New Isolated Scope for the Lab

We are great believers in investing in our lab equipment to make us efficient but always have to keep an eye on costs. Being a modest size outfit ourselves, we are also keen on supporting the small guys out there. When one of our scopes recently failed and it was uneconomic to repair, we therefore had a good look round for what was available from both the big T&M outfits and the smaller independent ones. Not only did we want 4 analogue channels with decent memory depth but also preferably higher resolution than a standard scope and digital logic inputs. At the same time we had been finding that making power switching measurements at high DC voltages was becoming increasingly difficult especially with more modern (faster) transistor technologies. Thus we also wanted something with very low coupling capacitance to earth and preferably isolated inputs, We were amazed to find a unit which met all our requirements by buying the PC based CS448 from NZ based based Cleverscope. Our technical partner was particularly impressed with the care and thought that has gone into the all important front-end of the product and their money back guarantee was the final clincher. The first job the unit was used for was to look at detailed gate drive waveforms on a high power SiC based inverter system. The results were very impressive indeed with very clean waveforms showing the expected “miller effect” waveforms that were previously covered in noise. They even had some custom x200 probes made so we could do power switching waveform measurements at higher DC bus voltages!! No we don’t have any vested interest in those clever chaps in NZ but when you see something you like you should let others know…

MISRA C 2012 Training

As part of our ongoing software quality improvement initiative, our Technical Partner (Charlie Elliott) and one of our Principal Engineers (Mark Berry) are going on a two day training course on MISRA C 2012 next week. This is being run by one of the top software QA tools vendors (LDRA) at their offices in Liverpool and will be presented by members of the MISRA working group. For those of you who are not aware, MISRA C is set of “good practice guidelines” for C and C++ developed by a consortia of (mainly) Automotive engineers . MISRA stands for the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association and was set up to promote good practices within that industry for C/C++ code portability, safety, security and reliability especially within embedded systems. These same guidelines have now been adopted across many industries and as such MISRA C is generally accepted as THE set of guidelines to use on many applications that SPS is involved in.