yellow line). The spectrum analyser clearly shows the switching PSU is outputting quite a bit of noise.

 
Fan noise
The fan noise is reasonable; similar to a modern general purpose bench DSO even at full throttle. The fan is temperature controlled and it only runs as fast as needed. Unless loaded to the max this PSU is whisper quiet.

Data logging
This is a nice feature to track power consumption. I tried it with a microcontroller circuit which blinks a LED. The change in the current is clearly visible.

Don't expect too much though because the minimum sample interval is 200ms. I guess Keysight didn't want to get in the way of even more expensive power supplies (like the 66311B) which can sample at much higher frequencies in order to study start-up behaviour of low power devices in great detail.

Switch on/off behaviour
I did some measurements using a purely resistive DC-load, a scope, a current shunt and a regular probe to look at power on/off behaviour. The yellow trace is the current, the blue trace the voltage. The voltage is set to 20V and the current limit to 1A.

Switch-on no load


Switch-on 20 Ohm load


Switch-off no load


Switch-off 20 Ohm load


Unplug no load


Unplug 20 Ohm load


All in all this looks good. No overshoot and no funny business when the mains is suddenly interrupted.

Short circuit protection behaviour
My resistive DC-load can switch to a near full short and back to normal extremely fast because it uses an open-loop design. This makes it a good tool for looking at power supply behaviour. Again the voltage is set to 20V and the current limit to 1A.




The graph shows discharging the output capacitors, recharging them and some overshoot (250mV).

Load change behaviour
Switching between 1A and 300mA loads (20V and the current limit at 1A.):



Power sequencing
I did not test this but the E36312A is able to perform switch-on and switch-off sequencing between the channels so you can use it for loads which require this.

Conclusion
I think this is a very nice power supply. Sure it is very expensive compared to other power supplies but I think having the accurate readouts is worth the money because it makes life so much easier and no need to buy extra DMMs. The one I have is a demo model which has to go back but I think I'll order one soon. I'm going to play with the demo model a bit more to see how it holds up.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2017, 10:17:25 am by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline alm

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Thanks for that review! Looks like a solid performer without major flaws and with some unique features.
 
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Offline Dubbie

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Thanks for the review nctnico! I think you've sold me. I hope you get a commission!
 
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Offline HighVoltage

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nctnico,
Very nice to do a review like this.
Now I am even more inclined to order one.
 
There are 3 kinds of people in this world, those who can count and those who can not.
 
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Offline sdouble

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does someone know whether the 6V output is as clean as the 25V ?

It's often not the case in triple outputs PSU.
 
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Offline nctnico

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does someone know whether the 6V output is as clean as the 25V ?

It's often not the case in triple outputs PSU.
I just tested all channels with my LISN and a DC load. In 10kHz to 100kHz frequency range the 6V output (output 1) seems to be cleaner. At higher frequencies all the outputs are more or less the same.

yellow=base line
green=output 1
blue=output 2
purple=output 3

Edit: all outputs tested @5V with an approx. 500mA load.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2017, 12:26:04 am by nctnico »
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline sdouble

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thanks. looks really nice.
gonna buy one very soon.
need to find a distributor in france first.
 
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Offline nctnico

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thanks. looks really nice.
gonna buy one very soon.
need to find a distributor in france first.
You can create a user profile on Keysight's website and ask for a quotation. Keysight will forward that to the local distributor. However other (online) shops may sell it as well.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline anotherlin

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thanks. looks really nice.
gonna buy one very soon.
need to find a distributor in france first.

Farnell has a few in stocks and they currently have the offer with a free Keysight handheld multimeter.
Shipping (UPS) to France is free.
"Lots of people have made $100K or more mistakes and didn't get the boot. It's called training, why fire them after such an expensive lesson?" -- EEVblog Electronics Community Forum
 
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Offline mk_

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I just tested all channels with my LISN and a DC load. In 10kHz to 100kHz frequency range the 6V output (output 1) seems to be cleaner. At higher frequencies all the outputs are more or less the same.

