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Axiom Blog

March 01, 2024

Calibrating the Way to Process Control
Automated industrial manufacturing processes have many built-in measurement devices to ensure the processes run properly. The units keep track of parameters important to the processes, such as temperature, pressure, voltage, current, resistance, and frequency. They communicate conditions to a central controller where data can be analyzed to optimize an industrial process. But time takes its toll on these testers, and they must be regularly calibrated to effectively support an industrial process. Fortunately, calibrators offer the precision needed to evaluate in-process testers. Aided by communicators, they can securely deliver test results to a control center to effectively manage an industrial process. In some cases, calibrators and communicators come in the same package, often small enou... Read More

February 02, 2024

Selecting Spectrum and Network Analyzers
Analysis of electronic products can be performed in many ways, from visual checks to sophisticated measurements. The appropriate analyzer can be invaluable when checking components, circuits, and systems, but finding the right analyzer can be challenging. Instrumentation-level analyzers come in many shapes and sizes, including as signal, spectrum, and network analyzers. Knowing what each analyzer does helps in finding the best one for a job.   Spectrum analyzers measure signal magnitude as a function of frequency. They detect known signals, such as radio waves, and unknown signals, such as interference and noise. Spectrum analyzers work with antennas for over-the-air (OTA) measurements of wireless communications signals and radar pulses. As electronic systems grow in complexity, spe... Read More

January 02, 2024

Temperature Chambers Mimic Real-World Conditions
Changing temperatures can impact the operation of an electronic product, degrading performance and reliability. Electronic products are designed for use within specific temperature ranges, according to application, such as aerospace, automotive, commercial, industrial, medical, and military systems. Temperature chambers provide the means of controlling temperatures during testing; a good chamber can adjust temperatures over a wide range and within a tight tolerance. But the value of a temperature chamber is more than setting and maintaining a temperature. Changing temperatures affect electronic performance and practical temperature testing often relies upon having a temperature chamber capable of changing a wide range of temperatures quickly and consistently to duplicate conditions in whic... Read More

December 01, 2023

How Much Power Is Enough When Selecting an AC Supply
Operating active electronic devices as part of a measurement may require an AC power source. It should be stable and dependable, but it must also provide enough voltage and current to properly operate the device under test (DUT). An earlier blog, “Essentials of DC Power Supplies and Loads,” examined DC power supplies. But AC power supplies may also be needed for testing, and understanding their use can ease the task of finding one for a measurement application.   While precisely controlled AC electricity may not be needed when testing DUTs powered by DC power, an AC supply can help simulate real-world operating conditions. For certain DUTs, such as electric motors, a well-controlled AC power supply can mimic the conditions in which the DUT will operate, including power s... Read More

November 07, 2023

Surveying EV and HEV Power Testing Solutions
The numbers of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) on the world’s roads continue to grow, slowly replacing traditional vehicles running on gasoline and diesel fuels. Vehicles with engines based on electric power still take time to recharge when their batteries run low on power, but they do not contaminate the environment as do vehicles with engines running on gasoline or diesel fuels. As more drivers adopt EVs and HEVs, they wonder about maintenance costs and routines compared to traditional motor vehicles with internal-combustion engines. Those hoping to maintain this next generation of motor vehicles also wonder about the types of test equipment they will need.   EVs and HEVs rely on robust, high-voltage (HV) battery systems for all or part of their e... Read More

October 10, 2023

Essentials of DC Power Supplies and Loads
Power consumption and conservation are vital functions for many systems and testing these functions help determine the efficiency and productivity of an electronic design. Power measurements rely on two workhorse units: DC power supplies and loads. They are vital for controlling energy on the workbench and often serve as starting points for new product development. DC loads and power supplies work together to define the behavior of a device under test (DUT) in response to applied energy, not just in performance but in reliability and compatibility with other electronic devices.   The simplest starting point when searching for a DC power supply is the amount of energy it supplies: does it provide enough power to energize a DUT of interest? That amount of power is available in terms o... Read More

September 08, 2023

Optical Spectrum Analyzers Shed Light On Fiber-Optic Cables
Communications networks often depend on pulses of light for high-speed links. Unlike wireless systems sending modulated electromagnetic (EM) signals through the air or conductive metal cables, fiber-optic systems transfer modulated optical signals through miles of glass cables. For the best results, these fiber-optic cables should be measured before installation and tested as part of a regular maintenance schedule. Numerous test equipment provides insights into fiber-optic cable quality, but one of the handiest and most versatile for the task is the optical spectrum analyzer (OSA).   Fiber-optic cables consist of glass or plastic cores surrounded by cladding which reflects light back into the core to help direct optical energy along the path formed by the cable. The cladding is usua... Read More

August 08, 2023

Axiom Test Equipment, Inc. Acquired by Transcat, Inc.
We are excited to announce that as of August 2023, Axiom Test Equipment is now a Transcat company!   Transcat is a leading provider of accredited calibration, repair, inspection, and laboratory instrument services and a value-added distributor that rents, markets, and sells new and used professional grade handheld test, measurement, and control instrumentation for highly technical industries. Transcat is committed to enhancing their ability to provide customers with quality nationwide calibration services, and Axiom’s exceptional presence in the test equipment rental market made an ideal fit.   According to Lee Rudow, President and Chief Executive Officer of Transcat, “Axiom is a profitable business that will expand our existing Rental offering, which we believe w... Read More

August 01, 2023

Get a Charge out of Testing EV Batteries
Roads are slowly filling with electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), helping to clean the Earth’s “carbon footprint” by minimizing emissions from internal combustion engines. The growing number of affordable EVs and HEVs is coming in large part because of the availability of reliable rechargeable battery packs, such as lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries capable of storing enough power to support practical driving ranges under electric power for EVs and HEVs. Manufacturers of battery packs for EVs and HEVs have worked closely with designers and manufacturers of EVs and HEVs to achieve efficient rechargeable fuel cells with generous energy capacity and long operating lifetimes. Having access to suitable test equipment has played a major role in the develop... Read More

July 03, 2023

Spectrum Analyzers Help Find Harmful Interference
Frequency spectrum is filling steadily with growing numbers of wireless devices. Many of the wireless devices operate within short distances at narrow frequency bands, such as Bluetooth and wireless local are network (WLAN) equipment. However, as more users make wireless cellular radios their principal telephones, longer-distance wireless applications, including satellite communications (satcom) systems, are occupying more of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. Cellular communications networks are evolving from Fourth Generation (4G) technology to Fifth Generation (5G) technology and higher frequencies, well into the millimeter-wave frequency range above 24 GHz.   This growing number of wireless applications and signals creates increased opportunities for interference when signals ar... Read More

June 16, 2023

Axiom Test Equipment Launches Redesigned Mobile Website, Simplifying User Experience
Axiom Test Equipment, a leading provider of test equipment solutions, is proud to announce the launch of its newly redesigned mobile website. The enhanced site aims to provide customers with a clean aesthetic and user-friendly experience, allowing them to easily navigate and find the test equipment they need.   With the increased demand for on-the-go accessibility, Axiom Test Equipment recognized the importance of optimizing their website for mobile devices. The redesigned mobile website offers a responsive and intuitive interface, ensuring that customers can effortlessly browse and explore the extensive range of test equipment, anytime and anywhere.   The key features of the newly launched mobile website include: Enhanced Navigation: The streamlined navigation menu allows... Read More

June 07, 2023

Scopes Get a Second Look with Integrated Analyzers
Oscilloscopes and spectrum analyzers are two of the most essential electronic test equipment, offering two views of electrical energy. An oscilloscope shows signals in the time domain, plotting amplitude versus time. A spectrum analyzer shows signals in the frequency domain, with amplitude displayed versus frequency. The different views can be useful when tracing faults in circuits, especially with mixed signals. These test units help analyze continuous-wave (CW), radio-frequency (RF), pulsed, and a variety of different electronic signals, with insights provided by the mixed signal domains. Traditionally, testing in the time and frequency domains meant separate signal paths and separate units. However, a more efficient approach—and a less crowded test bench—can be achieved usin... Read More

May 01, 2023

How to Test Cables and Antennas Together in 2023
Terrestrial communications, satellite communications (satcom), and radar systems rely on radios and antennas working together. Radio receivers, transmitters, and antennas are connected by various kinds of cables, including coaxial cables, and users count on them maintaining those connections. Breaks in cables, misaligned connectors, and other faults can degrade performance and must be checked upon antenna, cable, and system installation and during regular maintenance cycles. Testing antennas and cables separately can be beneficial but testing them as an integrated assembly can reveal a great deal about how they will work together within the system. A variety of measurements can help characterize antennas with cables and some of the latest test tools can deliver those measurements when and ... Read More

April 04, 2023

Measure the Efficiency of Renewable Energy Grids
Energy is essential for most homes and businesses and its generation has long depended upon the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas. But global supplies of such fuels are limited and the process of converting them to electric power adds harmful gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), into the atmosphere. Energy can be produced from a variety of sources other than fossil fuels, including solar power, wind turbines, hydroelectric power plants, geothermal energy (using heat from the Earth’s core), even from the movement of oceanic water from regular tidal changes. One of the newest forms of renewable energy comes from burning biomass materials, which are plants and animals which can be burned as fuels, to generate energy. Ethanol is an example of a biofuel. In some areas, f... Read More

