Power probe penetrates detail of wireless device current drains

March 02, 2017 // By Graham Prophet
Rohde & Schwarz has introduced a tool to gain deeper insight into the limitations placed on battery life of wireless devices. The R&S RT-ZVC multichannel power probe, in combination with an R&S CMW radio communication tester, monitors the power consumption of chipsets, radio modules and mobile devices.

The combination, R&S says, is the only solution available that can correlate battery consumption data with RF signalling events. And it accomplishes this with a measurement resolution of 18 bits, making measurements in the nanoAmpere range possible.

 

The complete solution for testing battery life in all operating modes comprises an R&S CMW radio communication tester, the R&S RT-ZVC power probe and the R&S CMWrun sequencer software.

 

The radio communication tester manages the communications with the DUT and also places the DUT in the various operating modes. The power probe acquires current and voltage readings at defined test points on the DUT. The sequencer software controls the entire process and delivers detailed measurement reports to the user. The user can precisely correlate the events occurring at the mobile interface with the DUT's power consumption. Thanks to the R&S RT-ZVC probe's high dynamic range, this is possible over the entire measurement range – from low currents in standby or sleep mode to large currents when the DUT transmits at maximum power.

 

The multichannel design of the probe makes it possible to simultaneously acquire and correlate the power at up to four different test points. Users can therefore compare the power consumption of individual subcomponents, such as an application processor, the RF transmit unit and other components, against the total power consumption within a realistic signalling scenario controlled by the R&S CMW500. All mobile communications standards in current use are supported.

 

The power probe was designed specifically for the R&S CMW family of radio communication testers. When used in combination with the R&S CMWrun automation software, long-term monitoring of automated signalling test scenarios is possible, as needed for performance tests, regression tests and acceptance tests. Even the test scenarios for the new 3GPP features for reducing power consumption in machine-to-machine applications, such as power save mode (PSM) and enhanced discontinuous reception (DRX), can be measured and correlated. The solution