Tektronix adds TriMode probes, previews IsoVu

Tektronix Inc Pat Byrne
Tektronix, a manufacturer of oscilloscopes, introduced the P7700 series of TriMode probes for use with Tektronix performance oscilloscopes.

The US-based test solutions company will also preview its new IsoVu technology at the APEC 2016, and revealed automated compliance test solution for the NBASE-T specification.

The P7700 series of TriMode probes, which will compliment Tektronix performance oscilloscopes and validation and debug tools for LPDDR memory, MIPI mobile standards and high-speed serial standards such as USB 3.1 and PCI Express, claim to offer up to 20GHz bandwidth.

The technology company said the P7700 series of TriMode probes will assist designers to ease challenges when debugging circuits found in the latest mobile and enterprise designs by minimizing probe loading, improving access to smaller, more-densely packed test locations and lowering overall cost of ownership.

Unlike other probe designs that use long tip cables connected to a remote amplifier, the P7700 Series probes feature a design where the probe’s input amplifier is located 4mm from the connection point, minimizing signal loss, probe tip capacitance and noise, making it efficient for the testing and debugging of the latest standards from LPDDR4 to MIPI D-PHY and C-PHY, all of which require probes that minimize signal loss.

They also use compact solder tips that fit into tight spots to minimize the impact on the small size components on the board. Also, the P7700 series probes introduce the TekFlex connector which is designed to be easily attached to and provides the user with a reliable, secure connection. Each P7700 series probe comes with low-cost solder tips that support full bandwidth performance for the probes.

“The new P7700 Series are the perfect complement to our comprehensive test solutions and high-performance oscilloscopes, allowing designers to probe low-power devices with greater fidelity and more convenient signal access than ever before,” said Chris Witt, general manager, Probe Solutions and Mainstream Oscilloscopes, Tektronix.

The IsoVu technology, which will be revealed at the APEC (an event for applied power electronics) 2016 show, will offer galvanic isolation between a device under test (DUT) and an oscilloscope through the use of electro-optical sensors.

It will be the industry’s first measurement solution capable of accurately resolving high bandwidth differential signals in the presence of large common mode voltage. The technology will also offer immunity to external interference and radiated emissions, minimizing the impact of EMI on measurements, offering 120 dB (1 Million:1) common mode rejection from DC to 100 MHz which is 33,000 times better than previously available measurement systems.

At 1 GHz, it will provide 80 dB (10,000:1) common mode rejection at 1 GHz, which is more than a thousand times better than previously available measurement systems. As a result, users will be able to measure anywhere in their circuit without common mode interference. The IsoVu technology being shown at APEC has the potential to visualize differential signals(5 mV – 50 V) in the presence of large common mode voltages less than 2 kV from DC to 1 GHz, when common mode interference is present and can make measurements in noisy environments or in those that have high EMI.

This will be the first signal acquisition product where the common mode voltage capability does not de-rate over bandwidth. It utilizes an electro-optic sensor to convert the input signal to optical modulation, which electrically isolates the device-under-test from the oscilloscope.

IsoVu will incorporate four separate lasers, an optical sensor, five optical fibers, and sophisticated feedback and control techniques. The sensor head, which connects to the test point, has complete electrical isolation and is powered over one of the optical fibers. Ten patent disclosures have been filed for this technology.

Also, Tektronix plans to offer a 10 meter fiber optic cable option with the same performance specifications as the 3 meter option to allow users to move their test system away from the interference and radiated emissions of the device under test, so that it will be well-suited for applications such as remote testing and EMI validation.

“By moving to an optical connection, this technology has the potential to eliminate that as a problem and as a result could significantly advance the state-of-the-art in power measurement and EMI test systems,” said Earl Thompson, senior vice president, Time Domain Business Unit, Tektronix.

The automated compliance test solution for the NBASE-T specification and the emerging IEEE 802.3bz standard are based on the TekExpress framework for high-performance Tektronix oscilloscopes, and cover 2.5G, 5G and 10G data rates in a single solution making it easy to quickly test devices incorporating multiple speeds.

The NBASE-T specification and IEEE 802.3bz standard define 2.5 and 5 gigabit per second speeds over the large installed based of copper cabling found in enterprise networks and college campuses, universally. The effort to move the industry to these speeds is being driven by the NBASE-T Alliance, which has already released PHY and MAC/PHY interface specifications.

The IEEE 802.3bz Task Force is also working on a standard that is expected to be compatible with the NBASE-T specification. The new application automates the complex NBASE-T/IEEE 802.3bz compliance testing and debug process with features such as automated oscilloscope set up, multiple lane test support, full data acquisition capabilities and custom reporting.

Flexible control over test configurations and parameters enable advanced margin testing while integrated return loss testing eliminates the need for a costly additional vector network analyzer.

The P7700 series TriMode probes and the Tektronix NBASE-T/IEEE 802.3bz solution are both available for order worldwide, at $8,500 with a set of 5 TekFlex solder tips available for $250, and at $6,800, respectively.

Vina Krishnan
[email protected]