March 01, 2023

Electrical Safety Compliance Analyzers Helps Make More Reliable Designs
Before an electronic product is ready for use, a user’s safety must be ensured. Electrical safety compliance testing is a means of checking the safety of a new product as it enters its manufacturing phase. Certain measurements can check how a product will respond to voltage overloads or surges and whether it is properly designed and assembled for various operating conditions and safe for a user. Requirements for the measurements change according to geographic region and pertinent electrical safety standards, calling for versatile test equipment capable of applying and measuring AC and DV voltages. Such units can not only render an electronic product safe for use, but also save the time and expense of manufacturing a flawed product.   Electrical safety compliance testing is con... Read More

January 31, 2023

Keep Temperature and Humidity Under Control
Elevated temperature and humidity can shorten the operating lifetime of electronic and mechanical components and systems. Even frigid operating environments can be threatening to the reliability of an electronic product. For that reason, being able to control temperature and humidity provides great benefits and flexibility when evaluating the reliability of a new design or when ensuring that a product can withstand challenging operating conditions and provide the performance expected over a long operating lifetime. Control usually comes in the form of a programmable, computer-controlled temperature or temperature and humidity test chamber.   Not all electronic or even mechanical products need to be tested across different temperature and humidity ranges, of course. Most often, produ... Read More

January 04, 2023

Maintaining Audio Quality That Makes a Difference
Audio signals are essential to many modern electronic systems, as a means of communicating test results and often serving as a warning. Audio analysis is the process of understanding information from sound and what it might say about equipment under test. Testing helps to discover unwanted distortion and noise made by the audio equipment and possible how to remove or at least reduce the levels of noise compared to the audio signal levels. It requires a reliable sound source and a signal analyzer at least capable of operating within the audible frequency range.   Fine-tuning electronic equipment for audio performance whether for use or for production can be accomplished by a variety of techniques, in the frequency domain or the time domain and usually to gauge the consistency of the ... Read More

December 02, 2022

Tracking Testers for Radars and Communications Systems
Communications links and radars are among the most widely used electronic systems, and for most markets, whether military or commercial, industrial or medical. Both systems can make a difference between life and death, whether on a battlefield, in a home, or on a highway, although functioning in much separate ways. Communications systems transfer information between locations while radars search for targets. Their functions are made possible by diverse types of electromagnetic (EM) waveforms and, as a result, test equipment that is optimum for one type of system may not be as well suited for the other type of system. A quick review of the essential differences between communications and radar systems can help target the types of test equipment with the capabilities needed to optimize the p... Read More

November 01, 2022

Weighing the Benefits of Benchtop vs. USB Based Test Equipment
As the name implies, the Universal Serial Bus (USB) provides a widely accepted digital port for connecting computers to other electronic devices, typically printers and memory sticks but sometimes test equipment. By relying on an external computer and the appropriate software, USB-driven test equipment can provide quite a bit of performance and functionality in a small package, often a fraction of the size of the more traditional benchtop version of the unit. But there may be times when having that older, larger unit in the test lab may provide more comfort and confidence than the simple convenience of adding measurement capability to a laptop computer by plugging in a USB connector. How do the two formats stack up when comparing workhorse units like vector network analyzers (VNAs), spectr... Read More

October 04, 2022

Teaming Amplifiers and Signal Generators
Signal generators serve as sources of analog, digital, and even RF/microwave signals for test purposes. They may not always deliver enough output power for some tests, such as characterizing filters and antennas, and help may be needed. By connecting a suitable amplifier, a signal generator can be boosted to the power levels needed. Finding the right combination comes down to knowing the key specifications for both units.   Laboratory amplifiers can be specified by frequency range, bandwidth, output power, and gain or input power required to reach the rated output power. Amplifiers may be suited for a variety of signal types including pulsed signals and with different forms of modulation, such as amplitude modulation (AM) and frequency modulation (FM). Understanding the measurement ... Read More

September 02, 2022

AC, DC Loads Evaluate Electrical Use
Electronic loads are versatile test tools and invaluable instruments that enhance the performance of AC and DC power supplies and energy sources. Connecting an AC or DC electronic load to the output of an AC or DC power supply, respectively, enables it to replace the electronic circuitry normally at that point in an electronic design or product and study the behavior of the power supply under a variety of operating conditions. Combined with a power analyzer and often an instrument-grade power supply, the electronic load can reveal enough about the power supply to lead to higher efficiency, greater stability, and an even longer operating lifetime. The best electronic load for an application will be determined by the ranges and limits of the voltage, current, and power of the power supply or... Read More

August 02, 2022

Modular Test Solutions Speed Semiconductor Tests
Semiconductors are often considered “ground-zero” or starting points for advanced electronics technologies, whether for commercial, industrial, military, or medical solutions or even in space. They are fabricated in various configurations and from many materials, each approach yielding a set of characteristics well suited for a variety of applications. Before they can be used, however, semiconductor devices and materials must be full characterized by means of many tests and often over wide measurement ranges. Finding a traditional benchtop test system with enough functionality and performance to characterize some of the latest semiconductor devices and materials can be a challenge. In contrast, a well-designed mainframe that operates according to plug-in modules can not only pa... Read More

July 05, 2022

Learn When an Analyzer Makes More Sense Than a Meter
Electronic measurements can be quick and easy, like reading a voltage between two terminals. But they can also be complex, such as studying how voltage varies with load and temperature. Making those measurements may come down to a choice between a meter and an analyzer. Some test units like meters, are designed for speed and simplicity and to read a single electrical parameter, such as voltage, current, or power. Some test units are more elaborate and are called analyzers because they not only gauge the value of an electrical parameter, but they also enable full study of it. At one time, comparing a meter to an analyzer was like a voltmeter to a vector network analyzer—it was no contest. But both types of units have grown in power and sophistication and today’s comparisons requ... Read More

June 01, 2022

These Portable Analyzers Find Interference Outdoors
Summer usually brings an increase in outdoor activities, and more time outside with portable wireless equipment such as cellular telephones and Wi-Fi devices. Of course, just as when used indoors, those devices do not always work outdoors as intended and often the reason is because of interference. Indoors, radio frequency interference (RFI) may come from a leaky microwave oven working within the same 2.4 to 2.5 GHz frequency range as a wireless Bluetooth device. But outdoors, without the walls of buildings to suppress signals from AM and FM radio rations and television towers, and even cellular telephone repeaters, interference can come from all directions and be difficult to track down. But with the right test equipment, including a portable spectrum analyzer with antenna attached, frequ... Read More

May 03, 2022

Shed Some Light on Solar Power Testing
When Michael Faraday generated electricity in 1831 by moving a magnet within a coil of wire, he probably never imagined that sunlight could do the same thing. Electromagnetic (EM) turbines powered by fossil fuels may still be the world’s leading sources of electricity, but solar power based on photovoltaic (PV) energy is coming on strong. It is dependable and economical. However, testing PV electricity sources may pose new challenges for engineers and technicians “raised” on traditional electric power supplies. But with the right power supplies for simulation and well-equipped analyzers for investigation, a future with solar power sources such as PV cells, modules, and arrays looks bright.   Henrich Hertz discovered the photoelectric effect in 1887. He learned that... Read More

April 27, 2022

Axiom Test Equipment is now an NH Research Official Rental Partner
Axiom Test Equipment, Inc. and NH Research have reached an agreement for Axiom to become an NHR official rental partner in the U.S. Backed by over 50 years of experience, NH Research is able to offer world class test instruments and systems for a wide range of industries.   Axiom Test Equipment, a premier provider of electronic test and measurement equipment rentals, sales and repair services, further expands its rental fleet of high-quality test instruments. As NH Research’s rental partner, Axiom is excited to offer NHR’s high-quality products as solutions to fill customers short-term project testing needs. This partnership allows Axiom Test Equipment to introduce NHR’s grid simulators and battery test systems to users with shorter-term projects and those that wan... Read More

April 04, 2022

Semiconductor Measurements Characterize Devices and Materials
Semiconductor testing usually means active devices and it often refers to integrated circuits (ICs). But it can also apply to discrete devices, such as high-power transistors, and characterizing semiconductor materials such as substrates and wafers. Because semiconductor testing covers such a variety of devices under test (DUTs), it involves many different measurements and, depending on the DUT, often many different test units to perform the measurements.   What kind of measurements are part of semiconductor testing? Gaining a better understanding of a semiconductor or the material it is fabricated on requires evaluating it under different operating conditions, such as different voltage (V), current (I), and power levels. In some cases, testing is performed to find a semiconductor&r... Read More

March 01, 2022

Believe in the Benefits of Bidirectional Power Supplies
Power supplies are among the most essential test equipment units, serving as energy sources for many measurements. An earlier blog, “Perusing Specs for Power Supplies and Electronic Loads”, provided guidance for choosing separate power supplies and electronic loads. But power supplies and electronic loads are also available as a single unit, integrated as a bidirectional power supply with many benefits working together. Also known as regenerative power supplies, bidirectional power supplies can be programmed to evaluate many different electronic energy systems, such as rechargeable batteries in electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid EVs (HEVs). They are also useful for testing the energy circuits and systems in unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), and m... Read More

