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Gough Lui's Blog

97 posts
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, ...
This blog looks at what a source-measurement unit is, what it does, why you might want one, how it might simplify your test regimes and what you might use it for. Then, we discuss the specifications of the bench-top style SMUs on the market and their relative strengths and weaknesses.   What is an SMU? A source-measurement unit, or SMU for short, can be thought of as a precision voltage/current source and meter in the one unit. Operating over all four quadrants, the SMU is able to source an ...
I reviewed the Rohde & Schwarz HMP4040.04 back in October 2018, which was unfortunately damaged in transit. After almost a year without any resolution, I decided to crack it open and attempt a repair. The first time I opened it, I found a bunch of bad components but I couldn't narrow down the fault conclusively. After receiving a helpful comment which pointed me to the possibility of other bad components, I tested my switching MOSFETs and found them to be a dead short as well. This made it s ...
The Rohde & Schwarz RTM3004 which I was fortunate enough to RoadTest has been a very capable and versatile instrument. Aside from doing serious work with it now that I’ve been working from home, it even featured in a number of “fun” posts such as my “making music with an oscilloscope” submission to the Project14 Acoustics challenge. Despite this, the review had never been entirely complete, as we were promised the RTM-K18 Spectrum Analysis option but due to a te ...
Restoration & Repair Enter Your Electronics & Design Project for a chance to win an $200 Shopping cart of product! Submit an EntrySubmit an Entry  Back to homepage Project14 Home Monthly Themes Monthly Theme Poll   Restoration and Repair is a Project14 theme I've been looking forward to. Rarely is there nothing in need of a bit of a fix, which often means saving some money, preventing something from going into landfill and learning more about a given item through the process ...
The final part of my the tools from my prize winnings that has not been reviewed yet is the soldering station. Originally, they intended to include the Multicomp Pro MP740139 80W ESD Safe Soldering Station, however, this turns out to be a 120V-only product with no direct 230V-equivalent at the same power level or price point. As a result, I was permitted to choose an alternative, of which there were not many to choose from. I settled on the Tenma 21-21310 UK 80W Soldering Station with UK Plug li ...
The next product from the prize bundle to be subjected to my stringent critique is the Multicomp Pro MP730026 3.75-digit handheld Bluetooth Low-Energy-enabled digital multimeter. This unit is listed at a price of US$38.57 through Newark and AU$77.98 inc GST through element14 Australia, with a special promotional price bringing this down to AU$59.87 inc GST which also qualifies for free shipping. This multimeter offers a 600V CATIV and 1000V CATIII safety rating, 6000-count autoranging display, w ...
I'm on a roll and it's the weekend, so why not do another review, this time of the Duratool D03288 Fume Absorber and Fan, currently listed at AU$68.97 inc GST for the UK plug version as delivered. This was the specific model that I received in lieu of the Multicomp Pro unit that was originally in the tool bundle as that one is 120V-only and I live in a 230V country, so the folks at element14 were nice enough to let me choose a more suitable unit in the same price bracket. Incidentally, those mod ...
The next items I decided to review from the bundle of stuff I received were the two Multicomp Pro Screwdrivers - the MP700130 12-in-1 Ratchet Screwdriver Set (currently US$11.99 or AU$33.62 inc GST) and the MP700124 11-in-1 Multi-Bit Screwdriver Set (US$10.99 or AU$26.08 inc GST). My review will quickly look at the various bits that are provided and what I think about their design and value for money. Off the bat, however, it can be seen that there is a significant discrepancy in prices for the ...