Monday, March 10, 2014

Upcoming software release unleashes the N7900 APS’s potential without any programming

Our N7900A Advanced Power System (APS) is well named, being the most advanced power product we’ve introduced to date. In many ways it is based on our N6700 series modular DC power system and N6705B DC power analyzer, incorporating their capabilities, including:
  • High precision programming and measurement
  • Seamless measurement ranging
  • High speed measurement digitization of voltage, current, and power
  • Long term data logging of voltage, current, and power
  • Output ARB and List capabilities
  • And quite a bit more

In addition the N7900A APS brings quite a few new and unique capabilities as well, including:
  • Much greater output power
  • Logic-configurable expression signal routing for advanced custom triggering and control
  • Optional external dissipater unit for full two quadrant operation
  • Optional black box recorder for post-test diagnostics when needed
  • And quite a bit more

To take advantage of these advance capabilities does require a bit of programming, which is to generally be expected for an automated test environment, but in low volume design validation and R&D this can slow down the desired quick time-to-result. The N6705B DC Power Analyzer, in Figure 1, has a full-featured front panel menu and graphical display that lets design validation and R&D users quickly configure and run complex power-related tests on their devices. In comparison, the N6700 series, pictured in Figure 2, does not have all the front panel capabilities of the N6705B and can be looked on as the ATE version of this product platform, requiring programming to take advantage of its advanced capabilities. The N6705B shares all the same DC power modules that the N6700 series uses.

Figure 1: The N6705B DC Power Analyzer, primarily for bench use

Figure 2: The N6700 series Modular DC Power System, primarily for ATE

The N7900A APS is very similar in form and function to the N6700 series, not having all the advanced front panel capabilities that the N6705B has for bench-friendly use of its advanced features. I am really pleased to be able to share with you that this is now changing! While we are not creating a bench version of the N7900 APS, we are upgrading our 14585A Control and Analysis software, which emulates the front panel of an N6705B and more, to work with the N7900 APS as well. The 14585A will soon let you quickly and easily create and configure complex power-related tests based on using the N7900 APS.  I am fortunate enough to be working with a beta version of the software. Some examples of things I was able to do in just a few minutes were to capture the inrush current of an automotive headlight, shown in Figure 3, and superimpose an AC sine wave disturbance on top of the DC output, shown in Figure 4.

Figure 3: Auto headlamp inrush current captured with 14585A software and N7951A APS

Figure 4: Sine wave voltage disturbance on top of DC generated by 14585A software and N7951A APS

The updated release of the 14585A Control and Analysis software is just a few weeks away. More about the 14585A software can be found by clicking on the following link <14585A>With the 14585A being a great way to implement ideas and tests quickly, using the N7900 APS, look for me and others coming up with some interesting applications in future posts here on “Watt’s Up?”!

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