February 04, 2022

Thermal Chambers Boost Electronic Device Reliability
Electronic devices are affected in different ways by operating temperatures. Some devices are designed for narrow temperature ranges, typically around room temperature,  while other devices can handle wide operating temperature ranges without key deviations in performance. Some electronic devices, for example, are built for mission-critical applications, such as avionics, military, and space missions, and they deliver consistent performance over wide temperature ranges. But determining such capability usually requires evaluating performance across the temperature range over which an electronic device under test (DUT) is designed to operate, often also at various levels of relative humidity (RH). Such environmental testing is usually performed within a thermal test chamber in which tem... Read More

January 03, 2022

Make Older Gear Work When New Test Equipment Cannot Be Found
Global supply chain challenges have forced many manufacturers to look back when components are not available. It has been quite noticeable in the commercial automotive market, which experiences a “new car season” every year and a great deal of anticipation from consumers in search of new car models. In some cases, new car models have been promoted, including electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) from leading suppliers, but dealers are without inventory because manufacturers cannot get all the parts they need.   The same is true in many other markets, including for commercial, industrial, medical, and military/aerospace electronic products where manufacturers may design a new product based on what turns out to be a novel but hard-to-find electronic d... Read More

December 06, 2021

Axiom Test Equipment is now EA Elektro-Automatik’s Official Rental Partner in The U.S.
Axiom Test Equipment, Inc. and EA Elektro Automatik have reached an agreement for Axiom to become EA’s official preferred rental partner in the U.S. EA Elektro-Automatik, based in Germany, is Europe’s leading manufacturer of programmable DC power supplies, high-performance DC bidirectional and regenerative power supplies, and DC electronic loads.   Axiom Test Equipment, a premier provider of electronic test and measurement equipment rentals, sales and repair services, further expands its rental fleet of high-power test instruments. As EA Elektro Automatik’s preferred rental partner, Axiom is excited to offer EA’s exceptional products as solutions to fill customers short-term project testing needs. This partnership allows Axiom Test Equipment to introduce high... Read More

November 01, 2021

Provide a True Score on Device Parameters
By analyzing a semiconductor’s performance parameters, much can be learned about how it will behave under different conditions. Whether for designing a circuit, validating performance claims, or monitoring process quality, semiconductor parameter analysis at various levels of current (I), voltage (V), and power can provide invaluable insights into a semiconductor device’s expected behavior. Analysis is performed by applying test signals and studying the device’s responses to the signals. It requires a source of test signals and an analyzer sensitive enough to detect low-level signals but robust enough to handle high-power signals from a device under test (DUT). Testing can be performed with a digital multimeter or test equipment as basic as an inductance-capacitance-resis... Read More

October 05, 2021

Choose the Best Chamber for Your Next Project
Environmental chambers are useful tools in any facility seeking to learn how a product performs under realistic operating conditions. Since electronic products are not always used under ideal conditions, environmental chambers can duplicate such environmental effects as changes in temperature and changes in humidity. Environmental chambers can serve many applications, from design and development through the production line. Whether for adjusting the temperature surrounding a device under test (DUT) or controlling temperature and humidity, environmental chambers can reveal a great deal about an electronic product. Temperature and temperature/humidity chambers can be applied to various test applications, including QA/QC reliability testing, failure analysis (FA), accelerated life testing, an... Read More

August 30, 2021

Ease the Load When Testing AC & DC Sources
An electronic load is a versatile and effective measurement tool. It receives electricity from a power source, such as a power supply or battery, and sinks current to ground. It provides insights into how the power source behaves under different load conditions for AC or DC power sources. By keeping an electrical parameter such as voltage, current, power, or resistance fixed, it can measure voltage/current or power/resistance under constant-voltage (CV), constant-current (CC), constant-power (CP), and constant-resistance (CR) conditions. Armed with microprocessors, modern electronic loads are “smart” and can quickly characterize a wide range of AC and DC power sources, often showing clear test results on their own display screens or on an external computer. When an AC or DC sup... Read More

August 02, 2021

Analyzers Check on Medical Safety
Health and safety are invaluable resources that can be monitored and protected with the right measurement tools, such as electrical safety analyzers. This versatile test equipment is often associated with ensuring that medical electronic devices are safe to handle, but they can also be used to check the safety levels of electronic products for many different areas, including for mobile communications and the growing number of electronic devices for automotive applications.   What determines if an electronic device or even an electronic equipment is safe to handle? The flesh on a human hand is not an ideal conductor, with high resistance to the flow of improperly grounded current, but the blood and internal tissues and muscle layers underneath have low electrical resistance and can s... Read More

July 02, 2021

Spectrum Analyzers Check 5G Occupied Bandwidth
Mobile wireless communications were once considered a luxury but is now more than likely a necessity for many users requiring voice and data service. Cellular wireless technology has quickly evolved from analog Advanced Mobile Phone Service (AMPS) networks to digitally modulated Fifth Generation (5G) cellular wireless with signals extending from the RF/microwave spectrum well into the millimeter-wave (mmWave) frequency range from 24 GHz to above 60 GHz. Around the world, frequency channels are reserved for 5G use, with the assumption that 5G signals will have those frequency channels for exclusive use. When the channels are not exclusive, the additional signal energy can cause interference that degrades or obstructs 5G service, resulting in dropped calls and slow data rates. Fortunately, a... Read More

June 01, 2021

Create Complex Signals for Next-Generation Testing
Signal generation often precedes signal analysis and, as signals used in electronic products grow more complex and even higher in frequency, generating test signals becomes more critical for evaluating those products. Except in analyzers with built-in signal sources, creating test signals is usually the task of a signal generator or arbitrary waveform generator (AWG). Testers currently have a wide choice of test equipment, from small, economical units to more sophisticated, larger signal sources. Selecting the best signal source for a job usually depends on the job. By mapping out test signal performance requirements for an application, the challenge of finding an optimal test source can be greatly simplified.   One goal for any test signal source is to provide signals that emulate ... Read More

May 03, 2021

Test Equipment Are Investments in Low Carbon Footprint
Energy is essential for most modern lifestyles and it can come in many forms. Electric power supplies have long been produced by the flow of water through hydroelectric plants and more recently by photoelectric cells in solar panels. But electrical energy is also produced by burning coal, natural gas, and other fossil fuels. Such fuels can unleash large amounts of electrical energy known as green house gases, (GHGs) which are harmful by-products. Carbon-based GHGs such as methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) are added to the atmosphere in large amounts, which are commonly believed to impact environmental conditions.   The increase in GHG emissions is not an overnight phenomenon but has been taking place for about 150 years, as mankind has become more industrialized. Carbon moves b... Read More

April 02, 2021

Make Safer Products with Practical EMC Testing
Electronic circuits and products are being made smaller as users seek more mobility and portability. Whether those users are consumers, warehouse workers, or military teams, electronic devices such as cell phones and even medical alert devices are being designed to fit in smaller packages. Making smaller electronic products possible is made possible by achieving electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) within the operating environment—making measurements that tell whether an electronic design can operate effectively when near other electronic devices and not cause electromagnetic interference (EMI) for other electronic devices. Fortunately, a variety of practical test equipment has been developed to perform the many measurements needed for efficient EMC/EMI testing.   Different EMC... Read More

March 01, 2021

Make Sure That Electric Car Does Not Run Out of Juice
Making sure the batteries are charged no longer applies just to the flashlight. Whether it is an electric vehicle (EV), a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), or a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), a growing number of vehicles are running on electricity rather than gasoline or diesel fuel. Keeping them running requires careful maintenance of the batteries and powertrains in these environmentally friendly vehicles.   Running out of gas was once a concern for a vehicle with an internal-combustion engine; now, with an EV, HEV, or PHEV, it is a matter of keeping the vehicle’s batteries and charging system in shape for the long haul. The battery chemistries in EVs, HEVs, and PHEVs differ, such as lithium-ion, nickel-metal hydride, and lead-acid batteries or ultracapacitor electrica... Read More

February 02, 2021

Setting Up A Home Test System
Social distancing has become a new way of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Instead of daily trips to a test lab or electronic manufacturing facility, many engineers are being asked to work remotely to minimize contact with others and the potential spread of the virus. For many, home is the new office and workplace and for electronic circuit designers, testing is a helpful if not essential part of working on electronic designs at home. Most engineers would hardly turn down the opportunity to have one or more racks of their favorite test instruments within arms reach at home. Beyond dealing with the costs of acquiring test instruments for a home system, engineers should consider many factors before creating the home test studio of their ... Read More

January 12, 2021

Welcome The New Year by Upgrading Test Gear
Measurements (and the test instruments to perform them) must evolve to keep pace with emerging technologies. The past few years have already yielded major electronic technology advances, such as Fifth Generation (5G) cellular networks at millimeter-wave frequencies and radar-guided autonomous vehicles. It is a new year with more to come. The start of a new year is often a good time to review current and future test needs and decide if it might also be time to upgrade some of that “good old test gear.”   Upgrading test equipment should never be a quick decision or spontaneous reaction. It should be carefully considered, in the mindset of testing requirements for years to come. Those requirements are usually based on technology trends, such as increasing data rates, freque... Read More

