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Technology Showcase: Test Equipment

Sep 1, 2008 12:00 PM, By Bennett Liles

The AV toolbox grows to include a variety of useful gadgets.

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Galaxy Audio CM-160 CheckMate SPL meter

Galaxy Audio CM-160 CheckMate SPL meter

Among its range of test-equipment models, Fluke Networks offers the OptiFiber optical time-domain reflectometer (OTDR) for testing fiber-optic line installations. The unit features automated trace and event analysis, trace overlay, and simple link diagramming. It delivers the results on the unit's display, on a computer, or on a printed report. For more detailed communication, the OptiFiber has keyboard, USB, and RS-232 ports. Or it can be used in the tabletop stand. The MultiMediaCard (MMC) capability allows test results to be taken away and exchanged while the OTDR stays on the job. The functional displays include ChannelMap, showing the diagram of the channel complete with patch points. The Event Table shows all cable events in a spreadsheet format, and the pass/fail display compares test results to industry standards. Fiber InspectorPro provides a high-resolution 250X/400X magnified image of the fiber face while the OTDR Port Quality Check notifies the user of any contamination in the instrument port.

The Galaxy Audio CM-160 CheckMate SPL meter is used by musicians and sound contractors to develop a sound-level profile for any venue by recording the readings on an internal hard drive. These readings can later be transferred to a computer using the provided software. The unit has a backlit LCD display, RS-232 interface port, graph indicator, max/min function, level-range display, AC/DC signal output, time display, and auto power off. It is also auto-ranging between 30dB and 130dB. The CM-160 offers a frequency range of 31.5kHz to 8kHz. The internal 9V battery provides up to 50 hours of operation. The digital display updates every half-second, and the analog display refresh rate is 50 microseconds. An alarm will display when the readings are either less than or more than the selected range. The unit also includes a calibration button and fast and slow time-weighting selector buttons.

The Harris Videotek HD-Star is a portable, battery-powered handheld HD-SDI and SD-SDI video and embedded audio generator and monitor. The device generates video test signals and provides color and waveform monitoring, serial data analysis, vectorscope functions, and audio analysis and monitoring. The many functions of the HD-Star are controlled with the 320×240 color LCD touchscreen and a small stylus. The unit operates on a Lithium-ion battery pack or on two AA alkaline batteries.

The Spectran HF4040 spectrum analyzer from Kaltman Creations can be used in testing, installing, and troubleshooting wireless microphones, in-ear monitoring systems, and remote computer networks with the accompanying SMA full-range rod-antenna and precision log periodic directional antenna. With a range of 10MHz to 4GHz and a level range of -90dBm to 0dBm, the unit has a typical accuracy of ±3dB. The unit also includes a USB 2.0 computer interface (with PC monitoring software), a 3.5mm audio output jack with volume control, an internal audio demodulator, and a built-in loudspeaker. Hold and intraday logging maintain vital measurement information, and preconfigured hotkeys allow for shortcuts to functions. The 3"×2.4" 1530-pixel display and the laser-labeled key caps provide ease of use. A full battery charge can power the unit from 4 hours to 7 hours, and there is a tripod mount and external probe and antenna connections. The jog dial allows the user to quickly navigate the functions with the same hand used to hold the instrument.

The WaveTester is a highly accurate, microprocessor-controlled, high-resolution optical power meter from Optical Wavelength Laboratories (OWL). The unit measures more than the 65dB dynamic range. It works at the 850nm, 1300nm, 1310nm, 1550nm fiber-transmission windows. It can also measure loss in the 1410nm band for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) passive optical networks. Reference values for each wavelength are stored, and the WaveTester can put up to 200 measured points into memory. The data can then be downloaded to a computer with the OWL Reporter software to produce formatted certification reports. It features an auto-shutdown, and it can operate for more than 250 hours on a 9V battery. The battery-charging port can be replaced with a precision-coupled visual fault locator using a red laser to check for faults at distances from a few feet up to about 4921ft. The simple, four-key panel is topped by a backlit LCD display that allows users to check single-mode and multimode fiber lines with a 1mm photodetector. The 2.5mm universal adapter will accept SC, FC, and ST fiber connectors.

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