Thursday 4 February 2010

Microwave switch system adopted for test suite

Keithley Instruments has announced that LeCroy Corporation has chosen Keithley’s System 46 (S46) RF/Microwave Switch System as part of the original equipment for its new USB 3.0 Test Suite product family. Keithley’s S46 switch is engineered to simplify the automated switching needed to test a wide range of telecommunications products and devices, including Bluetooth devices. The USB 3.0 Test Suite represents the industry’s first single-source lineup of test instruments that can comprehensively support the Universal Serial Bus (USB) 3.0 standard, also known as SuperSpeed USB.

James J. Mueller, LeCroy’s VP of Measurement Technology, explains, “We chose the Keithley S46 switch for the USB 3.0 Test Suite because it was capable of handling the broad range of signals the instruments in this test suite will encounter. The S46 allows us to route transmitter output from a device under test to the receiver input of our Protocol-enabled Receiver and Transmitter Tolerance Tester (PeRT3 ™) or an oscilloscope, such as our WaveMaster™ 8 Zi Oscilloscopes. Additionally, the S46 allows us to route the transmitter output from the PeRT 3 directly to the receiver input of the device under test or to the oscilloscope for calibration.”

Mark Hoersten, Keithley’s Vice President, Marketing, notes, “The S46’s standard configurations make it simple for manufacturers like LeCroy to select a system that meets the specifications of the testing application without the expense of unnecessary switches or other features. The ‘just what you need and no more’ design philosophy on which our S46 systems are based helps LeCroy to provide its customers with outstanding price/performance value.”

The S46 RF/Microwave Switch is widely used in applications such as testing cellular and cordless phones, specialized mobile radios, base stations, specialized antenna systems, RF components including RFICs, wireless peripherals, including Bluetooth devices, broadband wireless transceivers, high speed digital communications including SONET devices with speeds of 3Gbps and 10Gbps. The standard S46 system is specified for a bandwidth of 18GHz; custom S46 systems can support bandwidths up to 40GHz. As test requirements change, relays can be easily added to the system to create a new switch configuration.

The S46 controller automatically counts relay contact closures to allow equipment maintenance personnel to assess when the relays are nearing the end of their mechanical life. In this way, preventive maintenance can be performed in a timely way during scheduled shutdowns, avoiding unplanned shutdowns and the resulting loss of production time. In addition to counting contact closures, the S46 has a portion of its memory available to store S-parameters or calibration constants for each relay contact or each pathway. If a specific performance parameter is critical, such as Voltage Standing Wave Ratio (VSWR) or insertion loss, the parameter can be stored in memory for use in trend analysis between scheduled maintenance shutdowns. Stored parameters can also be used for compensation to enhance accuracy during RF measurements.

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