How was the LISN connected and the overall measurement-setup?

Asking, because I`m not sure how to use the LISN for measurements like this..

Michael
 
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Offline nctnico

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I just tested all channels with my LISN and a DC load. In 10kHz to 100kHz frequency range the 6V output (output 1) seems to be cleaner. At higher frequencies all the outputs are more or less the same.

How was the LISN connected and the overall measurement-setup?

Asking, because I`m not sure how to use the LISN for measurements like this..
PSU at the DUT side and the load at the PSU side. Basically reverse flow of 'normal' but keep in mind to look at the measurements in a relative way because the setup I used is nowhere near the official setup and let's not even mention calibration.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 
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Offline pe1oxp

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Re: E36300 Series Programmable DC Power Supplies (E36311A, E36312A, E36313A)
« Reply #44 on: August 17, 2017, 08:35:19 pm »
Just did some small tests with an E36312A. After switching off the power supply I heard the fan.
It seems that the power supply can't be totally switched off. Only by removing the mains cord.

Measured power consumption:
Off:  10.1W  13.2VA (Cos-Phi 0.75)
On :  12.1W  15.6VA


A lot of wasted power when you use the bench power supply not every day.
 
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Offline alm

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Re: E36300 Series Programmable DC Power Supplies (E36311A, E36312A, E36313A)
« Reply #45 on: August 18, 2017, 04:31:43 am »
That sounds odd. Are you sure it is not just that the fan keeps running for a while after turning of the supply to keep the temperature down. Not that I have seen this in power supplies before, but it would seem more likely than designing something with such a ridiculous standby power usage. I wonder if this is some sort of defect, do other owners measure the same?
 
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Offline pe1oxp

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Re: E36300 Series Programmable DC Power Supplies (E36311A, E36312A, E36313A)
« Reply #46 on: August 18, 2017, 06:04:56 am »
That sounds odd. Are you sure it is not just that the fan keeps running for a while after turning of the supply to keep the temperature down. Not that I have seen this in power supplies before, but it would seem more likely than designing something with such a ridiculous standby power usage. I wonder if this is some sort of defect, do other owners measure the same?

I mentioned it the next morning after using the power supply and tested it a few times now, after plugging in the mains lead the fan starts running slowly directly. So most of the electronics inside must be powered up. The difference between both power states seems only be caused by the display and of course all buttons don't work.
 
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Online bitseeker

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Re: E36300 Series Programmable DC Power Supplies (E36311A, E36312A, E36313A)
« Reply #47 on: August 18, 2017, 07:46:51 am »
That sounds really odd. Does anyone else's 12A or 13A also have this always-in-standby behavior?
I TEA.
 
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Offline adamgreig

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Re: E36300 Series Programmable DC Power Supplies (E36311A, E36312A, E36313A)
« Reply #48 on: August 18, 2017, 07:58:06 am »
Just checked my '12A and I see the same 10.4W standby, 12.5W or so active but no channels enabled. Hasn't been turned on all day so definitely isn't to finish cooling down after a heavy workout or anything.

Pretty weird. I think I can just about hear the fan (something of a pain to look at the back with my setup) but it's extremely quiet, I wouldn't have noticed if I wasn't looking for it.
 
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Offline Keysight DanielBogdanoff

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Re: E36300 Series Programmable DC Power Supplies (E36311A, E36312A, E36313A)
« Reply #49 on: August 18, 2017, 09:56:46 am »
I've been using an E36312A casually for the last couple weeks and can confirm that the fan does turn on even if the unit is turned off - but the fan is really, really quiet. So, there's not an audible noise issue for me at all.

I'll talk to that team and see what they say about the standby power consumption. If it's an issue, you can always run a hard switch with a power strip.

Overall, though, I've been loving the supply.
 
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