Tektronix - Power Supply Measurement and Analysis with the MSO/DPO Series Oscilloscopes

Reprinted courtesy Tektronix


Power supplies can be found in many different electronic devices, from children s toys to computers and office equipment to industrial equipment. They are used to convert electrical power from one form to another for proper device operation. Common examples are AC-to- DC converters which change AC voltages into regulated DC voltages or DC-to-DC converters which convert battery power into required voltage levels.

Power supplies range from traditional linear supplies to high efficiency switch-mode power supplies (SMPS) designed for complex, dynamic operating environments. The load on a device can change dramatically from one instant to the next, and even a commodity switch-mode power supply must be able to withstand sudden peak loads that far exceed average operating levels. Engineers designing power supplies or the systems that use them need to understand their power supply's behavior under conditions ranging from quiescent to worst-case.

Historically, characterizing the behavior of a power supply meant taking static current and voltage measurements with a digital multimeter and performing painstaking calculations on a calculator or computer. Today, most engineers turn to the oscilloscope as their preferred power measurement tool...

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