Adding modularity and versatility to field testing

20 May 2018

Clive Davis talks about a new portable test instrument which combines features of a general-purpose oscilloscope and those of a data acquisition recorder.

Unlike many portable measuring solutions such as portable oscilloscopes and combined oscilloscope/multimeters, this new portable test instrument – the DL 350 – adds precision and accuracy to field measurements, isolated inputs for measurements at high voltage levels, and long-memory capabilities.

A key feature is its plug-in modularity, which allows the unit to be configured to suit a variety of applications. Two slots are populated with any of 18 different types of user-swappable input modules in a setup which allows measurements on multiple channels of a mixed selection of parameters such as voltage and current; temperature, vibration/acceleration, strain and frequency; logic signals and CAN/LIN bus signals; and sensor outputs.

The power in single and three-phase systems can be evaluated. In addition, for fundamental waveforms of 50 or 60 Hz, up to 40 harmonic orders can be analysed. Alternatively, it is possible to use the suite of FFT functions to perform full frequency analysis. The DL350 ScopeCorder is based on an A4-sized compact chassis and weighs less than 2.6 kg excluding battery. The built-in rechargeable battery provides three hours of continuous operation which, when combined with either mains or 10-30 Vdc power, provides the unit with a reliable power supply for tests that would be difficult or expensive to repeat.

Typical applications for the unit cover a wide range of industries including:

Inverter I/O voltage performance: Combining the unit with high-speed isolation and CAN bus modules provides a tool for measuring drive-train efficiency and performance in electric vehicles. It will measure the fluctuation of the input/output voltage of the drive train inverter, trend speed, accelerating and breaking rates translated by CAN communications simultaneously and continuously for up to 2.5 hours at a sample rate of 200kS/sec.

Industrial power-line performance monitoring: The unit can be taken into the field fitted with a high-voltage isolation module and a ‘wave window trigger’ function can be used to monitor and capture the power wave degradation caused by voltage sags, surges and interruptions.

Preventative maintenance checks for industrial robots: To ensure the smooth running of automated production lines, the unit can be combined with a four-channel high-speed isolation module and acceleration/voltage module to check the health of production-line robots. Using its FFT analysis function engineers can monitor and check vibration under acceleration data to give an indication of any potential failure, allowing them to plan remedial action to prevent it and any production-line stoppage.

This latest addition to the ScopeCorder family can capture, display, record and analyse electrical and physical parameters in a variety of industrial applications – from automotive to automation. It allows engineers to see what happens to systems in the field in a production environment rather than trying to simulate or emulate conditions in the laboratory or to build complex test rigs.

Clive Davis is european marketing manager at Yokogawa Europe, Test and Measurement.

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