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Keysight 34470A and Texas Instruments DAC8734EVM - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 10
Demo Software was of good quality: 4
Product was easy to use: 5
Support materials were available: 8
The price to performance ratio was good: 10
TotalScore: 47 / 60
  • RoadTest: Keysight 34470A and Texas Instruments DAC8734EVM
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Independent Products
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • Comparable Products/Other parts you considered: Tektronix 7.5Digit DMM, other vendor DAC modules, already evaluating the actual DAC8734 device, just not hte EVM
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: The DAC8723EVM Module relies on the evaluator having a means to connect a SPI enabled development board to control the DAC. One was not provided. In my case this was not an issue as I have plenty of Arduinos, Launchpads and Raspberry PIs among others to choose from but other road testers may not be so fortunate

  • Detailed Review:

    This is the start of a multi post / video road test on the Keysight 34470A 7.5 Digit Truevolt DMM and the Texas Instruments DAC8734 Quad channel DAC Evaluation board

    keysight logo trim.pngtexas instruments.jpg

    DMM34470A.pngP1010933.JPGP1010934.JPG

    Keysight Link: - http://www.keysight.com/de/pd-2520154-pn-34470A/digital-multimeter-7-digit-performance-truevolt-dmm?cc=DE&lc=ger

    Texas Instruments Link: - http://www.ti.com/tool/dac8734evm


    Thank you Element 14, Keysight and Texas Instruments for selecting me for this road test, I am pretty excited to be doing this one

     

    First up is the unveiling, and quick tour of the DMM, I will just perform a couple of quick tests on the DMM to see how easy it is to drive...

     

    I will test the Ohms range using my Precision Vishay Bulk Film Resistance Standard, Remember this: -

    STANDARD RESISTOR BOX 002.JPG

    This is the first time I have had a meter even remotely accurate and precise enough to check the standard, and the 34470A does not disappoint, here is a link to the Vishay Resistor Standard post: so you can see what it is - http://www.element14.com/community/groups/test-and-measurement/blog/2015/01/05/vishay-precision-resistor-standard--how-the-pros-made-one-for-me

     

    I will test a couple of the volts ranges using a precision voltage standard designed by and sent to me by Ian Scott Johnston: - https://www.youtube.com/user/IanScottJohnston. Thanks Ian. Here is how he made it if you’re interested:-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Ssg05oFCbk

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5Pnw9Xr2ME

    Ian also has a bunch of other videos you may be interested in, so check them out while you’re there

     

    OK, back to business, Unbox then a quick look at the Meter is all I will do in part 1.

     

     

    I will review the DAC8734EVM module and other features of the DMM in the next few videos and posts including some more obscure features like measuring current and volts at the same time which the DMM technically cannot do but with a little remote programming and utilizing the Reference / Dual measurement capability it can be made to work. Also on the agenda is looking at the logging features and the digitizing and advanced triggering features.

    I won’t bore you with looking at the basic range checks and verifying the accuracy of the meter as I have nothing better than this meter in the LAB so it would be more of a check of my other lab equipment. But I am sure you’re interested in seeing how it can be used for real world scenarios so if you have some ideas, add it to the comments

     

    What is on the agenda is the following

    The BAT Signal…., TBC If you’re curious see a previous post here: - http://www.element14.com/community/groups/test-and-measurement/blog/2014/05/10/33622a-arbitrary-waveform-generator-helps-batman-with-a-new-bat-signal

    Characterize LIPO's and possibly other batteries using SCPI programming, Logging, the Keysight 33622A AWG and my Analog DC Load

    Fast Signal capture using the Digitizer and advanced triggering

    Measuring the Low power characteristics of a few micro-controllers and other devices like a Raspberry PI to trend power usage under various scenarios

    I have already started reviewing the DAC8734 chip prior to the Road test on a breadboard using a Raspberry PI and windows 10, An Arduino UNO and a TI Launchpad… well a few actually, if you’re interested in that then you can also check out these posts. http://www.element14.com/community/community/designcenter/ti_launchpad/blog/2015/08/07/ti-launchpads-and-how-to-drive-the-dac8734-from-ti-aka-the-dac8734evm-road-test-board

    http://www.element14.com/community/groups/arduino/blog/2015/07/28/arduino-and-how-to-drive-the-dac8734-from-ti-aka-the-dac8734evm-road-test-board

    http://www.element14.com/community/groups/arduino/blog/2015/07/28/arduino-and-how-to-drive-the-dac8734-from-ti-aka-the-dac8734evm-road-test-board

    More to come real soon

     

    The DAC8734 Module is a great example of TI engineering and it has a lot of possible uses in my projects. My disappointment was that it did not come with a means to drive it. While this is not an issue to me, the other road testers may be left in the lurch without a suitable RPI, Arduino or Launchpad. Now there is a lack of sample code for the DAC8734 too so that was the reason I started playing with the chip way before the road test started and if you’re a reviewer or just someone wanting to play with the DAC8734, check out my other posts linked above, they all have the code provided and your welcome to use it.

     

    Oh, if you’re wondering why the rating for the Demo categories are poor, well, there are rather lacking.

    When it comes to BenchVue the 34470A DMM demos are all pretty standard (Lacks a WOW factor) but the demos that I have looked at on YouTube etc. so far are way out of date and in a lot of cases contrived scenarios and simply allude to what could be done, the programming ones have not been updated in many cases since 2005.


    I am already working on several sample apps using windows 10, Visual Studio 2015 and a combination of USB, Ethernet and Serially connected devices (Battery testing scenario for example) that should demonstrate how easy it is to communicate with the 34470A and other instruments remotely and capture their data or control them. It really is not hard to remotly manage many instruments using almost any language that can talk to a com port, just vendors seem to make it look hard ?


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