Fluke - How cables and connectors impact measurement uncertainty

Our thanks to Fluke for allowing us to reprint the following article.

More often than perhaps known, the outcome of a calibration procedure can depend on the technician knowing which cables and connectors are appropriate for the calibration setup. Choosing the wrong cables and/or connectors can have a significant impact on the overall uncertainty of the setup or calibration system. If you're new to dc and low frequency ac calibration, it's important to understand the impact connectors and cables have on overall measurement uncertainty, as well as the importance of cable maintenance.


Cables, connectors, and traceability

Because a calibrator must be electrically connected to the unit under test (UUT), there is at least one pair of connectors involved on both. These electrical cables or test leads bring the parameter represented by the calibrator to the UUT. In an ideal situation, the UUT would 'see' the standard value from the calibrator without any deterioration. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.


If a user fails to select the appropriate cables, the uncertainty chain can be violated because the cable-toconnector circuit may introduce serious errors into the signal that arrives at the UUT. In some cases, these errors may even be larger than the expected signal. So, to minimize the effect on 'total uncertainty - you must consider these possible error sources...


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