Author Topic: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure  (Read 1047 times)

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Offline avlijas.sladjan

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Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« on: August 06, 2020, 01:40:07 pm »
Hi,

can anyone find procedure how to calibrate Siglent SSA30xx spectrum analyzer?
 

Online tautech

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2020, 04:35:42 pm »
What is wrong with it ?
Has it been damaged by excessive input ?

Have you found the service manual ?
https://int.siglent.com/upload_file/user/SSA3000X/SSA3000X_ServiceManual_SM0703X_E01A.pdf
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Offline avlijas.sladjan

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2020, 07:26:08 pm »
Thank you, I did not found this manual before.
My Siglent is working, but I would love to have the possibility to calibrate this device at home with power meter.
Thank you one more time :)
 

Offline avlijas.sladjan

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2020, 07:32:42 pm »
Also in this document I only see "Performance Verification Test", not how to make some of calibration (like amplitude calibration or TG calibration).
 

Online tautech

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2020, 08:22:03 pm »
Also in this document I only see "Performance Verification Test", not how to make some of calibration (like amplitude calibration or TG calibration).
Performance verification is the first step in calibration. If it meets performance specification it passes calibration.

For the TG, it does not require adjustment as it is only a reference signal to Normalize (null) against.
The Normalize process automatically corrects for any TG level errors.

3 tips for use when you are unsure, use the factory Preset to return to defaults.
An AWG with dB units output can be used to check amplitude is near correct.
Keep the firmware up to date.

From the documents here download the correct User manual for your SSA.....there are 3 different series of these instruments.
https://int.siglent.com/download/documents/?CateIdss=6
« Last Edit: August 06, 2020, 08:37:57 pm by tautech »
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Offline avlijas.sladjan

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2020, 09:34:49 pm »
That is all ok, it is not a problem. I can make a manual list of errors on paper and use it when I measure.
But that is not the point of my question.  I ask if it is possible to have some access to the calibration menu (if this instrument has some hidden factory settings menu).
 

Offline xmo

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2020, 01:59:03 am »
Modern instruments are so good that your displayed amplitude should be very close to correct after you run the internal self-cal.

If you have any significant error, the instrument probably need repair, not calibration.

For minor errors or until you can get it repaired, instead of a manual list of errors on paper - put the offsets in an amplitude correction file and let the instrument do the math.
 

Offline avlijas.sladjan

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2020, 07:22:45 am »
Ok, I don't have a problem with my SSA, it works very well. But It will be good to have access to the factory calibration part in software. I did not find anything on the internet about that.
Also old/new instruments, all were made by semiconductors, and all have the same issue (drifting, aging, etc..). You cannot make internal calibration for everything. You cannot calibrate internal amplitude flatness with some software trick, it is impossible. But thanks for the response. :)
 

Online tautech

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2020, 08:37:40 am »
Yes well SSA have a 3 year warranty plus up to 18 months from factory calibration where they are to meet datasheet spec.
After which as previously mentioned Performance verification is the first check of calibration before any adjustment is considered necessary.
If we look at the factory Cal sheet, the instruments used for SSA3021X Plus are:
R&S SMB100A
R&S NRP-291
Agilent 33500B

avlijas.sladjan, a serious question, do you have similarly capable instruments to make adjustments ?
BTW, exactly which model do you have ?

Few have such gear so you might understand a manufacturers reluctance to make adjustment procedures publicly available for fear that a perfectly good instrument is adjusted out of spec and so risk to have their good name tarnished.