December 04, 2020

Equipment For An Electrical Engineer's Wish List
Test equipment is on many engineers’ wish lists for the holidays. It may be merely a voltmeter, or it could be as elaborate as a spectrum analyzer or digital storage oscilloscope (DSO). There is one thing that most of us have in common around this time of year: it is a time of wishful thinking, sizing up what’s on the test bench right now versus what might be added for the new year. Purchasing test equipment as a gift can be costly. Fortunately, reliable sources such as Axiom Test Equipment rent high-quality test equipment and sell it used. Either way is a chance for test equipment gift giving at a fraction of the cost of new equipment and a way to put a dent in an engineer’s test equipment wish lists for the holidays. Loading the List A wish list for test instruments ... Read More

November 05, 2020

Keep the Light Shining on Solar Power Systems
Low-cost solar energy is an invaluable, renewable resource for many homes and businesses, using photovoltaic (PV) cells to convert sunlight to electricity. While the sun may not always be shining, sunlight is the most abundant natural resource on the planet. Intelligently designed, solar-power installations efficiently convert that sunlight to electric power which can be stored until needed, such as during nighttime when the sun is not shining. Several conversion technologies are used to convert sunlight to electricity, including semiconductor-based PV cells and concentrated solar power (CSP) systems technology. In each case, regular maintenance is required to achieve optimum results from the power conversion process and several basic electrical measurements are essential actions in delive... Read More

October 15, 2020

Regenerative Grid Simulators Support Real-World Testing
Electricity powers most lives and the electronic products within those lives. Electronic devices provide communications and many other conveniences, while electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are providing mobility to a growing number of drivers and passengers. Electronic devices draw power from the power grid surrounding them, supplied by utilities and regenerative sources such as wind turbines and photovoltaic (PV) solar panels. While electronic products are designed and developed with the help of traditional test equipment such as oscilloscopes, a different type of test instrument is needed for grid-connected device testing: the regenerative grid simulator. Such a tester makes it possible to know how a device under test (DUT) will perform under changing, real-worl... Read More

September 08, 2020

Advances in DC Power Supplies
Power is essential to any test setup and the DC power supply at one time might have been among the most overlooked instruments in a test system. Modern DC power supplies are no longer simply sources of current and voltage in a test system; they are being designed with versatile functionality and intelligent protection for extended operating lifetimes. They provide details at a glance using LCD screens and touchscreen displays. Even as power supplies increase in capabilities, they become easier to use by means of programmability and computer control. Of course, sorting through a wide selection of advanced DC power supplies for a benchtop or system application can be challenging, but the choice can be made a little easier by understanding about the different types of DC power supplies and ho... Read More

August 03, 2020

Practical Solutions for Measuring Phase Noise
It is part of the performance of almost every signal source, even active components, such as amplifiers. It is phase noise, and, at sufficiently high levels, it can prevent a radar or communications system from operating effectively. Fortunately, it can be measured quickly and accurately constant improvements in test hardware and software are making the task of determining a high-frequency source’s phase noise easier even as signal bandwidths continue to reach into millimeter-wave frequency bands.   What is phase noise? Phase noise consists of fluctuations in the phase of an oscillator, frequency synthesizer, or other signal source as measured in the frequency domain. It is also known as jitter when it is associated with timing deviations in a system clock. A sine wave withou... Read More

July 07, 2020

Make Sure EVs and HEVs Are Good for Every Mile
Electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are gaining in popularity as they improve in performance. Contributing to the growing numbers of EVs and HEVs on the roads are increasing comfort levels for drivers dealing with vehicles powered by electric motors. Manufacturers of EVs and HEVs are making it simpler and more convenient to maintain adequate electric charge levels to keep their vehicles running for longer distances on electric power, enticing more drivers to try these environmentally friendly vehicles. Of course, testing the electrical motors, systems, and their components is an important part of ensuring that every EV and HEV has the longest running times and operating lifetimes possible, and that involves understanding what needs to be tested and how to perform th... Read More

June 05, 2020

Getting Your Lab Equipment Back Up And Running
Getting Ready to Start Those Tests Electronic test equipment is designed to deliver meaningful data concerning a device under test (DUT), and most users assume they are achieving excellent accuracy when they power up their instruments. But what if the test instruments have been sitting on a shelf for some time (not unusual during this time of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic)? Can those instruments be expected to deliver the same levels of performance as instruments that are powered for use day after day and perform regular measurement routines? Or should test instruments that are being returned to regular use after considerable “downtime” be prepared in any way for handling a regular workload once again? This blog post offers steps or precautions that should be taken with in... Read More

May 21, 2020

Chroma 62000D programmable bidirectional DC power supply series
Chroma 62000D programmable bidirectional DC power supply series has power source and load characteristics, is two quadrant operated, allows feedback of the power from the DUT, and is used for testing renewable energy power systems, including PV/storage hybrid inverters, power conversion system (PCS) on charging/discharging and as a battery simulator. 62000D also fits power components used in electric vehicles, such as bidirectional on-board charger (BOBC), bidirectional DC convertor, and DC-AC motor driver, so replacing power conversion simulation tests of batteries in both directions. For a traditional DC power supply to perform a motor driver test, it needs an additional protection diode and resistance to process the reverse current. One single 62000D bidirectional DC power supply devic... Read More

May 08, 2020

Basic DC Testing Keeps Drones Flying Longer
Drones or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are quickly being adopted for commercial and industrial applications, almost as quickly as they have been accepted as part of the modern battlefield for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. If major retailers follow through with plans to deliver purchased goods by drone, customers may soon expect to receive delivery of an order in as little as 30 minutes. UAVs and other robotic systems have already proven their value in many different areas, including in farming, in preventing forest fires, even in mapping long runs of power lines for breaks and failures. But what happens to a drone that is losing power? What must be tested, and which are the right instruments to perform the testing? Please join us in the conclusion of thi... Read More

April 13, 2020

Steering UAVs Clear with Digital Circuit Testing
Drones and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being used in a growing number of commercial, civil, industrial, and military applications. They are currently used for many security and surveillance tasks as well as for monitoring inventory in warehouses. They are expected to play major roles in almost by-the-hour delivery schemes being developed by major retailers. As noted in the previous blog, they depend on onboard sensors for gathering data, tracking, navigation, and positioning and wireless radio links (and regular testing of those links) for reliable command and control from a nearby ground station, even when the ground station turns out to be simply a smartphone. The radio signals between a drone and a controller, whether a vehicle is autonomous or guided by a remote pilot, can be c... Read More

March 04, 2020

Keep UAVs Flying High with Proper Testing
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), popularly known as drones, have been a part of military operations for decades, often paving the way for an operation with their remote intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance (ISR) capabilities. Those familiar with military drones may think of million-dollar UAVs like the Predator with comprehensive electronic weapons payloads, including radar and sophisticated navigation and guidance systems. The military demand for fixed- and rotary-wing UAVs has grown steadily over the past decade, but it is not the only market for these remote-controlled vehicles. Drones are rapidly gaining popularity in many other commercial and industrial markets, such as construction, real-estate aerial views, commercial and industrial security, warehouse management, law enfo... Read More

February 04, 2020

Finding Faults with TDR Test Instruments
Time-domain reflectometers (TDRs) are easy-to-use test instruments usually associated with finding faults in cables and antennas. How they work is simple: send a pulse with fast risetime into a cable under test and measure reflected signals that take place where the characteristic impedance (usually 50 Ω) deviates from the nominal value, usually because of a break or disturbance in the line. This approach to finding a fault can also be applied to fiber-optic cables using an optical pulse. Comparisons of the transmitted and reflected signals can provide information about the length of the line, the loss of the line, and the locations of discontinuities and breaks in the line. TDRs have been compared to radar systems, which transmit pulses and measure reflections from illuminated targe... Read More

January 15, 2020

Take to the Air with Dependable Avionics Testing
Avionics systems assist pilots in providing safe flights on commercial, industrial, and military aircraft. Failures in those systems usually leads to catastrophe, stressing the importance of proper testing of avionics systems and their components. As avionics systems become more automated and autonomous, they become more complex in their software and hardware. Suitable test equipment must keep pace with the functionality needed to “exercise” avionic systems and subsystems under real-world conditions, so that designers can fully understand the behavior of those systems, installers and maintainers know their performance levels, and pilots can count on reliable performance. Because of the complexity, a variety of test instruments and software tools are needed to test modern avioni... Read More

December 02, 2019

Gauging Impedance with the Highest Accuracy
Impedance is one of the most essential of electrical parameters, providing insight into how alternating current (AC) flows through an electronic device, circuit, or system. It is frequency dependent, and measurements can be made across a wide range of frequencies, from audio (20 Hz to 20 kHz) through microwave frequencies. Depending upon frequency, those measurements are performed with different instruments, including LCR meters at the lowest frequencies and network analyzers at the highest frequencies, with impedance analyzers in between. Measurements of basic circuit parameters such as impedance (Z) and admittance (Y) are usually supported by analysis of other additional circuit parameters, such as capacitance (C), resistance (R), inductance (L) and, in some cases, material parameters, s... Read More

November 12, 2019

Turn On The Temperature With Thermal Test Systems
Electronic device performance is sensitive to temperature, with most electronic devices and components specified according to operating and storage temperature ranges. Those ranges differ according to the type of component and application, with electronic products for industrial and military applications usually characterized over wider temperature ranges than commercial electronic products. Thermal test systems provide convenient ways to reproduce the temperature ranges that a device might encounter under actual operating conditions, but they also help bring temperature control to a device under test (DUT) as the means of performing thermal shock testing and accelerated lifetime testing. Selecting the best thermal test system for the job is simply a matter of understanding the thermal tes... Read More

