A frequently asked question is: "Why should I calibrate my instrument?" Calibration is all about confidence in the measurement results you're getting. Calibration assures you that your measurements are accurate within the specification limits that led you to select the instrument in the first place.
Every new Tektronix measurement product arrives freshly calibrated and adjusted, with a Certificate of Traceable Calibration. Dig a little deeper into the documentation and you will find details about recommended calibration intervals. These routine calibrations are your prescription for the continued health and performance of the instrument.
Why should I calibrate? Let's answer a question with a question: What are the costs and risks of not calibrating?
- In production test, you may encounter false passes or (equally undesirable) false failures. False passes can send inferior products to your customers, ruining your reputation for quality. False failures end up in the reject bin, ruining yields and prompting costly rework or discards.
- In the engineering lab, inaccurate measurements can distort your findings about the behavior of an emerging design. Imagine going through an unnecessary design turn because your instrument wrongly measured a rise time!
- Is your volt the same as your customer's volt? Is your nanosecond the same as their nanosecond? Commerce depends on globally agreed standards of weights and measures. Only traceable calibration can ensure adherence to these standards.
- There may be contractual requirements stipulating a regular calibration regimen. The penalty for non-compliance could be fines, loss of business, or worse.
- Sometimes a calibration procedure reveals an underlying problem that could evolve into a costly failure if left unattended.
Today's digital instruments are not exempt from regular calibrations. Even though they inherently are more stable than their analog predecessors, their tolerances are much narrower than in the past. And even the latest digitizing instruments have analog circuitry—preamplifiers, buffers, etc.—whose performance can change over time.
A regular schedule of calibrations will keep your Tektronix instrument in optimal condition to support your design, troubleshooting, and manufacturing work.