If you need to know the authorized calibration partners in your part of the world I can ask as adjustment of this sort of equipment is best left to the professionals.
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Offline avlijas.sladjan

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2020, 11:10:52 am »
I am not a company, and my SSA3021X is only for hobby (many hobbyists have this instrument). I only want to have possibility to make calibration in future (like I have for HP analyzer) or play with it. Now I see that you are an official Siglent distributor, and I understand you. But this analyzer is also a hobby tool, and we need to have the possibility to make some calibration in future. For professional use, it is ok to go and pay for calibration. But for hobbies it will be better to have that access. Also this is linux based (PC), and it is easy to save factory calibration files before any changes, to be sure that is all safe.
By the way, this is a question for people that have the same instrument, and I did not expect to Siglent give me this. :)
 

Offline rf-loop

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #10 on: August 07, 2020, 01:27:20 pm »
Ok, I don't have a problem with my SSA, it works very well. But It will be good to have access to the factory calibration part in software. I did not find anything on the internet about that.
Also old/new instruments, all were made by semiconductors, and all have the same issue (drifting, aging, etc..). You cannot make internal calibration for everything. You cannot calibrate internal amplitude flatness with some software trick, it is impossible. But thanks for the response. :)

If you really want do some nearly "hardcore" experimental tweaking you can do it. But warning. There is no public documentation about it afaik.
Inside system there is factory made calibration data where is example corrections for example attenuator all steps through whole bandwidth... and some other things. But data is not documented so that there is public explanation what is what and how they exactly affect.
When SSA3kX was quite new product I have made some small experimental with this cal_data  using method "try this and try that" and of course some thinking and guessing how this data is arranged and data format.  I remember I made some anomaly to flatness and after then return original data back. But I have not these things with me now because I am  really far from my homeland and do not even know when I can return. 
But if you do things inside system take first copy and also backup copy and backupcopy backup. If you loose original factory calibration data it is like it need go to Siglent for factory cal.

How to get this cal data. You need carefully read older and more new threads here where are all talking about  how some peoples have done some modifications in system.
If practice and theory is not equal it tells that used application of theory is wrong or the theory itself is wrong.
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Offline eplpwr

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #11 on: August 07, 2020, 05:14:25 pm »
Few have such gear so you might understand a manufacturers reluctance to make adjustment procedures publicly available for fear that a perfectly good instrument is adjusted out of spec and so risk to have their good name tarnished.

Wow, grossly insulting a forum member - and a new Siglent customer at that - to cover up for Siglent lack of published calibration procedures. People with spectrum analyzers aren't the average iPhone end-user, you know.  :wtf:

The other week, someone more polite than me pointed out that you have to really, really look youself in the mirror and think about how you come across. This is a repeat of that directive. Yes, not suggestion, directive.  :box:

If I calibrate my equipment totally wrong, that's my problem. I can't recall one instance where a mfg got their name "tarnished" by publishing calibration manuals. It's an invented - or blown out of proportion - non-argument.

You're projecting, judging others by your own strange ways of thinking. Drop it. Now.
 
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Offline CDaniel

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #12 on: August 07, 2020, 05:21:32 pm »
Only really powerful companies publish the calibration procedures , so ...  :-/O
 

Offline avlijas.sladjan

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #13 on: August 07, 2020, 07:27:50 pm »

If you really want do some nearly "hardcore" experimental tweaking you can do it. But warning. There is no public documentation about it afaik.
Inside system there is factory made calibration data where is example corrections for example attenuator all steps through whole bandwidth... and some other things. But data is not documented so that there is public explanation what is what and how they exactly affect.
When SSA3kX was quite new product I have made some small experimental with this cal_data  using method "try this and try that" and of course some thinking and guessing how this data is arranged and data format.  I remember I made some anomaly to flatness and after then return original data back. But I have not these things with me now because I am  really far from my homeland and do not even know when I can return. 
But if you do things inside system take first copy and also backup copy and backupcopy backup. If you loose original factory calibration data it is like it need go to Siglent for factory cal.

How to get this cal data. You need carefully read older and more new threads here where are all talking about  how some peoples have done some modifications in system.