October 01, 2019

Pack a Punch for High-Power Semiconductor Device Testing
Semiconductor devices are rapidly gaining in output-power capabilities, whether used in continuous-wave (CW) circuits or in pulsed applications. Because they have continued to increase power levels while remaining at such smaller sizes, power semiconductors have made vacuum-tube devices such as klystrons, magnetrons, and travelling-wave tubes (TWTs) all but forgotten except for designs at the highest power levels. But packing so much power into such small semiconductor chips and packaged devices poses the problem of properly testing these devices, for such parameters as breakdown voltage, leakage power, maximum output power, and typical operating lifetimes. Last month’s blog reviewed ways to perform capacitance-voltage (CV) measurements; this month’s blog will look at high-powe... Read More

September 03, 2019

Get a Charge Out of Device Capacitance-Voltage Testing
Transistors and integrated circuits (ICs) make many of our modern electronic “toys,” such as cellular telephones and computers, possible. But before it is possible to reliably design supporting circuits for new semiconductor devices, they must be accurately tested to better understand their electrical characteristics. Last month’s blog looked at the ways in which current changed with changing voltage. As a follow-up, this blog will explore capacitance as a function of applied voltage and how capacitance-voltage (C-V) measurements can greatly assist the modeling and design of circuits with semiconductor devices. Semiconductor devices come in many forms, including many types of transistors, diodes, and even photovoltaic devices and Micro-Electrical-Mechanical Systems(MEMS)... Read More

August 01, 2019

Capturing Semiconductor Current and Voltage Characteristics
Semiconductors have become such a profound part of modern electronic circuits and systems that they are often taken for granted. But a key part of any design process involving semiconductors requires gaining a full understanding of the current-versus-voltage (I-V) characteristics of each semiconductor and how each semiconductor will respond under different I-V conditions (and, in generation, under as many as possible different operating conditions). With the proper test equipment, semiconductor I-V measurements can be performed quickly and efficiently. As with any electrical tests, I-V measurements take time, and time is a key parameter of those measurements. Semiconductor I-V testing is typically performed as a series of swept measurements, with values of I and V changing for each measur... Read More

July 02, 2019

Tracing a History of Test Solutions
Test instruments have been an integral part of American electronic product development for over a century. Since pioneering telegraph/radio work by Guglielmo Marconi in the late 19th century through war-time efforts accelerated by the battlefield requirements of World Wars I and II for radio, sonar, and radar systems, electronics technology has grown into the mammoth global industry that now serves much of the world’s population with electronic devices of one kind or another. And many of those devices would not be designed, developed, or maintained if not for the creative efforts of innovative engineers at leading test equipment manufacturers, such as Amplifier Research (www.arworld.us), Chroma Systems Solutions (www.chromausa.com), Fluke Corp. (www.fluke.com), Keysight Technologies ... Read More

June 03, 2019

Investigating Inverters As Part of a Solar Array
Solar energy is a clean alternative to other sources of electricity for many business and home users of electricity, once the right equipment is installed. It requires the highly visible solar panels placed in a position and an angle best suited to “catch” the sunlight for the maximum amount of time each day. The number of photovoltaic (PV) cells used in those panels is determined by the amount of electricity required from a PV system and the maximum amount of power will not always be the same due to cloudy days and rainstorms which will limit the amount of electricity from PV sources. But solar energy is a renewable resource and is inexpensive once a PV system has been installed and the different components working properly. This can be done with the proper tools and the right... Read More

May 06, 2019

Keeping Self-Driving Vehicles on the Road
Self-driving cars, also known as autonomous vehicles, are literally right down the road. These electronically guided vehicles of the future will be built with advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) hardware and software, using several different technologies to detect and track other cars, pedestrians, and objects on the road and steer the vehicle and its driver clear of harm. One of the key technologies in vehicular ADAS electronic systems will be 77-GHz radars. ADAS uses several sensor technologies, such as optical, laser-based LiDAR, and radar sensors, to provide constant input information to a computer control system for each vehicle. The sensors are mounted in the front and the back of the vehicle for longer-distance monitoring and at the four corners of the vehicle, for more short-... Read More

April 02, 2019

When Temperature and Humidity are Under Control
Environmental conditions can vary widely from place to place and season-to-season, often making it necessary to evaluate electronic products while temperature and humidity are well controlled. Testing a device under test (DUT) or equipment under test (EUT) under adverse environmental conditions can often reveal problems in a design and help discover ways to improve a design meant for use over temperature and humidity extremes. An essential tool for performing such testing is an environmental chamber capable of accurately controlling temperature and humidity. Environmental test chambers are available in many sizes and power levels, depending on measurement requirements. An environmental test chamber well suited to an application should provide the amount of control needed in terms of adjus... Read More

March 08, 2019

Learn More About Electronic Loads
Electronic loads may be somewhat mysterious to some engineers, but they can be invaluable test instruments in the development of power circuitry. Electronic loads provide the means to generate precisely controlled electrical power for simulation and test, with control of key parameters, such as current, voltage, and load impedance/resistance, to aid in development of new products and in the maintenance of existing products. Electronic loads come in various forms, including AC electronic loads, DC electronic loads, and even combination AC / DC electronic loads. Learning more about electronic loads and how they work can encourage electronic designers to achieve optimum performance levels from the power circuitry, power supplies, batteries, and fuel cells in their designs. Both AC and DC ele... Read More

February 05, 2019

Finding The Right Oscilloscope For Your Next IoT Measurement
As much as the Internet has become as part of daily lives and businesses, the Internet of Things (IoT) and billions of tiny electronic devices will soon provide the means to quickly identify an unlimited number of associated things at home, in businesses, even for personal health. The oscilloscope, with its measurement flexibility and versatility, will be an important tool in helping to design and maintain the many low-power IoT sensors that will be needed in the future. Of course, all oscilloscopes are different, and knowing which measurement capabilities are needed for characterizing IoT devices can simplify the task of finding an oscilloscope with the hardware and software best suited for evaluating IoT sensors. IoT devices are small, typically battery-powered devices that identify som... Read More

January 04, 2019

Put A Charge Into Your Battery Testing
Batteries provide power for portable electronic devices. They come in many shapes and sizes, from tiny cells that power pocket-sized personal electronic devices to large, fixed systems. They are also available in different chemistries, such as alkaline, lead-acid, and lithium-ion cells. Each battery chemistry results in battery cells with different voltages, such as 1.5 V for alkaline cells, 2.0 V for lead-acid cells, and 3.0 V for lithium cells. Commercial batteries are typically comprised of multiple connected cells to achieve higher voltages, such as 12 or 24 V. Batteries are obviously essential components in any portable electronic product or system, and should be tested to determine performance and quality, whether in production or as part of a regular maintenance schedule. Testing ma... Read More

December 03, 2018

Analyzers Open Eyes to Optical Measurements
Optical communications systems are highly regarded for their generous bandwidths and capabilities of transferring massive amounts of data during extremely short transmission times. Of course, those systems rely on durable, high-performance components connected by single-mode (SM) and multi-mode (MM) cables, which must be checked and maintained at regular intervals. That can be done using fiber-optic test equipment designed specifically for the task: optical spectrum analyzers and optical waveform generators. This blog will focus on selecting an optical spectrum analyzer, while a future blog will offer advice on understanding the specifications for selecting an optimum precision optical test source. An optical spectrum analyzer is essentially a receiver that can detect and displaying signa... Read More

November 06, 2018

Which Makes More Sense - Renting or Buying Test Equipment
Test equipment is essential for the operation of most electronic manufacturers and service providers, and most engineers develop a kind of “relationship” of sorts with that favorite signal generator or oscilloscope and may even arrive early to the workplace to get the first shot at using the favorite test equipment. Of course, it would be ideal if a company could equip every workstation with a full lineup of test equipment, so that an engineer knew that the test equipment was waiting for them, and not vice versa. But, the cost of test equipment can add up quickly, especially when trying to equip everyone in a design team with a full set of test gear. For many companies, it may be more practical to carefully consider when to buy a new piece of test equipment and when it might ma... Read More

November 01, 2018

Axiom Test Equipment Now ISO/IEC 17025:2017 Accredited
Vista, CA —Axiom Test Equipment, a premier provider of electronic test and measurement equipment rentals and sales, is now accredited in accordance with ISO/IEC 17025:2017 requirements from the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB). This high-level accreditation is awarded to labs that have demonstrated technical competence, systematic approaches to procedures, and traceability of measurements to national standards. Shannon Johnson, Axiom’s Vice President of Operations states, “Achieving 17025 accreditation is an important milestone for the growth of our business and expands the capabilities of our lab. It opens doors to new markets and gives customers high confidence when they rent or buy equipment from Axiom Test Equipment. Even if they do not require calibratio... Read More

