Pat Hindle, MWJ Editor
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Pat Hindle is responsible for editorial content, article review and special industry reporting for Microwave Journal magazine and its web site in addition to social media and special digital projects. Prior to joining the Journal, Mr. Hindle held various technical and marketing positions throughout New England, including Marketing Communications Manager at M/A-COM (Tyco Electronics), Product/QA Manager at Alpha Industries (Skyworks), Program Manager at Raytheon and Project Manager/Quality Engineer at MIT. Mr. Hindle graduated from Northeastern University - Graduate School of Business Administration and holds a BS degree from Cornell University in Materials Science Engineering.
EMC/EMI (Electromagnetic Compatibility/Electromagnetic Interference) channel / Test & Measurement Channel - Leading Manufacturer News, Articles & Content

Measurement Instruments for the Many

December 10, 2018

Rohde & Schwarz has always been known for high end, very accurate instruments in the high frequency and high speed industry which typically translates into high cost products. Some of these high precision instruments can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. But did you know that R&S has a portfolio of value class instruments with more than 100 products and 300 accessories? Some of the new introductions included the R&S®RTB2000 Oscilloscope, the R&S®RTM3000 Oscilloscope, the R&S®RTA4000 Oscilloscope, the R&S®FPC1500 Spectrum Analyzer and the R&S®HMP4040 Power Supply. From their recent release, here is a summary of the new value instrument additions they highlighted.

R&S’s value-class oscilloscopes go beyond the features of a traditional oscilloscope; the instrument includes a logic analyzer, protocol analyzer, waveform and pattern generator and voltmeter in the same instrument. Featuring the power of 10, Rohde & Schwarz’s value instrument oscilloscopes include a class exclusive 10-bit analog-to-digital converter (A/D converter), 10s of Msamples of memory and a 10.1-inch touchscreen offering the highest resolution in its class: 1280x800 pixel. The technology’s 10-bit A/D converter provides sharper waveforms and more signal details, compared to conventional 8-bit A/D converters, yielding up to four-fold improvement.

RTB2000R&S®RTB2000 Oscilloscope
The R&S®RTB2000 oscilloscope features a 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen that allows users to quickly navigate pop-up menus and adjust scaling by zooming in or moving a waveform. A memory depth of 10 Msample is available on every channel if all channels are active, or users can benefit from 20 Msample when channels are interleaved. The R&S®RTB2000 offers 10 times more memory than comparable oscilloscopes, allowing users to capture longer signal sequences for more analysis results. Starting at $1,370 USD, the R&S®RTB2000 oscilloscope features a frequency range of 70 MHz to 300 MHz. This tool is well suited for troubleshooting embedded designs during development, or settings such as university laboratories and production and service departments.

RTM3000R&S®RTM3000 Oscilloscope
The R&S®RTM3000 oscilloscope offers a frequency range of 100 MHz to 1 GHz and is available starting at $3,560 USD. The oscilloscope features a custom 10-bit A/D converter to deliver four-fold improvement over conventional 8-bit A/D converters, providing users with sharper waveforms and more signal details. As with the R&S®RTB2000, the R&S®RTM3000 features a 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen in compact form. This is the largest capacitive display with the highest resolution (1290x800 pixel) in its class.

R&S®RTA4000 Oscilloscope
Designed with class-leading signal integrity and responsive ultra-deep memory, the R&S®RTA4000 oscilloscope brings the power of 10 to a new level. The R&S®RTA4000 is specifically designed to address signal integrity, helping users avoid compromising measurement accuracy for an affordable instrument. Compared to other oscilloscopes in its class, the R&S®RTA4000 includes standard ultra-deep memory, 100 Msample per channel, or 200 Msample in interleaved mode, and a fast update rate to overcome any challenge. The product’s class-leading low noise allows users to maximize use of the resolution available, ultimately revealing signals that may be hidden in the noise of other oscilloscopes. This high-resolution decimation allows the R&S®RTA4000 to provide up to 16-bit vertical resolution, a resolution previously unseen in a value class instrument. Starting at $5,950 USD, the R&S®RTA4000 also features a frequency range of 200 MHz to 1 GHz, outstanding sensitivity down to 500 µV/div and class-leading time-based accuracy of ±0.5 ppm to ensure accurate measurements over long time periods. Ideal for applications ranging from EMI debugging to power integrity and power analysis, the R&S®RTA4000 adapts to project updates as needed to best grow with user needs.

Spectrum Analyzer
FPC1500R&S®FPC1500 Spectrum Analyzer

The R&S®FPC1500 spectrum analyzer is the only entry-level spectrum analyzer on the market with the value and capabilities of a three-in-one instrument – a spectrum analyzer, vector network analyzer and a signal generator starting under $3,000 USD. Featuring a frequency range of 5 kHz to 1 GHz, the R&S®FPC1500 can be upgraded to 2 GHz or 3 GHz frequency. In addition to being able to measure RF signals, it is also an RF signal generator and features a tracking generator and independent CW signal generator. The R&S®FPC1500 spectrum analyzer also includes a one-port vector network analyzer with Smith chart display, a signal generator, internal voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR) bridge, independent signal source and resolution bandwidth settings down to 1 Hz. The R&S®FPC1500 includes a 10.1-inch Wide XGA (WXGA) display (1366 x 768 pixel), is Wi-Fi-enabled and includes a remote control capability. It is compatible with iOS, Android and PCs and features low noise floor and high maximum input power.

Power Supply
R&S®HMP4040 Power Supply

As the only power supply on the market featuring four channels, The R&S®HMP4040 power supply offers a maximum voltage of 128 V and maximum current of 40 A, up to 10 A output current per channel. 160 W of channel power is available with the R&S®HMP4040, and unlike other power supplies available on the market, the product offers the same voltage range on all channels. The R&S®HMP4040 comes standard with a dual USB/LAN interface and locates all basic functions on the front panel to allow for direct access. Offering high efficiency and low residual ripple, the product includes a wide variety of protection features to prevent damage to the instrument and the device under test (DUT), such as overtemperature, overload and short-circuit protection.

There have been several companies in the last few years introducing value instruments that were not previously available in the industry. Copper Mountain has a broad line of USB powered VNAs starting under $3,000; Signal Hound has spectrum analyzers and generators starting under $1000; and Tektronix oscilloscopes and spectrum analyzers starting around $1000. There are also the super value instruments from companies such as Rigol (oscilloscopes and signal generators); RF Explorer (spectrum analyzer) and Triarchy (USB spectrum analyzer) all staring around $300.

While R&S has been known for offering high end instruments, they now offer a plethora of value instruments including oscilloscopes with 10-bit A/D converters for many uses such as in universities, production/service departments, IoT and automotive, small companies and other applications that do not need the high precision or broad frequency ranges of the more costly instruments (that they also provide). These instruments offer a strong value in that they have both a low price and relatively high level of performance compared to competing instruments.

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