Yes, first that I do on Siglent is save all linux partitions (images) and also calibration data from instruments on few hdd, ssd and cloud location, to be safe in case of nuclear war :D. Yes I see file, but I think that Siglent have some hidden menu with some procedure like on old HP instruments. But it's worse, it can be done with a raw calibration file, with try/check algorithm :)
 

Offline avlijas.sladjan

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #14 on: August 07, 2020, 07:35:51 pm »
Also Siglent will not lose anything if it provides some information for this. Companies that use SA for business will calibrate SA in authorized calibration partners, because all is in paper (cert). Hobbyist will be happy with instruments and self support/calibration procedures to experiment in the garage/home :)
 
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Online noreply

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #15 on: August 07, 2020, 07:57:05 pm »
Calibration in general is a ‘hot’ subject.


Recently I went down the GPSDO (yes I got bitten by a ‘time nut’) rabbit hole, but fortunately for me I found my way out but not before I purchased a frequency counter accurate to 12 digits – that’s 0.000 000 1 Hz resolution.


With the GPSDO - I had a frequency source capable of such accuracy – but no way to check if indeed its really reporting the correct frequency, so I got an instrument that can do this.

Then shortly after I verified my frequency to the above resolution – I realized – how do I know my counter is really accurate to this degree – so before I even answered this question myself – I quickly ‘jumped-out’ of the time nut rabbit hole – as this is never ending. |O


In effect the whole calibration business is similar to the above experience I had.


Of cause it’s nice to have an instrument which you can ‘trust’ – so when the manufacturer, like Siglent in this specific example, publishes specifications for this instrument – then you simply need to trust these – UNLESS you go down your own rabbit hole – albeit only one or two levels , to acquire some other instruments where you CAN check the manufacturers published specifications against the actual which you can now measure.

Me personally, I like to have at least a ONE level higher calibrated instrument – which I can check my ‘daily driver’ against – to make sure I can keep trusting its readings.

At the same time I love to have the full factory instructions of how to perform the calibration procedure on the equipment I purchased.

Having this information does not mean I will jump in and try to re-calibrate myself – I will never do this UNLESS I have equal or superior equipment as specified in the manufacturers calibration procedure.


Why?


Because if I cannot ‘reproduce’ the calibration process – then I will fail.


Having said this, I am sure most people – who purchase these instruments – know very well that if you start fiddling with calibration settings without proper process and equipment – then there is simply no point in doing this as you will end up with an untrusted instrument.


I also believe that manufacturers SHOULD publish service and calibration guides for all of their equipment AND make this available to the owners of their instruments.


Sure, a manufacturer should have the right to WARN the owner of the instrument – not to undertake the calibration process unless they know what they are doing (hopefully they will with the aid of the published document made freely available) AND have suitable equipment.

If the owner ventures down this route themselves – then the manufacturer also should have the right to exclude any ‘calibration issues’ from future warranty claims.

This is a difficult area – because there could be argument – that it’s not the calibration process which is producing erroneous results – but some form of HW fault instead, so any future warranty claims are now really hard to process BOTH for the owner and the manufacturer.

So, I guess best approach is to simply VOID warranty if you perform ‘self-calibration’ – this way it at least covers the manufacturer from potential calibration related faults, but also exposes the owner to a possible REAL HW failure.

I guess this is the biggest issue and there is really no easy answer. (I guess this is what tautech was most likely hinting at?)



As an example – some manufacturers – of the ‘oldie’ instruments do indeed provide service and calibration manuals.

Recently I had the opportunity to see such a manual for the Marconi Instruments (now IFR) 2025 RF Signal Generator.

Here is a link for you reference …

https://ia800201.us.archive.org/20/items/marconi_Marconi_2023A_2024A_2025_Service_Manual/Marconi_2023A_2024A_2025_Service_Manual.pdf


This is one of the best service and calibration guides I have seen – with full schematics and BOM.

How many ‘modern’ manufacturers are willing to do this TODAY with their products?

Well the simple answer is NONE! (I could be wrong - so please correct me if you think someone does)

But to be fair, maybe Marconi Instruments may have not made this publication available 15 years ago also – but it was available and I am sure with proper requests would be made available to an owner of the instrument.