October 01, 2018

The Importance of Pre-Compliance Testing
EMC pre-compliance testing can be a company-saver—a way to make sure a new product will pass electromagnetic-compatibility (EMC) compliance testing. EMC pre-compliance testing is basically an earlier version of EMC compliance testing, a way to determine the EM emissions from a new design as well as its immunity to nearby EM energy. Not only can it save time to market, it can save the costs of re-designing a product that fails EMC compliance testing. Almost any new electronic product can be at risk of failing EMC compliance testing. EMC pre-compliance testing is a way to minimize that risk by performing some simple measurements before shipping the new product to an EMC compliance test lab for evaluation. Failing EMC compliance testing at an accredited EMC compliance test lab can lead... Read More

September 11, 2018

Pursuing Power At its Purest
Power supplies are often taken for granted in electronic system design, although the quality of the power supply is one of the most important parameters for any electronic system. The power and its supply serve as forms of heartbeats for an electronic system and have a great deal to do with the ultimate performance and reliability of the system. The purity of the power in a component or system can be determined by a variety of measurements, using the proper power-quality measurement equipment. Because power purity is usually revealed by the connection of a nonlinear load which will stress a component or system into distortion, it is not something that can be measured with a simple test tool, such as a multimeter, but requires an instrument designed for measuring power parameters even under... Read More

August 07, 2018

Testing Those Millions Of Wireless IoT Devices
There may one day be billions or even trillions of Internet of Things (IoT) devices in service, using the Internet to connect to us and to each other. IoT technology is already making homes, factories, warehouses, and even vehicles smarter, using sensors, detectors, RFID tags, radio transceivers, and software to provide data about different equipment and environments that can be collected and analyzed at any time. IoT devices can be accessed by any communications equipment such as mobile phones and laptop computers capable of connecting to the Internet. The Internet provides the means of linking the IoT devices to each other and providing data about how they are being used and about the environments in which they are being used. Ideally, IoT devices provide the insights needed for optimize... Read More

July 02, 2018

Make Meaningful Current-Voltage (I-V) Measurements
Current-voltage (I-V) measurements are among the most fundamental methods for characterizing electronic devices. They can be used to evaluate the behavior of active and passive electronic devices under a required set of operating conditions, to find optimum power supply values, and explore performance limits. Most device measurements are either to determine the current flow for a given voltage or the capacitance of an electronic device for a given voltage (C-V measurements). The x-y plots and curves that result can tell a great deal about the electronic device, to better understand its operation and behavior in an electronic circuit or to develop a computer-aided model that can be used in circuit simulation software. Electronic devices that can be evaluated by means of I-V measurements in... Read More

June 05, 2018

Getting The Call For 5G Network Testing
More time is spent on mobile telephones than ever before, and that is not a trend that is about to change anytime soon with the coming of Fifth Generation (5G) wireless communications networks. If anything, 5G networks are being ballyhooed as historic landmarks in the history of the world, with so many users growing to become dependent upon those wireless networks for voice, video, and data from personal to business matters. Of course, 5G networks will have some things that previous wireless communications networks didn’t have, including the use of millimeter-wave signal frequencies for backhaul high-speed data links. Current Fourth Generation (4G) cellular wireless network boast maximum download speeds to 1 Gb/s, but 5G proponents are promising much more, with download speeds as hig... Read More

May 01, 2018

Making Measurements That Keep EVs and HEVs on the Road
Electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are gaining in popularity; seemingly as they gain in the range of each battery charge. Both EVs and HEVs rely on high-voltage batteries and an electric motor; in addition, an HEV is aided by a gasoline engine with its own fuel supply. Both types of vehicles still employ lower-voltage batteries and electrical systems for lights, radios, electric windows, and other voltage-driven functions. Of course, among the key functions in an EV or HEV is charging the high-voltage battery, whether at home or at a remote charging station, and maintaining the efficiency of that battery-charging process. For that reason, test equipment that is capable of emulating the different types of high-voltage batteries used in EVs and HEVs and the charging/... Read More

April 03, 2018

Taking Proper Measure To Ensure Safer Products
Electrical safety testing (EST) is often performed by manufacturers of electronic products to ensure the safety of their customers and learn more about their products. Properly performed, basic EST functions such as AC high-potential (hipot) testing, DC hipot testing, and insulation resistance (IR) measurements can help to identify and eliminate manufacturing problems before they become too widespread in production or even become part of shipped products. Performing EST as part of manufacturing production can provide a great deal of insight into the design of an electronic product and often lead to ideas on improving the reliability of that product. In general, EST measurements are performed during two different stages of a product lifetime: during product research and development (R&... Read More

March 12, 2018

Choosing Between a Digital Multimeter (DMM) and an Ohmmeter, Ammeter, or Voltmeter
Digital multimeters (DMMs) are one of the handiest of tools for any electrician or engineer, putting a host of measurement capabilities in one hand. A multimeter and its probes can measure voltage (V), current (I), and resistance (R) while operating with battery power wherever and whenever needed, over fairly wide measurement ranges depending on the model. Many excellent instruments are currently available from a number of highly respected manufacturers. When sorting through a group of different DMMs, the instrument of choice should provide sufficient accuracy and resolution, and it should be rugged enough to withstand the rigors of the workplace, which may include occasional mishandling. A DMM is truly portable and versatile, but is it always the best choice for a measurement, or does it ... Read More

February 05, 2018

Preparing Wide-Bandgap Devices for Higher-Power Applications
Semiconductors are essential components in many electronic products, with many different kinds of semiconductors, such as transistors, diodes, and integrated circuits (ICs), performing important functions in a wide range of applications. Recently, wide-bandgap (WBG) semiconductors, notably those taking advantage of the electrical properties of gallium nitride (GaN) and silicon-carbide (SiC) substrate materials, have gained much attention for their contributions to power electronics products. But just what are WBG semiconductors, how are they different from semiconductors with narrower bandgaps, and what kinds of test-and-measurement approaches and solutions are needed to evaluate a WBG semiconductor? Please read on! High-power semiconductor devices fabricated on certain materials, such as... Read More

January 10, 2018

Press Release - Axiom Test Equipment Launches A Company Video
Go on a virtual tour of what it would be like to rent or buy test equipment from Axiom Vista, CA — Axiom Test Equipment, Inc., a premier electronic test equipment rental and sales provider, has produced a company video with the goal of showing customers what it is like to partner with a test equipment rental company that wants to help you get the equipment you need in a timely manner. This video was filmed at Axiom’s headquarters in Vista, California where the Axiom team wanted to give customers an inside look of what happens when they call in and place an order. Viewers will see Axiom’s various departments at work including the sales team where a dedicated account manager will work with you to select the equipment you need. The video then moves into other departments ... Read More

January 03, 2018

Generating RF/Microwave Signals for Test
Generating RF/Microwave Signals for Test The last test blog highlighted instruments capable of producing many different test signals, including pulses, square waves, and audio tones. It explored function generators and their value in checking the performance of a variety of circuits, from audio through digital. However, at higher analog frequencies, such as when testing receivers and their components, RF/microwave signal generators provide the optimum sources of test signals for teaming with a suitable signal analyzer, such as a spectrum analyzer. Choosing an RF/microwave signal generator is fairly straightforward and often comes down to how much performance will be needed in the short-term or the long-term, since modern RF/microwave signal generators are available with robust functionali... Read More

December 04, 2017

Generate the Right Function for the Job
Repeatable signals are often needed for measurements, and signal generators are sources of test signals of many kinds. A signal source might be needed for a sine wave at a particular frequency or range of frequencies, or for a different kind of waveform, such as a square wave or a triangle wave. Quite simply, test signal generators can be divided into two camps: function generators and RF/microwave signal generators. When an elaborate waveform is needed at a lower frequency, such as 10 MHz, reach for the function generator. When a higher-frequency sine wave is required, such as in the GHz range, make sure it is an RF/microwave signal generator. This blog will take a closer look at function generators, which are also known as arbitrary waveform generators. The next blog will focus on the ke... Read More

November 08, 2017

VNAs Provide Versatile Measurement Capabilities
Vector network analyzers (VNAs) were once associated mainly with RF/microwave frequencies, although they have gained popularity in recent years at audio frequencies. They are unique among electronic measuring instruments in their capabilities to measure circuits as networks and to understand the transmission and reflection of signals through those networks and how changes in impedance can impact the transfer of energy through those networks. The most popular commercial VNA configurations are available with two or four ports, enabling the measurement of a device’s or circuit’s performance in terms of linear network scattering (S) parameters or its nonlinear behavior. VNAs are complex test systems, but a review of some of their essential measurement capabilities can help in selec... Read More

October 11, 2017

Perusing Specs for Power Supplies and Electronic Loads
Power supplies and electronic loads are forms of test equipment that go together like signal generators and analyzers. Power supplies generate precise amounts of energy to power a device under test (DUT) while electronic loads provide the means to measure the output of an energy source, such as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), an inverter, or even a battery. Power supplies and loads are available for AC or DC testing, over a wide range of power ratings and capacities. Finding the right match for an application is a matter of understanding the specifications for each type of instrument and the performance levels needed for the measurements in mind. AC and DC power supplies are defined by a voltage range, maximum voltage, current range and maximum current. Some supplies may also be ra... Read More

