Vitrek unveils graphical harmonic power analyzer

June 24, 2015

Vitrek Corp. announced today the introduction of the PA900 precision power analyzer, which integrates a high-accuracy, wideband waveform digitizer with advanced computational capability, a large high-resolution display, and a touchscreen user interface. The company’s new power analyzer delivers the performance needed to provide users with confidence in the integrity of their power-measurement results. The unit’s intuitive touchscreen operation, with built-in data history, scope mode, and waveform zoom, allows users to explore many aspects of power measurement in greater detail than with traditional power analyzers. The PA900 delivers waveform visualization and measurement results necessary to validate the performance of power-critical designs, such as LED lighting, solar power inverters, electric vehicles, and aviation power distribution.

Paul Withers, a pioneer in the use of DSP technology for power measurement and chief engineer at Vitrek, noted, “To gain an in-depth knowledge of the power-consumption characteristics of their designs, engineers need to capture power signals with higher resolution, greater bandwidth, and better accuracy than traditional power analyzers can provide. The PA900’s intuitive user interface, graphical waveform display, and wideband digitizer allow it to address a wide range of power measurement applications at a price point never before available.”

To meet a large variety of power measurement requirements, the PA900 can be fitted with three different types of channel cards. The A type is a precision 24-bit digitizer capable of capturing waveforms up to 1 MHz, the S type is an economical 22-bit 1-MHz version, and the W type is a wideband channel card offering 5-MHz bandwidth with 22 bits of resolution. The PA900 is available with the ability to graphically display and measure up to 500 harmonics, even at aviation power frequencies when using the W channel card. The PA900 mainframe holds up to four channel cards, each available in one of three current-input configurations: an autoranging dual 1-A/20-A rms shunt input with resolution down to 0.1 µA, a 30-A rms high-current input option, or an external current-transducer input option. To provide the ultimate in measurement confidence, the A channel card has a two-year base accuracy spec of 0.03% of input for both voltage and current, while the other channel cards offer a respectable 0.1% two-year base accuracy.  Channel cards provide up to 1000-V rms maximum continuous rated working voltage with measurement resolution down to 100 µV.

The heart of the PA900 is a 7” high-resolution color LCD with an intuitive touch interface that allows the user to easily view waveforms and standard or custom measurement data screens. The standard power data screen simultaneously displays V, A, W, VA, VAR, PF and more for desired channels. The custom power data screens allow the user to choose the color, font size, location, and data to be displayed. The scope screen shows up to six waveforms—each with selectable color, scale, value, timebase, and trigger position. The history screen automatically maintains a continuous record of all measurement results and selected harmonics for up to 397 days. The harmonics screen displays a bar graph with up to 500 harmonics with either linear or logarithmic amplitudes, and up to eight harmonics can be touch selected for a digital readout of amplitude and phase. With user enabled harmonic limits, the out-of-tolerance harmonics will be displayed in red above the limit line. The cycle-view screen shows a periodic cycle of the voltage and current waveforms. Fingertip cursor control allows users to interact with the waveforms being analyzed for greater insight into DUT power consumption characteristics. Additional screens include vector screen, a polar chart with up to 10 fundamental vectors, standby power screen for testing to EN50564, and a spectrum analysis screen.

The PA900 can accept one or more “virtual power analyzer” (VPA) configurations, allowing the unit to precisely measure power efficiency of multi-frequency devices. Prior to Vitrek’s introduction of VPA technology, users were required to link separate costly power analyzers in order to obtain efficiency data in frequency-conversion applications such as DC/AC inverters and AC/AC sources. VPA technology also simplifies multiphase power measurement by allowing the user to select from VPA configurations for 3-phase 3-wire or 3-phase 4-wire measurement.

The PA900 features a front-panel USB flash drive port for data-logging test results, for capturing waveform screen shots, and for downloading customized power measurement screens. 2 GB of internal memory allow for high-speed data logging without the need for an external drive. Standard Ethernet, high-speed serial, and USB 2.0 interfaces make connectivity fast and pain-free. GPIB is optionally available.

The U.S. list price for the PA900 is $2,190 with a single standard performance S channel card and $6,075 loaded with four of the high-accuracy A channel cards.


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