From the Bench to the Field
Viren Javadekar, an engineering manager for a large electrical product manufacturer, used to use at least two and sometimes three instruments to test his company's active harmonic filters, which improve power quality in electrical distribution systems. Now he uses only one — a TPS2000 series digital storage oscilloscope from Beaverton, Ore.-based Tektronix. Part of the beta testing group on this product launch, Javadekar had been looking for a tool that could show low and high voltages simultaneously. “The product we manufacture has analog, digital, and power electronic components, which require sort of a unique measurement tool where we can see analog signals, digital signals that typically have fast-changing edges, and high-voltage power signals that are usually 400V and higher,” he says. “This instrument makes it much easier because it gets rid of the other instruments we have to use, and it puts everything on one screen at one time.”
According to Mark Lindsey, product marketing manager for Tektronix, this new line was developed based on feedback from customers who asked for battery power on the company's most popular oscilloscope. All units deliver up to eight hours of continuous battery operation using two hot-swappable batteries. In addition, the OpenChoice software and integrated CompactFlash mass storage options allow easy data transfer and documentation.
In addressing customers' requests for increased portability, there were two ways to go, explains Lindsey. To ensure operator safety, the company could have put an external ground strap on the oscilloscope, which would mean dealing with voltage limitations, or isolate the input channels so they'd be electrically isolated from ground. They chose the latter, implementing a patent-pending technology that allows users to make multi-channel floating and differential measurements with up to four fully isolated and floating channels and isolated external trigger input.
Javadekar says the scope will boost his team's productivity in the design and testing phases of the manufacturing process. “We used to have these heavy, bulky oscilloscopes in the lab,” he says. “Having this instrument helps us because we can use it in the lab and in the field,” he says.
Floating measurements up to 30V rms can be made using the standard P2220 probe. However, when equipped with the TPS2PBND power bundle option (including the P5120 passive high-voltage probe), the TPS2000 models are capable of measuring up to 1,000V rms CAT II from the probe tip to earth ground. With theses probes users can take measurements on all channels simultaneously on voltages floating up to 600V rms CAT II (300V rms CAT III).
Putting four floating signals on a screen is something engineers haven't been able to do very well until now, explains Lindsey. “The big thing is simply productivity,” he says. “This product allows you to take more measurements with less effort in less time.”
Visit www.tektronix.com for more information and to see a product demo.