Since the topic of this thread is
 
Siglent SSA Calibration procedure

Have a look at Page 72 of the above document  - ADJUSTMENT PROCEDURES
 
we are talking about ‘calibration’ documentation published on 8 March 1999 – that’s over 20 years ago!

Do you think – even if TODAY’s manufacturers did release their calibration documentation – it would be as detailed as the above 20 year old document?



Ok, I think I just had a mini RANT – sorry about this  |O


But what I really wanted to say is that the release of Calibration Procedures for various instruments by their respective manufacturers is a complex subject.

To defend tautech (and others standing on the manufacturers side of the fence) – I can see why manufacturers are not willing to release this information – for various reasons already given above, BUT at the same time owners of the equipment must have the right to be able to have access to this information once requested through proper channels.

Since Siglent has a forum representative (technical support?) and also an active distributor based in NZ, there should be sufficient traction here on this forum to ‘formally’ ask Siglent nicely for the release of their SSA Calibration procedure.

I am sure if we approach this sensitive subject in a controlled and respectful way – we should get a favorable response from Siglent.  :popcorn:
 
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Online tautech

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #16 on: August 07, 2020, 08:25:56 pm »
@noreply
Thank you, nice summary and yes I can already guess Siglents answer as I have been pushing for nearly 1 year for manual calibration routines for other instruments, namely those populated with LM399 references that are known to age and for these Siglent do have an unreleased routine and are to date very reluctant to make it public precisely for the reasons I have already given.

However in time if it is evident there is a proven real requirement for manual adjustment routines they will come however I do not expect them to be publicly available unless there is a change of policy at HQ.



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Online noreply

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #17 on: August 07, 2020, 10:03:17 pm »
Siglent do have an unreleased routine and are to date very reluctant to make it public ...

You need to remember, for the reasons already given - every OWNER (someone who paid money to Siglent - or another manufacturer as the case might be) should have the right to obtain service and calibration manual - IF IT EXISTS.

... precisely for the reasons I have already given.

The folk here and in general who purchase SSA's are more than capable in understanding the issues relating to 'self calibration'.

The arguments BOTH of us provided - which are good reasons for the manufacturers - should in no way preclude their responsibility to provide such calibration documents to OWNERS on a controlled request basis.

Despite potential problems - the majority of OWNERS will most likely not indulge in their own destruction by venturing into calibration process blindly.

Look at history, and it clearly proves that providing full service and calibration manuals does not destroy the product or the manufacturers reputation.

Marconi Instruments, HP, and I am sure many other 'oldies' are exposed to OWNERS doing their own servicing and calibration where required - do you ever hear any 'bad' about the manufacturer or the instrument in question?

To the contrary, in my personal experience, I am amazed at how good a 20 year old Marconi Instruments 2025 really is - I can only praise the manufacturer who designed and made it and more importantly allowed me to be able to maintain it to a serviceable condition by giving me access to the calibration procedures.


Just take a moment and think about it  :palm:


If Siglent factory is 'pushing' their argument that OWNERS will screw it up argument - they are not being honest.


There are other reasons at paly most likely.


These could be ...


1. They don't want to reveal the 'design' because we might see it was not theirs in the first place - with regard to the Siglent SSA - its based on a 10 year old HP - copied 90% including complex mainboard layouts (there is a post in this forum that discusses this in detail )?

2. They don't have a 'published calibration process' - the SSA is connected to a calibration automat - in essence several instruments controlled via instrumentation bus / network - performing automated 'sweeps' and creating calibration file - which is loaded into SSA - this can take 10 min via automat process. So if 'human' did this manually it might take all day, but nevertheless something they could do if the appropriate data was made available regarding the process?

3. They provide data to 'authorized' agents who perform calibration services AND this is a significant part of their business model with regard to revenue?

