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Equipment recommendation for PCB TDR analysis / S-parameter extraction


Apr 7, 2024
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I am doing some equipment research for my company for buying the instrument which would be capable of TDR analysis of relatively short PCB transmission lines and S-parameter extracion for creating the model of such lines. It would be good if there was also an option of doing eye diagram analysis.

Basic specs that I was looking for was around ~20ps incident pulser risetime and 20-30GHz sampling head bandwidth. The caveat is it should be as cheap as possible, probably meaning that we are looking for equipment made in late 90s or early 00s at best. My budget would be around 20k USD maybe (and yes I know that this is a stretch for such high performance test equipment but my boss doesnt understand that clearly).

So to get to the point, I found out about Tektronix DSA8200 mainframe and did some research which modules would be useful for us, for eg. 80E08 / 80E04 TDR modules seem ideal for my use case, and 80A05-10G clock recovery module would also be nice. My main question is what the gurus here think about this instrument and are there any better recommendations that are maybe cheaper or more useful? And what are some auxiliary pieces of equipment needed to run such a setup successfully?

If you think its impossible to setup such system for ~20k USD, my main alternative is Tektronix 11801 series with couple of SD-24 sampling heads loaded. But this is a much older instrument that I think would be of limited usability and reliability problems based on age. Of course I appreciate any advice.

Thanks in advance guys
Time Domain Reflectometry...
I believe cable TV installers in field work use the same sort of instrument to discover where a break lies in a wire. Otherwise without sophisticated tools the exact location is hard to pinpoint.

No doubt these technicians use the same reputable brands you've probably heard of:
Anyway they're names that turn up in an internet search. I see only a few instruments priced near the 4-5 thousand dollar level. Many cost hundreds of dollars.

Just maybe the boss knows exactly the right thing he wants. Or else he really hopes someone working for him (yourself) can become expert at diagnosing circuit boards.

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