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Gough Lui's Blog

105 posts
It has been a while since my last update for my Keithley 2450 SMU RoadTest, however, it seems that there have been some relatively-recently released improvements to the firmware and KickStart 2 software which are worth noting. While I was aware of these updates a little earlier, I've been quite busy (as has the SMU) so I didn't have an opportunity to apply the updates and evaluate them until now. As a result, I decided to write this "short" blog post to cover these changes.   Firmware Updat ...
It’s the holiday season – traditionally a time for reflection and being thankful for our blessings. Around element14, there are plenty of reasons to be thankful – a community of mostly like-minded professional engineers, mentors, hobbyists, tinkerers and enthusiasts backed by a multi-national electronics component distributor and services firm. In return, we are blessed with a lot of opportunities including design challenges, Project 14 and especially the coveted RoadTest progr ...
While the last section looked at MOSFETs, this final section will cover some of the results from my experiments on lighting technologies. The first section will look at the humble NE-2 neon indicator bulb and trying to build a nice I-V curve from actual data. The next section will explore the possibility of running conventional mains-powered light globes from high voltage DC – something that is not ordinarily done. I will also check out the transient performance of the 2450 – a set o ...
As one of the fortunate members to be selected to RoadTest the Keithley 2450 SMU, I delivered a review earlier this year with a significant caveat as a hardware issue stopped me from being able to perform some of the experiments I had initially planned. Following on from my series of follow-up posts comes this instalment which fittingly comes back full-circle to the experiment which led me to the discovery of the hardware issue in the first place.   Source-Measure Units, or SMUs for short, ...
Now that the Keithley 2450 SMU has passed its initiation and been “accepted” by my family of instruments, it’s time to look at various applications of the SMU. During my original RoadTest review, I had already looked at some basic I-V testing (with KickStart 2, I-V Tracer and TSP-Scripting) including diodes, LEDs, MOVs, neons and MOSFETs. After the RoadTest was delivered, I used the SMU for some I-V characterisation of an Epishine Light Energy Harvesting organic PV module and s ...
Now that I’ve had my 2450 SMU serviced, returning with a fresh calibration, the first thing I thought I’d do was to check the calibration of the 2450 SMU against my suite of instruments - or more accurately, check the calibration of my instruments against the 2450 SMU. As the SMU is a precision instrument with very tight programming and read-back accuracy specifications, it is capable of generating very precise voltages and currents. While you can’t “calibrate” inst ...
Things have been quite busy, so I haven’t had a chance to bring everyone an update on my Keithley 2450 RoadTest. Since I delivered the original review with caveats, I’ve completed two RoadTests (Omron 2JCIE-EV-AR01 Environmental Sensor and Vishay SiC461 Synchronous Buck EVB) while my day-to-day work has consumed virtually all of my thoughts. But since we’re coming up to the end-of-year shutdowns, I finally got a chance to get back to blogging.   When I left you with the l ...
I worked hard to quickly deliver a comprehensive Omron Sensor Evaluation Board 2JCIE-EV RoadTest Review as it seemed to be a rather straightforward. This was because I had other things to worry about including the current RoadTest I'm undertaking and dealing with the fall-out from a previous RoadTest that is still awaiting its ultimate conclusion. One of the key reasons I wanted to evaluate the Omron was for the B5W-LD0101 air quality/dust sensor, as I have never dealt with a pulse-out LED-based ...
I was the first to publish my review of the Keithley 2450 SMU in July this year, however, the review itself was couched in a major caveat. This was the fact that the instrument was not performing correctly under certain circumstances and appeared to have some quirks which were still being investigated.   I have maintained contact (where possible) with Tektronix representatives since my first contact on 22nd May, providing further information where possible and also examining some of their ...
For most instruments, this chapter is perhaps the most exciting one as I delve into the instrument’s performance capabilities across a number of parameters. However, this time around for some metrics especially, I have been thwarted by two considerations – the first is the instrument’s exemplary capabilities which sometimes well exceed the capabilities of my test equipment suite, and secondly, the issues experienced with the instrument itself which may make these results atypic ...
This in-depth blog posting considers the ways in which I-V testing can be performed “on-device” using the Keithley 2450 SMU in standalone operation.   On-Device I-V Tracing, Let Me Count the Ways! Performing I-V testing on the Keithley 2450 SMU can be achieved in a number of ways. Included by default in the firmware of the unit is the “sweep generator” function. When combined with the onboard graphing functions, you can perform an I-V sweep without the need for a PC. ...
This blog focuses on using the Keithley KickStart 2 software with the 2450 SMU, which provides the I-V Characterizer function for PC-connected I-V tracing.   *PLEASE READ* - This Review is with Caveats! Unfortunately, the SMU I received appears to have a hardware fault causing problems with its 200V range and also produces some occasional unexpected readings even at lower voltages. I have been in contact with representatives from both the Singapore and US branches of Tektronix since 22nd Ma ...
This blog looks at the Keithley 2450 SMU’s remote interfaces and programming capability.   USB Connectivity The Keithley 2450 offers both a front panel USB-A connection and a rear panel USB-B connection. The front panel supports the use of USB Mass Storage Devices with FAT/FAT32 format for saving buffer data, arbitrary data from executing scripts, screenshots and configuration data. It is also used for loading scripts and updated firmware.   The rear USB connection allows the de ...
What is the Keithley 2450 SMU like to use and what do I think of it? This blog looks at the process of getting up-and-running with the 2450 SMU, the user interface and features, my opinion on the user experience, the quality of the documentation and a short experiment involving battery discharge and logging.   Initial Setup & Firmware Upgrade Initial setup of the 2450 SMU is very simple – it’s pretty much as close to plug-and-play as possible, as there are no voltage selecto ...
This blog posting will concentrate on the unboxing process, providing our first introduction to the Keithley 2450 SMU.   Unboxing Process The unit comes inside a long cardboard box, with the distinctly Keithley logo in the top left corner of the side of the box. It also clearly proclaims it to be a Tektronix company, which it has been since 2010.   The side of the box has labels which provide more details on the unit inside. This unit claims to be manufactured 19th December 2019, ...