Readers Select the Best Products of 2002

Recently, we challenged our readers with a difficult task:Choose the best products from an already excellent assortment published in EE-Evaluation Engineering in 2002. But you didn’t let us down—and we thank you for participating in our ninth annual Readers’ Choice Awards.

The selection process began by compiling a group of products representing ATE, Communications Test, Data Acquisition, EMC, ESD, Instrumentation, and Software. In part, the determinations were based on the number of responses that each product received during the year.

While voting wasn’t conducted using sophisticated touch-screen computers, our voting process was very simple, and the results were just as immediate and accurate. A group of EE readers, selected at random, were e-mailed an invitation to vote. The invitation included a URL that linked the invitation to the ballot plus accompanying information on the selected products. In addition, the ballot was available to visitors to our website.

And following are the results. For more information on these products, use the rsleads URL listed at the end of each product write-up.

In the ATE category, Keithley Instruments wins for the Model S600DC/RF Automated Parametric Test System used to test communications and high-speed digital devices at the wafer level. The system provides repeatable RF measurements of two-port/four-terminal power parameters that correlate with results from other RF parametric test systems. Capabilities include 1-kHz frequency resolution, DC precision of 1 pA and 10 µV, and <0.3-dB insertion loss.
The 13-GHz 2394 Spectrum Analyzer from IFR Systems takes the award in Communications Test. Designed for applications such as mobile handset production testing, handset repair verification, and base-station transmitter testing, the 2394 includes a large color LCD, a fast processor, and a memory that stores up to 1,000 screen traces and 2,000 operational states. The 50-W input accepts signals between +30 dBm and -110 dBm while providing protection up to 50 VDC.
IOtech captured the honors in Data Acquisition with the WaveBook/512A™, a portable DSP-based data acquisition system that achieves a 1-MHz sample rate at 12-b resolution. Eight built-in channels can be expanded to 72 channels with a variety of programmable signal-conditioning options. It handles applications requiring high-speed sampling and advanced triggering including multichannel, pulse, and digital-pattern triggering and supports external clocking to synchronize transducer inputs from rotating parts.
From the entries vying for top honors in EMC, the clear choice is the Laplace Instruments Model ESA-2000 series of EMC analyzers. The analyzers process simultaneous measurements of the neutral and line currents to separate the differential-mode and the common-mode conducted emissions components over a range of 10 kHz to 1.1 GHz. Peak, quasipeak, and average detectors; an optional preselector; 9-kHz and 120-kHz IF bandwidths; 0-dBµV sensitivity; and a true 70-dB dynamic range are included.
The 2002 standout product for ESD is the battery-powered Model ESD 3000 Simulator from HV Technologies. The hand-held simulator generates 32-kV pulses. High operational flexibility results from having no base unit, external power supply, or power supply tether cable to hinder positioning of the hand-held unit. A full range of R-C discharge values is available.
The winner for the best Instrumentation product is the Tektronix TDS6604, a silicon germanium, four-channel, real-time digital storage oscilloscope. It has a 6-GHz bandwidth, a simultaneous 20-GHz sample rate on two channels, and triggering features that support clock recovery at data rates up to 2.5 Gb/s and serial pattern trigger up to 1.25 Gbaud. The DSO incorporates the Open Windows® platform providing access to industry-standard peripherals, networking elements, and analysis tools.
ATEasy 4.0, the latest version of the Geotest-Marvin Test Systems open-system architecture test development software and test executive, is the victor in the Software category. Features include an easy-to-follow framework to help create reusable components modeled after real-world test systems. The modular structure facilitates the debugging and validation process by isolating the test programs in individual modules. A just-in-time compiler gathers only the necessary code to be executed independently without running an entire application. ATEasy 4.0 supports Component Object Model, DLL, and DDE.

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Published by EE-Evaluation Engineering
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January 2003

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