Friday, November 4, 2011

Wirelessly communicate with your power product

I recently had to do an evaluation of the interaction of one of our solar array simulator (SAS) power products with a customer’s device under test (DUT – in this case, a DC/DC optimizer). This required me to set up a variety of pieces of electronic test equipment in our lab area, located about 100 feet from my office cube. As part of the evaluation, I needed to change the internal firmware revision of the SAS to see if the output behavior was different with different firmware revisions. The SAS is LAN accessible and has downloadable firmware, so I planned to simply connect the SAS to LAN in our lab area and change the firmware using our firmware update utility located on my PC in my cube. However, I assembled the equipment in a location in our lab area that did not have a LAN port located nearby. So, I was ready to disconnect my laptop from its docking station in my cube and carry it over to the equipment in the lab area when I realized there was an easier way to do this: wirelessly!

A few months ago, I wrote an application note describing how to use a mobile router to wirelessly access one of our data acquisition/switch units. While the app note focused on controlling a data acquisition instrument, the process to connect wirelessly is identical for any well-behaved LAN-enabled product. So I grabbed one of the mobile routers I used to prove out the method described in the app note and connected it to the SAS. Within just a few minutes, I was able to change the firmware in the SAS from my cube located 100 feet away, without connecting the SAS to a wired LAN – I simply used my laptop’s built-in wireless.


In this case, I used the Sapido RB-1632 mobile router, shown in the photo below.


If you want to read the details about how to wirelessly connect to an instrument, refer to one of the following application notes. Once again, these were written to control the 34972A, but the same process can be applied to any well-behaved LAN-enabled instrument (LXI compliance is recommended).

“Access Your 34972A Wirelessly with a Sapido Mobile Router”:
http://cp.literature.agilent.com/litweb/pdf/5990-8734EN.pdf

“Access Your 34972A Wirelessly with a TRENDnet Travel Router”:
http://cp.literature.agilent.com/litweb/pdf/5990-8286EN.pdf

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