23 September 2011

Keithley expands Series 2400 SourceMeter family with lower-cost solution optimized for low-voltage testing

Electrical test instrument and system provider Keithley Instruments Inc of Cleveland, OH, USA has launched a low-cost addition to its Series 2400 SourceMeter instrument family. Like all the firm’s source measurement unit (SMU) instruments, the new Model 2401 SourceMeter instrument is optimized for high-precision test applications such as current versus voltage (I-V) characterization of photovoltaic (solar) cells, high-brightness (HB) LEDs, low-voltage materials, and semiconductor devices, as well as resistance measurements. However, it now provides these source and measurement unit capabilities at 20V and 1A signal levels and at what is claimed to be an unprecedented low price.

“The Model 2401 is priced at $2995 (€2280/£2016), making it the test & measurement industry’s lowest-cost standalone source-measurement instrument with a complete set of measurement ranges, features, and programmable operating modes,” claims marketing manager Charles Cimino. It offers an economical alternative to test systems configured with separate programmable power supplies and digital multimeters or applications for which precision programmable power supplies lack sufficient accuracy, signal range, or resolution he adds.

The Model 2401 operates and is programmed in exactly the same way as the other Series 2400 family member units within its 1A/20V range boundaries. Like the rest of the family, the Model 2401 integrates a highly stable DC power source with a true instrument-grade 5-1/2 or 6-1/2-digit multimeter in a single enclosure.

In operation, the Model 2401 can act as a voltage source, a current source, a voltmeter, an ammeter, and an ohmmeter, and provides four-quadrant bipolar and automatic source/sink operation. Referring to Keithley SMU convention, operating in I vs V quadrants 1 or 3, it operates as a source, delivering power to a load. In quadrants 2 or 4, it operates as a sink, dissipating power internally from an external source such as a PV cell or other energy source.

The Model 2401’s combination of low cost, tightly integrated sourcing and measurement, and wide dynamic range suits a variety of both benchtop and system applications with low-voltage requirements and with limited test hardware budgets, says Keithley:

  • HB-LED forward/reverse I-V and LIV (light-current-voltage) testing; 
  • Solar cell efficiency test (source and sink current); and
  • Precision DC load characterization, replacing readback supplies or supply/DMM combinations, which typically provide insufficient accuracy (IDDQ testing); 

Other applications include: active/passive component test and voltage/current/resistance measurements; battery operation validation for portable electronic devices; characterizing implantable medical devices (pacemakers etc); characterizing low-leakage electronic device/circuits (forward/reverse, transistor gain/leakage); and calibrating 3-1/2- to 4-1/2-digit data acquisition boards, meters, and DMMs.

The Model 2401 is offered at an introductory price of €2280 in Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands and £2016 in UK through 31 December. Units will ship within eight weeks ARO through September, then within four weeks ARO thereafter.

Tags: Keithley Semiconductor test instrument

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