September 25, 2017

Scanning the Specifications of a Spectrum Analyzer
Spectrum analyzers are among the most versatile of electronic test instruments, with versions now available for the benchtop, battery-powered for the field, and even with USB connectors for use with a computer. A spectrum analyzer displays signal amplitude as a function of frequency, and it can be used to study known signals or to find unknown signals. Those in need of a spectrum analyzer will find many different choices—by understanding how the specifications fit their needs, they can make the right choice. The most essential specifications of a spectrum analyzer refer to frequency and amplitude, such as the frequency range, resolution bandwidth (RBW), frequency accuracy, signal sensitivity, dynamic range, and amplitude accuracy. The frequency range of an analyzer simply defines th... Read More

August 03, 2017

Prepare for Practical Pulsed RF Measurements
Prepare for Practical Pulsed RF Measurements Pulsed RF microwave measurements use pulses of precise pulse widths, intervals, and amplitudes as test signals rather than the continuous-wave (CW) signals of standard high-frequency measurements. For systems and their components that operate with pulses, such as radars, these test signals represent the actual operating conditions more closely than CW signals. Pulses also provide a means of testing components, such as amplifiers, at high power levels when CW signals may cause overheating and damage. A basic test system for pulsed RF testing requires the means of generating pulsed signals and some way to analyze the pulsed signals at the output of a device under test (DUT). As pulsed RF signal applications such as radar continue to expand beyond... Read More

July 07, 2017

Harmonic Content Versus the Bandwidth That Your Engineers Require
Harmonic signals are generated by almost every high-frequency signal source with sufficient bandwidth, no matter how well designed. Any signal source with more than one octave bandwidth is capable of producing harmonic outputs. The harmonics can be removed by means of lowpass filters, but first they must be identified. A spectrum analyzer is usually the test instrument of choice for measuring harmonic signals. An instrument with sufficient bandwidth can display a fundamental signal and a number of its harmonic signals simultaneously to simplify identification of harmonics. The number of harmonics that can be displayed for a particular fundamental-frequency signal will depend upon the frequency range or bandwidth of the analyzer. Harmonics are generated as the result of the nonlinear behav... Read More

June 05, 2017

Audio Measurements Lead to Higher Fidelity
Audio circuits and transducers can be found in many modern electronic devices, such as smart phones, not to mention home and professional audio systems and sound equipment. High fidelity can be achieved through thoughtful design and well-chosen components, but it also requires proper testing to verify performance. Audio signals are produced by analog and digital circuits, although one set of performance parameters can serve as the basis for measurements on all kinds of audio circuits and devices, to determine if a device under test (DUT) is truly high fidelity. Audio frequencies lie within the range of human hearing, typically 20 Hz to 20 kHz, but human hearing is more sensitive to some frequencies than others and is not a good tool for evaluating the audio quality of a DUT. For that reas... Read More

April 17, 2017

How to Pick a Power Supply for the Test Bench
How to Pick a Power Supply for the Test Bench Power is an essential ingredient for testing any active device under test (DUT), although electronic DUTs vary widely as do their power-supply requirements. Finding the right power supply for the laboratory or the production line starts with a budget and it ends hopefully; with finding a power source that meets all the test needs for present and future DUTs. Whether it is an AC power source or a DC power supply, or a single unit that can provide both types of power, a practical power supply will provide controlled current and voltage to enable testing a DUT under all the different operating conditions it is likely to see in actual use.  Performance requirements for a power supply start with the DUT. For example, a DUT may be a portable d... Read More

March 15, 2017

Gain Some Guidance On Amplifier Measurements
Amplifiers are widely used in electronic circuits and systems. They raise signal amplitudes as needed, whether to drive low-impedance audio amplifiers or higher-impedance RF/microwave circuits. They are characterized by various sets of measurements, with some for audio amplifiers and some for higher-frequency amplifiers. Evaluating the performance of an amplifier calls for the right tools, and finding the right test equipment is a matter of understanding which measurements must be performed.   Amplifier measurements differ by frequency, with some measurements for audio amplifiers, and different measurements for higher-frequency amplifiers. Audio amplifiers, which are typically specified from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, are typically tested from at least 20 Hz to 50 kHz to account for any harmo... Read More

February 22, 2017

Add an Amplifier for High-Power RF Testing
Amplifiers are often needed as part of an RF/microwave test setup, to boost test signal power. Commercial test signal generators may provide +10 dBm or less output power, especially at the upper-frequency portion of their bandwidth. This is not nearly enough power to characterize passive components, such as attenuators and filters, under realistic conditions or stress them under maximum power conditions. It is also not enough test input power to drive many active components, such as amplifiers, to their compression points, such as 1-dB compression or 3-dB compression. For that reason, when testing an amplifier, often an additional amplifier is needed to add gain to the test signals. The choice of test amplifier will be determined by the bandwidth and power requirements of a particular test... Read More

January 31, 2017

Bolster Battery Performance With Proper Measurements
Batteries provide the power for portability, from the miniature rechargeable batteries of cellular phones to the larger battery packs of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). Ideally, rechargeable/regenerative batteries provide long operating lifetimes; with long discharge cycles and short recharge times. To determine performance levels, rechargeable secondary batteries must be tested for a number of meaningful parameters with the appropriate measurement equipment. Testing can tell such details as how well a battery can hold its charge in terms of voltage, current, and power, how efficient it is, and how effectively it can be recharged. Rechargeable batteries of different chemistries, such as lead-acid, nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd), and lithium-ion (Li-ion) types, are use... Read More

December 13, 2016

Simulate Power Sources in a Distributed Grid – Let us know what you think
Clean energy is vital to an evolving world and its increasing use of electronic devices, and a distributed power grid provides the means to provide that power. In a distributed power grid, the energy comes from many different sources and technologies, including solar power inverters, hydroelectric power, and wind power generators. Distributed energy resources (DERs) that are sometimes part of a power grid are switched on and off as needed according to user requirements. Efficient management of a distributed power grid requires such capabilities as remote control of the microgrids or different portions of the grid, so that they can be switched in and out as power is needed and, especially, regular measurement and maintenance of the performance of the different parts of a distributed grid. ... Read More

November 30, 2016

Axiom's 2017 calendars are coming soon!
Axiom Test Equipment not only offers test equipment rental, we also made a fun calendar for 2017 with scenes of the test equipment your familiar with - shown in new unique ways!    ... Read More

November 07, 2016

Measuring Phase Noise And Why It Matters
Phase noise describes a signal source’s short-term variations in frequency or phase as a function of time. That is how it is known in the frequency domain; it is also known as clock jitter in the time domain. A signal source, such as an oscillator or frequency synthesizer, without phase noise, would be capable of generating pure sine waves that would never vary from a tuned frequency: all of the source’s energy would be concentrated in the carrier frequency, with no frequency deviations to cause lower and upper noise sidebands at frequencies below and above the carrier, respectively.   However, real-world signal sources suffer short-term variations in frequency and phase noise. The amount of phase noise is a barometer for the amount of frequency stability possible from a... Read More

October 06, 2016

Determining DC Power: A Closer Look at DC Power Analyzers
Measurements of DC power can reveal a great deal about a system or its components. Power consumption is a global concern, and DC measurements, depending upon the choice of test equipment, can provide important details about the components that handle DC power within an electronic system, such as AC-to-DC converters, DC-to-DC converters, DC to AC converter, DC loads, inverters, and power supplies. The levels of DC power that often must be measured can range from milliwatts in portable electronic devices to thousands of watts produced by DC power generators and power supplies. While it is possible to determine power by measuring DC current and voltage with a voltmeter, modern test tools can make the task much easier by automatically measuring DC current and voltage over multiple channels and... Read More

August 18, 2016

Reliability Testing of Wide Bandgap Semiconductor Devices
One of the more recent developments in power electronics are wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductor devices. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, WBG semiconductor devices will: Operate up to 300 degrees C Operate at voltage up to ten times the operating voltage of conventional semiconductors Eliminate up to 90% of the power losses in electricity transfer compared to current semiconductor technology They also switch faster and have a higher frequency response than current semiconductor devices. WBG semiconductor devices are made from silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN) semiconductors. You can currently purchase SiC MOSFETS, BJTs, and Schottky diodes and GaN FETs and Schottky diodes. Applications for these devices include electric vehicles, power conversion for wind an... Read More

June 17, 2016

Test Equipment for EMC/EMI
What is EMC/EMI? The letters EMC stand for electro-magnetic compatibility and likewise EMI stands for electro-magnetic interference. There are standards that are used to determine whether or not a test article is susceptible to, or emits, an unacceptable level of interference. It can be either radiated or conducted in form. The standards are defined by regulatory agencies worldwide and are specific to particular scenarios. There are literally hundreds of different standards that various types of equipment must meet depending on their application and country of origin. Electronic devices cannot be sold unless they pass the standards specified for the type of device it is, and the location or environment it is being used in. This is a safety and compatibility requirement. This makes testin... Read More

May 09, 2016

Considerations In Choosing An Environmental Chamber
What Is An Environmental Chamber? An environmental chamber is used to test various types of equipment under controlled environmental conditions. These conditions include temperature, the most common variable, and sometimes, humidity. More advanced types can run programs to cycle the variables over extensive ranges and are used to validate the performance of various types of equipment when subjected to extremes of temperature, and humidity. Also needing to be considered is the number and type of connections available for connecting to the unit under test. Power, temperature probes, thermocouples, and communication busses are passed through ports that can be on either side, both sides, and even the front door. Some specialized types of chambers are used for EMI testing and will not be cover... Read More

