Finding a Cost-effective Power Source for Precision Measurement Applications

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[ INTRODUCTION ]

1.gifFinding a cost-effective power source for precision measurement applications can be a challenging task. Analog-to-digital (ADC) converter circuits often require power sources with at least 20 bits of resolution. Voltage controlled oscillator (VCO) applications can require noise floors of 10 V rms or less. While there are existing instruments and measurement techniques that can perform these measurements, the cost of the solutions can often run into tens of thousands of dollars.

In addition, many low-frequency (10 kHz or less) applications often need voltages and currents greater than typical signal generators can source. Finally, it can be very cumbersome to use a PC to control instruments in a benchtop lab environment, so a self-contained solution with a small profile, interactive GUI and built-in graphing capability is highly desirable.

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[ PRODUCT OVERVIEW ]

The B2961A (1-channel) and B2962A (2-channel) 6.5 Digit Low Noise Power Source are low-noise precision power sources that can meet these measurement challenges in addition to providing other useful capabilities. Pictures of both the front and rear of these instruments are shown below.
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Figure 1. Front view of the B2962A Power Source.
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Figure 2. Rear view of the B2962A Power Source.
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Figure 3. B2961A and B2962A voltage and current sourcing capabilities.
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Figure 4. Detail of the B2961A and B2962A channel outputs.
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Figure 5. Diagram showing how a 4-wire (Kelvin) measurement eliminates cable resistance.
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Figure 9. The B2961A and B2962A possess a programmable output resistance feature that can have both positive and negative values.

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[ LOW NOISE FILTER OPTION AND APPLICATIONS ] (LNF)
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Figure 13. Block diagram of servo loop test method.
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Figure 14. Testing an ADC using the B2961A/B2962A with the LNF option.

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[ ULTRA-LOW NOISE FILTER OPTION AND APPLICATIONS ] (ULNF)
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Figure 17. VCO characterization using the B2962A with two ULNF options.
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[ SUMMARY ]

This technical overview has outlined some of the capabilities and applications of the B2961A and B2962A low-noise power sources. Their 6.5 digit sourcing resolution and wide bipolar output range give them great versatility as general purpose benchtop power sources. Their ability to source a variety of voltage and current waveforms in either DC or pulsed mode allows them to be used in many applications that cannot be covered by conventional DC power supplies. Their programmable output resistance and V-I emulation capabilities further enhance their usefulness as general purpose debugging tools. Finally, their LNF and ULNF options give them the ability to help with the tough measurement challenges presented by ADC and VCO evaluation.

The B2961A and B2962A can provide measurement performance that was previously only available from much more expensive instrumentation. The following table summarizes the B2961A/B2962A and their key accessories.
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Product Number Description
B2961A 6.5 Digit Low-Noise Power Source, 1 channel
B2962A 6.5 Digit Low-Noise Power Source, 2 channel
N1294A-001 2-wire (non-Kelvin) banana to triaxial adapter
N1294A-002 4-wire (Kelvin) banana to triaxial adapter
N1294A-021 Ultra Low Noise Filter (42 V/105 mA) for B2961A/B2962A
N1294A-022 Low Noise Filter (210 V/ 3 A) for B2961A/B2962A

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