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NEWS BLOG: Get a handle on energy consumption and harmonics sooner rather than later

If  the electronic device you are developing plugs into the wall for power, chances are that you will need to send it to a compliance lab to ensure it meets a  variety of international standards such as CE, IEC, CEC, CQC, Energy Star, and SPECpower.

Each trip to the compliance lab, depending on the lab’s pricing and the complexity of the required tests and the DUT, will cost anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000. Assuming all goes well, that cost is factored into the development budget and you can schedule testing in advance so you’re not delaying the product release date.

But the situation changes quickly if your design fails compliance testing. First you have to figure out why it failed and devise a fix. Then you have come up with the budget for the re-test and wait several weeks in the compliance lab’s testing queue. You’re adding expense and losing your time-to-market advantage.

Scenarios such as this are a big reason why pre-compliance testing is so important. Done correctly with the right equipment, it can ensure that compliance testing is little more than a formality saving you time and money.

Given the advantages of pre-compliance testing, why doesn’t everyone do it for every new design, every time?  There are two main reasons why engineering teams skip pre-compliance. The first is a lack of in-house power measurement expertise coupled with concerns about a long learning curve. The second is a lack of cost-effective, easy-to-use power analysis equipment for benchtop use.

Fortunately, all that is now in the past with the introduction of a new solution from Tektronix based on the PA1000 power analyzer. For about $3,000 – less than the cost of one failed trip to the compliance lab – you get a single phase, single channel, benchtop power analysis solution optimized for fast, efficient, and accurate power consumption testing to international standards.

This is a complete solution that any electronics engineer – power expert or not – can use for such tasks as pre-compliance harmonic analysis (IEC 61000-3-2 / 4-7), standby power testing (IEC 62301/Energy Star) and LED driver testing to CQC-3146. It also enables additional power consumption measurements such as power factor, crest factor, and Watt-hours. 


The PA1000 power analyzer in now available as a complete solution for pre-compliance harmonic testing and analysis.

Unlike the typical single-channel power analyzer with outdated 7-segment LED displays, the PA1000 offers an intuitive graphical user interface to go with such features as 1MHz bandwidth and best-in-class accuracy. The bandwidth is particularly important because it allows you to support devices with higher fundamental frequencies and still measure harmonics up to the 50th order. Harmonics, THD and related measurements can all be analyzed simultaneously with other power parameters.


Waveform display mode

Many competitive products are limited to 100 kHz bandwidth, which is a problem for applications like lighting or wireless charging. So for about half the cost of a competitive power analyzer, you get a graphical display, 5mW standby power sensitivity, IEC harmonics software and 10x the bandwidth along with a range of application-specific test modes.

Performing pre-compliance testing is straightforward. Simply make the connections between your DUT, the included breakout box and the front-panel input jacks on the PA1000. You then use PWRVIEW PC software to automate instrument setup, data collection and report generation with just a few clicks using wizard driven interfaces.

Skip the “I failed compliance testing blues” and take the time to learn more about the PA1000 here. Or better yet, contact your local Tektronix representative to work up a configuration that fits your needs today.

Tektronix also has additional resources to help with your power efficiency needs. Find out more here!