April 11, 2016

Considerations In Choosing An RF Amplifier
What Is An RF Amplifier? An RF amplifier is similar to an audio amplifier, but applied at much higher frequencies. The frequency boundary where an amplifier is considered to be an RF type is typically vague. Applications requiring a frequency over 100 kHz often defines this boundary. We will address this in the amplifier types and frequency response section. Being an amplifier we will be concerned with power output, or wattage, frequency response, noise figure, efficiency, gain, and distortion / linearity.[1] Amplifier Types Amplifier technologies come in several types. Each type will have a different frequency response characteristic. The major technologies of RF power amps include: vacuum tube, TWT, and solid state. The solid-state types can be further classified as bipolar junction o... Read More

March 08, 2016

Considerations In Choosing A Spectrum Analyzer
The Spectrum Analyzer The spectrum analyzer, also referred to as a “spec an”, is an essential piece of test equipment for the engineer’s bench. The spectrum analyzer displays frequency vs. amplitude as opposed to time vs. amplitude as with an oscilloscope. Since spectrum analyzers display frequency vs. amplitude they are essentially an AC input device. This means that they cannot display DC values like an oscilloscope can. However, slowly varying DC is a perfectly valid input signal. The use of a spectrum analyzer allows the visualization of the harmonic content of any signal. An absolutely pure sine wave will have no harmonics (multiples of the fundamental frequency). Since this is impossible in the real world a spectrum analyzer will display the entire harmonic content... Read More

February 17, 2016

Considerations In Choosing A Network Analyzer
The Network Analyzer Essential in the development of RF circuits and systems, the Network Analyzer is a very specialized piece of test equipment. Combining a precise signal source and sensitive receivers, the network analyzer displays the amount of energy that is transmitted or reflected by a network. The term “network” refers to any linear circuit or system that signals travel through. This can include antenna arrays of all types also. Just because there is not a physical connection between the source and receiver doesn’t mean it is not a system! Network Analyzers are useful for electrical engineering, electronics engineering, and communication systems design, and especially for microwave engineering. They are also known as a VNA, or vector network analyzer. It sho... Read More

January 21, 2016

Considerations In Choosing An Oscilloscope
Oscilloscope Description The oscilloscope, referred to as a “scope” going forward, is without a doubt the most versatile piece of test equipment on the engineer’s bench. No R&D or test bench is complete without one. In its most basic form, an oscilloscope displays voltage versus time with a calibrated display. The display takes the form of an XY graticule with calibrated vertical and horizontal divisions, known as a CRT. The feature that made the scope useful is the ability to trigger, or start a trace sweep, at precisely the same point in a repetitive waveform. This makes the trace stable and flicker free and easy to view. The primary characteristic of analog types is that there is a direct DC path from the input all the way to the deflection plates on the CRT displ... Read More

August 19, 2015

How To Select Suitable AC Sources & Loads
Alternating-current (AC) power sources and loads can bring tremendous versatility to test systems and measurement applications, helping to precisely control the energy required for testing. Of course, selecting an AC power supply for different types of applications can be challenging. But the task can be made easier by better understanding key performance parameters that differentiate AC power supplies and loads, and matching AC source and load capabilities to meet current and future measurement requirements. In a typical test environment, an AC power source will supply a repeatable, precisely controlled, low-distortion sinusoidal voltage to a device under test (DUT). The AC source must be capable of providing the amount of power required by the DUT. The power source should be accurate, c... Read More

June 29, 2015

Why Such High Costs for Test Equipment (Repost from Microwaves & RF)
Why Such High Costs for Test Equipment? by Jack Browne in Measuring Progress Most of us have waited on line at the workplace for a signal generator, or a spectrum analyzer, or even a digital multimeter. We may have even sneaked the use of a piece of test equipment from a coworker during their lunch break, to try to get some test results on a particular project. At any engineering facility worth its salt, test equipment will usually be in demand, and there is always the “engineering complaint” of there not being enough test equipment “in the house.” Many of us have asked, “Why doesn’t the company simply invest in more test gear so that the engineering staff can work more efficiently and effectively?” And most of us have received official corporate... Read More

April 09, 2015

Axiom Test Equipment Launches Redesigned Axiomtest.com Website
Axiom Test Equipment, a premier provider of electronic test and measurement equipment rentals and sales, announces the launch of a new, redesigned version of its website, www.axiomtest.com Key features of the site include a simplified, more contemporary design, an improved user experience with enhanced search functionality and navigation menus, and the ability to improve the site for future enhancements.“We wanted to redesign our site to become a better resource for users,” said Axiom’s Marketing Manager Erin Stucker. “The faster and easier it is for users to find the equipment they are looking for on our site, the better.” The redesigned website allows visitors to more easily interact with the site in order to find the equipment the... Read More

August 25, 2014

Nine Reasons It's Better to Rent Test Equipment
When most companies think about acquiring test equipment, they think about purchasing it. Before you sign that purchase order, however, you should consider renting the equipment instead. Here are nine reasons why it might be better to rent test equipment than buying it:   Renting equipment allows you to get equipment without having a capital budget. Capital budgets are generally approved only once a year, so what do you do if, all of a sudden, you need some test equipment in the middle of the year? You rent it, of course! Rentals are paid for with expense dollars, not capital dollars. Because equipment rentals come out of your expense budget instead of your capital budget, there may be some tax advantages for your company. The expense of an equipment rental can be deduct... Read More

March 28, 2014

Buying Made Easy: How eBay is changing the Test Equipment Industry
Where do you turn when it’s time to buy?  What do you do when you need it now? Who can you trust?  When engineers need something, they need it fast.  They want tested, functional equipment that is ready to hit their bench straight out of the box. Nobody likes the surprise of getting something that needs a tinkering and sometimes there’s no time to wait for your purchasing department to get its paperwork together. eBay just might be the solution. eBay has come a long way since its initial growth in 1997. Long gone are the days of hobbyist trading their Star Wars collections via online auctions and weekend warriors taking their garage sales digital.  Instead, eBay has emerged as a leading online retailer and premier e-commerce site where buyers can safely p... Read More

January 29, 2014

Equipment Oddities Make Repair a Challenge
I’ve dealt with a lot of different types of test equipment over the years, but I’m still amazed sometimes at what lands on my bench. The only way to explain this is it’s just plain odd. As if dealing with all the sophisticated circuitry in modern test equipment isn’t tough enough, I’ve had to deal with odd modifications, strange setups, and confusing control panels. Odd modifications I cringe when I open up equipment and find odd modifications. Sometimes there are components missing from boards, circuit board traces that have been cut, or wires soldered to components on the board and or control knobs. Many times these modifications are not documented on the schematics that I have.  Manufacturers tell me that these are just engineerin... Read More

November 27, 2013

How To Use Your Senses When Troubleshooting Test Equipment
Save time by analyzing broken equipment with nothing but your senses!  When confronted with a piece of equipment that’s not working, lots of things will be running through your mind. Modern test equipment is, after all, very complex, and lots of things can go wrong with it. Oh, the dreaded equipment that needs repair, where to start? You may already have some information. The repair ticket might say, “Won’t turn on” or “Display not working.” That’s a good start, but I would suggest that before you open the toolbox or break out the schematics, you gather some troubleshooting information using your senses.  Your senses--sight, hearing, touch, and even smell--can tell you a lot about what’s wrong with the gear and get ... Read More

October 04, 2013

Don't Blow It!
OK, I admit it. I’ve made mistakes that have led to blown power supplies and blown inputs and outputs on some of the equipment that I’ve worked on. You don’t have to make those same mistakes, though, if you follow these simple tips. Don’t blow it! Check the voltage AND polarity of a replacement power adapter. Many instruments these days are using external power adapters, or “wall warts,” to provide power. Using a replacement adapter sounds easy enough, but not so fast. Not only do you have to ensure that the replacement adapter has the appropriate output voltage, but also that the output connector is wired properly. For some adapters, the center pin is positive and the outer conductor negative. For others, it’s the exact opposite, and I... Read More

August 01, 2013

Preventive Maintenance Tips To Make Your Test Equipment Last!
Six Preventive Maintenance Tips That Will Help Your Test Equipment Last Longer  I don’t have to tell you that test equipment is expensive. It’s expensive to buy, and it’s expensive to fix. That being the case, doesn’t it make sense to take some simple steps to keep your equipment from failing?  Here are six preventive maintenance tips that will: • extend life of your test equipment • reduce equipment downtime • ensure that your test equipment meets specs   #1. Keep it clean.  Heat kills, and the biggest culprit when it comes to overheating is dirt. Dirty fan filters and clogged ventilation holes impede the flow of air through your test equipment, meaning that the components inside are not being cooled properl... Read More

Why Choose Axiom?

Your testing is complicated enough, we want to make sourcing test equipment the easy part.

Dedicated Customer Service
We go beyond the role of order taker & strive to partner with you to provide a custom solution.
Competitive Prices
Equipment is agressively priced. We work with you to find a solution to fit your budget.

Fast Turnaround
No long drawn-out sales process, We help you find the equipment you need, and get through order processing quickly so your equipment ships out fast!

Warranty & Support
Comprehensive Parts and Labor warranty on all equipment sold. Includes a user manual, is fully accessorized, and tested to manufacturer specifications prior to shipment.


Wow, you are good! Thanks for all the information and thank you for your help! Much appreciated!


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