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Compatibility of USB Power Sensors with Keysight Instruments

Application Notes

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Use USB Power Sensors as a Keysight Instruments Accessory

 In many of today’s power measurement applications, there is a need to make power measurements and use other instruments such as a spectrum analyzer, vector network analyzer, or signal generator. Traditional power-measurement methodologies require a power meter and a power sensor. This situation increases the costs of a test system significantly. Alternatively, Keysight Technologies, Inc. USB power sensors can be used as an accessory with other Keysight instruments, allowing the power measurement to be done via Keysight instruments, and perform other specific power measurement applications without the need for a PC/laptop. 

This application note explains how the Keysight USB power sensor performs source power calibration with the N5222B PNA microwave network analyzer and scalar analysis of a frequency converter with the E5071C/80A ENA vector network analyzer. The USB power sensors are able to augment the FieldFox handheld analyzer, N934xB/C HSA handheld spectrum analyzer, and X-Series signal generator with a power meter function. Keysight USB sensors are also able to provide user flatness correction (UFC) with external leveling and automatically level RF power amplifier output as well as USB pass-through commands using the X-Series signal generator.

Table of Contents  

  • Keysight USB Power Sensors 
  • USB Power Sensor’s Compatibility with Keysight Instruments  
  • How Does It Work? 
  •  PNA family Microwave network analyzer 
  •  E5071C / E5080A ENA network analyzers 
  • N9340B handheld spectrum analyzer (HSA)  
  • X-Series signal generator 
  • FieldFox handheld analyzer 
  • UXA signal analyzer 

Keysight USB Power Sensors  

Making an accurate power measurement requires both a power meter and a power sensor. The power sensor converts the RF signal and microwave signal into analog signals. Subsequently, the power meter performs the statistical processing and displays the result in decimal/trace format. Today, the combination of a power meter and power sensor makes the USB power sensor a standalone instrument that provides an affordable solution for power measurement. Results of the power measurement can be retrieved and shown on the BenchVue software, BV0007B Power Meters/Sensors Control and Analysis App on the PC via a USB cable or SCPI commands.

The SCPI-based command set provides a user-friendly programming environment and allows the use of the same method of communication for both the power sensor and the power meter. 

Keysight offers four families of USB power sensors compatible with other Keysight instruments such as the network analyzer, spectrum analyzer, signal generator, cable and antenna tester, and FieldFox handheld analyzer: 

  •  U2000A Series USB average power sensors 
  •  U2020 X-Series USB peak and average power sensors  
  • U8480 Series USB thermocouple power sensors 
  • U2040 X-Series wide dynamic range peak and average power sensors  

When USB power sensors are connected to these instruments without the need of PC/laptop, they can be powered up to perform the specific application. 

USB Power Sensor’s Compatibility with Keysight Instruments 

 Keysight instruments such as vector network analyzers, spectrum analyzers, signal generators, cable and antenna testers, and FieldFox RF analyzers are now compatible with the Keysight USB power sensors. Each compatible instrument has built-in firmware to support the USB power sensor unless it specifically requires the BV0007B, BenchVue Power Meter App software.  

Vector network analyzer  

  • Performs the source power calibration for providing accurate output power levels 
  • Plot the power sensor’s power measurement on the VNA’s display (Power Meter As Receiver function, available on PNA-X, PNA, PNA-L and E5071C, PXI-VNA and E5080A) 

 X-Series signal generator (EXG and MXG)  

  •  Performs user flatness correction (UFC) with external leveling. Also turns the instrument into a power meter. Displays power measurement with its built-in user interface (UI), which integrates the display of USB power sensor measurements  
  • Supports and displays two USB power sensor measurements on a signal generator display. Automatically levels RF power amplifier output with power servo feature. Uses USB pass-through commands to remotely control and program the power sensor. 

Handheld/RF spectrum analyzer and cable and antenna tester  

Turns the instrument into a power meter. Displays power measurement with its built-in UI, which integrates the display of USB power sensor measurements.  

FieldFox handheld analyzer  

Turns the instrument into a power meter. Displays power measurement with its built-in UI. Supports average and peak power measurements under Free Run mode, as well as pulse measurement under Continuous mode.  

Spectrum analyzer (X-series signal analyzers)  

To display the power measurement on spectrum analyzer with the N1918A Power Analysis Manager or BenchVue Power Meter App software. 

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