Workbench Wednesdays


Using a Metcal GT120, we look at three ways to improve your soldering skills. Using flux, setting a correct temperature, and selecting the proper tip all result in better solder joints. See how well the GT120 works while learning (or reviewing) some basics to improve your soldering skills. This episode was sponsored by Metcal.

When you cannot get an oscilloscope probe into a tight spot, can you just use a piece of wire? Sometimes. When signal integrity matters, you CAN use a low-cost DIY solder-in probe. These probes attenuate the signal and use an oscilloscope’s high-bandwidth 50-ohm input. James shows how to build some solder-in probes when they work and when they do not work in this video. Special thanks to Shabaz on the element14 community for the guide…

Vector network analyzers (VNAs) measure how a “network” of components changes the amplitude and phase of signals. By measuring across a wide frequency range, VNAs can create S-Parameters that fully describe the behavior of a circuit. This video uses a PicoVNA 106 to show the basics of what a VNA measures, how they work, and a brief overview of how to use one. I made a mistake on the explainer graphic for S-parameters. The annoying…

Analog Discovery Pro from Digilent comes in a 2-channel (ADP3250) or 4-channel (ADP3450) version. These all-in-one instruments work with a PC over USB or can run entirely standalone. On the PC the excellent Waveforms software provides virtual instruments like an Oscilloscope, Logic Analyzer, Power Supply, Spectrum Analyzer, Curve Tracer, Network Analyzer, and Impedance Analyzer. Just to name a few. See what this new instrument offers in this hands-on review. This episode was sponsored by Digilent.