By Wilson Lee, Technical Marketing Manager, Tektronix
In today’s electronics designs – everything from low-power IoT products to automotive electronics – low power consumption and more efficiency are key competitive advantages for manufacturers. Achieving these goals mean that designers now must measure lower currents more than ever before and have the ability to capture more complex load current waveforms generated by wireless devices. A key challenge has been finding capable, easy to use instruments with enough sensitivity at very low power levels.
The challenges continue on the audit, environmental and manufacturing testing sides as well. Here manufacturers are looking to keep projects on time, increase test speeds for higher throughput, minimize the number of test stations, and reduce the number of instruments per test system. Given ongoing challenges with shrinking development schedules and competitive market pressures to innovate first, few design and test engineers have the time to learns the ins and outs of test instrumentation, placing a premium on intuitive operation.
To meet these challenges, Tektronix has introduced the Keithley DMM6500 6 ½ Digit Bench/System digital multimeter and the DAQ5610 Data Acquisition and Logging Multimeter System.
The new 6 ½-digit DMM has many industry-leading features to make the designer’s and test engineer’s job easier. Fifteen different measurement functions provide extensive capability and flexibility. Waveform capture with 1 Ms/s digitizing is an industry leading feature to help designers capture low current waveforms. It offers a very wide dynamic current and resistance range (10pA-10A DC current; 1µΩ - 100MΩ resistance).
The instrument’s 5 inch touchscreen with waveform plotting, movable cursors, pinch and zoom, and statistics enables immediate insight on measurement results. Also, a large amount of data can be collected: the DMM6500’s 7 million reading storage exceeds that of any 6 ½-digit DMM on the market. What’s more, all this capability comes at a friendly price of just $1,140 US MSRP.
This new 6 ½-digit multi-channel datalogging DMM also uses a 5 inch touchscreen interface to facilitate ease of use, test monitoring, and data analysis. You can see how we’ve simplified instrument operation in the annotated front-panel photo below. Test setups can be performed easily using one menu screen. Test progress and measurements can be viewed on the status screen. Data can be tracked during the test or after the test is complete using the plotting function. Trend plots can be examined with the pinch and zoom functionality. And, all of this can be done without a PC.
As production scales up, the DAQ6510 scales up as well, supporting test systems as large as 80 channels. The DAQ6510 has 2 slots for plug-in switch modules. There are 12 different modules with 40-channel high density multiplexers. Large numbers of product can be tested during a single test.
Other notable DAQ6510 function include:
- The front panel jacks enable stand-alone DMM operation for maximum versatility and value
- Support for a wide range of interfaces including standard LAN/LXI, and USB communication interfaces and optionally GPIB, RS-232 and TSP-Link
Stacking up with the competition
So, all this sounds great, but how do the DMM6500 and DAQ6510 stack up to competitive offerings? Glad you asked, because there really isn’t much of a comparison.
Compared with Keysight, the DM6500 has much more capability than either of Keysight’s 6 ½-digit DMMs (34461A, 34465A). The Keysight products do not have a touchscreen nor do they have the fast digitizing of the DMM6500 (1Ms/s vs. a 50ks/s option on the 34465A only). Keysight DMMs cannot expand their measurement capacity nor can they offer test scripts to provide customized computations, test execution, control of another LAN-based instrument, or a customized display to show special readings or to give operator instructions. The DMM6500 also has better DC current and resistance measurement sensitivity.
The story is similar for data acquisition. The DAQ6510 has more measurement capability and a user interface that is far superior to Keysight. Keysight does not offer easy setup, status monitoring, or analysis. What’s more, the DAQ6510 has front panel inputs and can be used as a conventional DMM when needed for troubleshooting a test system. The Keysight user would need to bring in another DMM. All Keysight’s switch cards have screw terminals. To change a switch card, all the terminals have to be disconnected and re-wired. Many Keithley switch modules use mass terminated connectors. If a switch card needs to be changed, the connector can be quickly removed and put on a new card without re-wiring. This is a significant time savings!
Another key advantage is our new KickStart 2.0 software that accelerates the path to results and enables quick test set-up and data visualization when using single or multiple instruments. We’ll be discussing this in more depth in a future blog post.