4. They could be afraid that someone might criticize the calibration process - because it might not be elaborate at all. They rely on semiconductors being self calibrated - good enough for the instrument to work within the published specifications - but when the semiconductors 'age' naturally - they are no longer able to be put back into specification - and there is no way to recalibrate without changing them?  (in effect I guess same as you implied with the  LM399 references). Remember - providing calibration headroom requires purpose designed circuitry to be included on mainboard - this is costly in design overhead AND components. Sever cost cutting methodology would preclude this approach and favor semiconductors being within specifications for prolonged periods. I hope Siglent is not using this methodology - there should be no reason for them to do this in my humble opinion.

5. Lots of other 'lame' excused from OWNERS perspective - but I'm sure justified to Siglent


However in time if it is evident there is a proven real requirement for manual adjustment routines they will come ...

This is a great opportunity for the 'time to come' NOW

Siglent should make a lead and provide this information to OWNERS as outlined above.


... however I do not expect them to be publicly available unless there is a change of policy at HQ.

It is people like you their distributors and the many OWNERS of their products - who populate this forum - that are perfect instruments who can EASILY change the policy at HQ.

Just take your Siglent Distributor cap (Im sure you got some merch which is similar) and 'flip it' - now tautech you are a OWNER rep who is perfectly equipped to make all of the above sentiments known to the factory.

A positive response from Siglent will not only make you a hero of the forums and every existing and future OWNER of their instruments, but you will also most likely increase their instrument sales - BECAUSE THEY WOULD LEAD in being first to do this officially.

Hope the above is some food for thought  :popcorn:
 
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Offline EEVblog

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #18 on: August 08, 2020, 03:06:09 am »
Few have such gear so you might understand a manufacturers reluctance to make adjustment procedures publicly available for fear that a perfectly good instrument is adjusted out of spec and so risk to have their good name tarnished.

Wow, grossly insulting a forum member - and a new Siglent customer at that - to cover up for Siglent lack of published calibration procedures. People with spectrum analyzers aren't the average iPhone end-user, you know.  :wtf:

The other week, someone more polite than me pointed out that you have to really, really look youself in the mirror and think about how you come across. This is a repeat of that directive. Yes, not suggestion, directive.  :box:

If I calibrate my equipment totally wrong, that's my problem. I can't recall one instance where a mfg got their name "tarnished" by publishing calibration manuals. It's an invented - or blown out of proportion - non-argument.

You're projecting, judging others by your own strange ways of thinking. Drop it. Now.

But that's not what happens in reality. many people will use the cal information, think they can do it, screw it up, and then try and claim it under warranty. This is why most manufacturers are reluctant to reveal calibration procedures to the public.
 

Offline avlijas.sladjan

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #19 on: August 08, 2020, 08:18:15 am »
Hi Dave,
First, thanks for good videos like Siglent SSA3021X teardown. I bought this instrument after looking at these videos. I use this SA almost every day in my house and after a few years it still works perfectly. I was very happy to have it. Also thanks to Michael Zeng from Siglent and all Siglent guys for helping me to buy this SSA.
 But it will be good to have a calibration procedure, maybe not an official document. Maybe someone can find this unofficially. For us engineers who love to teardown instruments to see what is inside, that will be very good to have it. Also original calibration can be signed to confirm changes for warranty.

Also I have one thing that will be good to have on Siglent. It is an "IF OUT" signal to back on instrument. Maybe Siglent can add "IF OUT" in the next generation.

Also, SSA30XX has some very dangerous things, that is USB connector. USB type B cables (many of the cables that I test) don't have gnd connection with the instrument (cable shielding will not connect to instrument shielding because the connector does not touch it). Also the USB data line is connected directly to the CPU, without ESD diodes, and in case of ESD or anything from the host computer (if host computers have switching power supply) it will blow USB (I have this situation in my job, with SSA3032X). Siglent says that this was fixed in SSA Plus , but if someone uses old SSA, maybe better is to use ethernet for remote operation :)
 

Offline eplpwr

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #20 on: August 08, 2020, 10:14:16 am »
But that's not what happens in reality. many people will use the cal information, think they can do it, screw it up, and then try and claim it under warranty. This is why most manufacturers are reluctant to reveal calibration procedures to the public.

