Tek builds on Voltech acquisition with power analyser launch

April 10, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Tektronix' PA4000 Precision Multi-Phase Power Analyser offers power electronics engineers high levels of measurement accuracy on real-world signals.

Earlier this year Tektronix acquired the power-analyser product line and intellectual property, in that speciality, of Voltech. Now, bringing to market a project that was under way at Voltech, Tek has introduced the PA4000 Power Analyser. A key piece of technology is the current shunt employed in the analyser, which is termed the Spiral Shunt: this design confers stability in measurements as it remains constant over load and temperature, including self-heating effects, in terms of the resistance it presents. This, Tek says, gives power electronics engineers stable, precise current measurements even on highly distorted power waveforms common in many applications.

Tek presents the PA4000 as being complementary, in making power measurements, to its existing oscilloscope and probe range. A high proportion of scope users are also power analyser users, the company found, prompting its move to add the product line. Scopes will look at individual functions within a power system; the analyser will monitor end-to-end. You can use the unit to measure for conformance to regulatory standards today and in the future; it has application-specific test modes and a full set of standard features including communication interfaces and PC-based software. Key industries include motor drives, electric propulsion, backup power, alternative energy, and high-efficiency lighting. Many of these engineers work on designs that are subject to government regulations and customer requirements that dictate efficiency and the amount of harmonic distortion or other “line pollution” that may be imposed on the power grid. The PA4000 features precisely-matched inputs, wide input ranges and advanced signal processing to deliver consistently high measurement accuracy in all types of measurement environments.

A particularly difficult challenge due to the rise of new higher-performance technologies is obtaining consistently high measurement accuracy. The PA4000 uses two Spiral Shunts on each channel – one for current measurements up to 1A, for precise low-current measurements, and one for current measurements up to 30A, for higher-current measurements. This state-of-the-art shunt design is