Column Control DTX

Tips for Making Low Current Measurements

Application Notes


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In recent years, engineers working on mobile phones and other battery-powered devices have demanded higher-sensitivity current measurement to help them ensure the current consumption of their devices is within acceptable limits. Measuring current is a nuisance because you have to break the circuit to put the measuring instrument in series with the circuit. Using a clamp-on current probe with an oscilloscope is an easy way to make a current measurement that does not necessitate breaking the circuit. But this process gets tricky as the current levels fall into the low milliampere range or below. This article offers useful tips to help you make accurate low-level current measurements in the presence of relatively high levels of oscilloscope noise.

This application Note will cover:

  • Scope Noise Matters
    • Bandwith limit filter
    • High-resolution acquisition mode
    • Averaging mode
  • Improving Current Probe Measurement Accuracy and sensitivity
    • Remove magnetism (demagnetize/degauss) and DC offset
    • Improve the probe sensitivity
  • Conclusion