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Oscilloscopes carry hardware-based mask limit testing

Posted: 09 Dec 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mask limit test? hardware based? oscilloscope?

Agilent Technologies Inc. has released what it claims to be the first hardware-based mask limit testing application for general-purpose oscilloscopes. Hardware-based mask testing helps users test hardware in seconds instead of the hours it takes with software-based solutions. The Agilent application is suitable for engineers working in manufacturing and R&D who need to validate the quality and stability of electronic components and systems.

The application offers a sustained test rate of up to 89,000 pass/fail mask tests per second, so engineers can rapidly obtain confidence in their design's ability to operate within specified limits. In conventional mask-testing solutions, oscilloscopes typically test about 10 to 60 waveforms per second using software-based algorithms. This method appears to be responsive, but it takes several seconds to accumulate enough data to be statistically meaningful. To acquire enough points for Six Sigma resolutionor a defect rate of 3.4 parts per millionwould take almost 1.5 hours, or more if failures were found in the signals. Agilent's hardware-accelerated mask testing solution maintains an ultrafast waveform update rate of 100,000 waveforms per second, which decreases this 1.5-hour test time to only 3.3 sec.

The new mask limit testing application (N5455A or Option -LMT with new oscilloscope purchases) is available as part of the most recent InfiniiVision 5.2 software release for all InfiniiVision 5000, 6000 and 7000 Series oscilloscopes. Also included in the 5.2 release are changes to the existing segmented memory option (N5454A or Option SGM) that allow customers to save all segments contiguously into a single CSV/ASCII/BIN file. It also includes changes to the existing RS-232/UART serial triggering and decode option (N5457A or Option 232) that enable ASCII data triggering and user-definable BAUD rates up to 3Mbit/s.

Agilent's complete portfolio of oscilloscopes is available in a variety of form factors, from 20MHz to 90GHz, offering industry-leading specifications and powerful applications.

The Agilent N5455A mask limit testing software will be available on Dec. 16. Pricing starts at $625. The InfiniiVision feature upgrades will also be available on Dec. 16. The upgrade fee is $100.

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