Now optimize power supplies in wireless devices with Rohde & Schwarz


The new R&S RT-ZVC02/04 multichannel power probe can measure across large current and voltage ranges without having to switch ranges, making it possible to monitor the power consumption of chipsets, radio modules and wearables such as smartwatches. When used in combination with an R&S RTE or R&S RTO oscilloscope, the current drain can be clearly correlated with analog and digital control signals, enabling developers to optimize the battery life of such wearables and wireless devices early in the development cycle.

Long battery life is a key comfort feature for mobile devices, Internet-of-Things modules and wearables. To minimize energy consumption, these products operate at low standby current with very brief periods of activity when higher currents are needed. An unusually wide dynamic range is required to determine the true power consumption. Multiple test channels are often needed since different electronic circuit modules are activated at different times. The R&S RT-ZVC02/04 multichannel power probe addresses this application by permitting simultaneous measurement of up to four currents and four voltages over a very wide dynamic range. The measured values are transmitted to the R&S RTE or R&S RTO oscilloscope via the digital logic interface and then displayed synchronized with the oscilloscope’s analog channels. A trigger unit integrated into the power probe enables triggering on the R&S RT-ZVC input signals.

Simultaneous measurement of very low standby currents and brief current peaks

The probe contains an 18 bit A/D converter for each current or voltage measurement channel. This makes it possible to measure very low standby currents in the uA or nA range as well as high current peaks up to the A range within the selected current measurement range without having to switch ranges. Thanks to the 1 MHz bandwidth and a sampling rate of 5 Msample/s, even very brief current pulses can be captured so that the true power consumption can be correctly determined. Three selectable internal shunts allow the user to select the optimal current range. An external shunt can be used for customer-specific current measurement ranges or when the current needs to be measured as close to the DUT as possible.

Up to 16 additional channels on R&S RTE and R&S RTO oscilloscopes

The R&S RT-ZVC02 power probe offers two current and two voltage channels, the R&S RT-ZVC04 four current and four voltage channels in addition to the analog oscilloscope channels. Up to two R&S RT-ZVC02/04 probes can be connected to an R&S RTE or R&S RTO oscilloscope for up to 16 additional test channels. This allows automatic testing of even critical power-up sequences on CPU mainboards and FPGA circuits.

Suitable for measuring the battery life of wireless devices with the R&S CMW

The R&S RT-ZVC probe is currently available in combination with an R&S CMW communication tester and R&S CMWrun software for battery life testing. This setup makes it possible to correlate wireless protocols with the application software running on IoT devices so that a single power probe can be used for oscilloscope measurements during the development of embedded systems and later for analysis and optimization of the system power consumption when developing IoT system applications.

The R&S RT-ZVC multichannel power probe will be available as an accessory for the R&S RTE and R&S RTO oscilloscopes starting in June 2017.

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