Question is, to what degree is this a problem? I don't have figures from any mfg, so unless someone publishes this information we're all just guessing. My guess is that it's a very low number. The possible causes listed by @noreply are, IMHO, rather likely a cause for not publishing the procedures. But that's still guesswork. My old cell phone has a fuse that get's blown when you hack it, that's OK with me; the fuse is blown - why not do something similar for test equipment?

Among the best things on this forum is the hacking and tinkering going on. Someone HW modifying their scope to 1 GHz! Others helping "liberate" SW features from "factory disabled" instruments!  :-+ The list goes on... Not being able to self-adjust your own equipment goes against this, methinks. (Could be that selling the budget model and liberating it is driving sales, so it's OK with the mfg.)

What if I want to do a daily calibration to 24h specs (where such specs exists)? What if I, for OCD reasons, want to adjust my equipment to a higher standard than the mfg specs? This of course assuming I have good standards, and calibration in this case implying cal+adjust+cal when needed. When no documentation is available, there's always the resident hackers in this place, finding how to modify the cal constants directly, but using a mfg-documented sequence of commands would be safer.

I want as much documentation and control over my equipment as possible - manufacturers that give out this information gets a lot of goodwill from me. Ideally you should get:
1. Operating guide
2. Remote programming guide
3. Calibration and adjustments guide
4. Schematics

I think 1-3 is needed for TEQ above handheld DMM, 4 is scoring extra points.


« Last Edit: August 08, 2020, 10:19:34 am by eplpwr »
 

Online tv84

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #21 on: August 08, 2020, 10:40:07 am »
There are now a bunch of equipments "liberated" beyond marketing limits that need the calib procedure for the rest of the BW. Some of them Rigol.  ;)

By all means, continue your quest! :)

Let me add the following: I've seen in this forum sufficient knowledge to devise the calib procedure, with the help of reversers. But, real knowledge is needed together with the appropriate equipments. Not easy to gather this in one team.
 
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Offline Orange

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #22 on: August 09, 2020, 08:31:52 am »
Hi,
Attached is a calibration set for an SSA3032X. I made it as a back-up, and to adjust the TG levels. Mine was calibrated only to 2.1 GHz and the output levels from 2.1...3.2 GHz had severe dips...
 (so called calibrated from the factory).

I only made changes to the TG part, where you can figure out which values to change, make it relatively flat again. Lucky these the values are decimals. (freq, and relative level)
I managed to get them better. File in question was cali_tg

For all the other values in the many files that comprise the total calibration, it is a real challenge, since most of them are hex numbers.

And yes I have other test equipment to verify my gear. The SSA3021X I got was changed to 3.2GHZ, and it was OK for the entire range, except the TG.

Anyway, with the current state of affairs, where scripts from tv84 can brick your instrument, I would not take the risk again to start messing with it if it was a new instrument.
 
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Online tautech

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #23 on: August 09, 2020, 08:50:40 am »
Orange, how old is your SSA ?
Early units were known to not have good TG flatness, might your unit be one of those ?

However, AFAIK there were some HW changes also to address TG levels but you say you did it in SW ?
This, some 5 years ago:
https://www.eevblog.com/forum/testgear/siglent-ssa3000x-spectrum-analyzers/msg884754/#msg884754
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Online tv84

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Re: Siglent SSA Calibration procedure
« Reply #24 on: August 09, 2020, 08:56:12 am »
where scripts from tv84 can brick your instrument

That's a bold statement. The only script suspicious is the NAND dump .ADS for the SSA, since then removed.

Although not sure if it is from the script...

So, for those that want to play around with calibs in the SSA, I suggest trying a telnet and issuing the NAND backup commands there before doing any changes.
 


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