Test & Measurement

Time-domain reflectometers form basis for test platform

27th September 2018
Mick Elliott

Teledyne Test Tools (T3) is a branded portfolio that adds a comprehensive range of test equipment to the Teledyne LeCroy product offering. T3 products complement and leverage Teledyne LeCroy’s oscilloscope technology and are supported by the Teledyne LeCroy Sales and Customer Care organisations.

The T3 brand, which establishes a turnkey platform for test engineers, developers, and schools, takes flight with the launch of two new ultra-portable, inexpensive, reliable, and highly accurate time-domain reflectometers (TDRs).

“The launch of the T3 branded test equipment portfolio complements our oscilloscope technology and leverages our decades of market knowledge and strong customer relationships to create a one-stop shop for our customers’ test solutions needs,” said Roberto Petrillo, Worldwide VP of Teledyne Test Tool Development. “The T3 team is getting off to an exciting start with the introduction of two cutting-edge true-differential TDRs. By offering portability, reliability and advanced functionality at an affordable cost, our 10- and 15GHz TDRs deliver on a unique value proposition that other products in the marketplace simply don’t meet.”

Teledyne LeCroy’s two new TDRs, the T3SP10D (10GHz) and T3SP15D (15GHz), offer customers a combination of portability, reliability, and functionality at a cost-effective price point.

Before the availability of Teledyne LeCroy’s 10- and 15-GHz TDRs, portable tools were either much costlier high-end TDRs, or single-ended instruments with limited functionality.

The single-ended approach, which characterises a device under test (DUT) with mathematical calculation of frequency and time-domain characteristics, is not accurate enough to meet today’s need to understand and control impedances from end to end in the channel.

Furthermore, modern serial-data standards such as Ethernet and USB require measurement of impedance matching in the frequency domain using S parameters (S11), which would require the use of an unwieldy vector network analyser.

The TDRs stimulate the DUT with true differential and common-mode signals. This combination enables designers of high-speed data channels, test engineers, and field technicians to precisely locate impedance discontinuities that can adversely affect a data signal’s rise times, pulse width, timing, jitter and noise content, resulting in degradation of overall system reliability and functionality.

Using the same open short load (OSL) calibration standards as vector network analysers, the TDRs reach high levels of impedance plot accuracy.

Boasting a small form factor, light weight, and optional internal batteries, the instruments can go anywhere in test labs or in the field to measure impedance discontinuities in applications such as ECUs, Automotive Ethernet, and cable testing, and in industries including automotive, aerospace/defense, IC manufacturing, and telecom. They precisely identify and diagnose signal-integrity issues in interconnects, transmission lines, serial-data channels, and cables.

The TDRs offer fast rise times of 50ps (T3SP10D) and 35ps (T3SP15D) for fault resolution (in FR4) of 4.2mm and 3mm, respectively, at DUT lengths of up to 40 meters. TDR repetition rates of up to 10MHz rival that of costlier TDRs.

The instruments also come equipped with an ESD protection module based on high-performance coaxial RF switches that protect the TDRs’ RF-signal detectors from the input connector when the instrument is not in use, a feature highly valued by users for its potential extension of the instruments’ life span.

The Teledyne Test Tools T3SP10D and T3SP15D TDRs are available now at prices starting at $19,780. Options include internal battery, storage/travel case, phase-matched cables, differential probes, calibration kits, and on-site training.

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