Everything for Electronics

Test Equipment

Low Cost EMI Pre-Compliance Testing Using A Spectrum Analyzer

In today’s world of social media and online funding, the step from electronics hobbyist to manufacturer is not that great. Unfortunately, there’s one potential hiccup in this scenario, assuming you want to do it right: the need to demonstrate compliance with FCC emission rules. Here are some ideas to help you navigate these tricky waters.

A 3-in-1 Tester for Your Lab

This DIY piece of test equipment combines a variable DC voltage reference, a programmable function wave generator, and a fully functional frequency counter. Plus, it costs under $200. It started out as a microcontroller controlled variable voltage reference using just a PIC, a fixed voltage reference, and a digital-to-analog converter. However, it expanded to include a programmable function generator that can produce a sine wave, triangle wave, square wave, etc. I then went further to include a frequency counter to measure the frequency of the function generator output.

Setting Up a Test Bench

I can hardly imagine an electronics enthusiast without some sort of test bench. This can be as simple as a folding table and a couple of hand tools, along with a cheap DMM (Digital MultiMeter). Or, it can be as elaborate as a spare room just loaded with TE and a full complement of tools and accessories to go with it.

Build a Frequency Counter

Frequency counters have been around for years as a standard piece of test equipment in both commercial and hobby labs. If you need one for your workshop, take a gander at the one discussed here.

Zener Diode Tester

It’s very time-consuming to set up a power supply and voltmeter, and then select a series resistor to limit current just to measure the voltage of diodes. The unit described here is a simple two-transistor circuit that needs nothing more than a multimeter to build, test, and use it. The tester described in this article is a simple two-transistor circuit operating from a 9V battery which tests zener diodes with breakdown voltages up to 52 volts. Nothing more than a multimeter is necessary to build, test, and use the circuit.

Build a Low Voltage Insulation Tester

Ground faults are a curse to fire alarm systems. Even a small amount of current leaking to ground somewhere in the building can cause an unscheduled fire drill. Worse yet, a second ground fault somewhere else in the building can short out the whole system. An easy modification allows a low tech analog ohmmeter to detect insulation faults that a high tech digital ohmmeter fails to find.

A Test Bench Power Supply

Every bench needs a power supply to fully complement the rest of its test equipment. This dual channel, regulated, supply may be just what you need for design and repair of low and mid-power circuitry.