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# FDR - Frequency Domain Reflectometer

What is FDR ?
The LOCATE mode in the LST-1700 / CLI-1750 provides a means of characterizing the impedance mismatches of an
inactive cable and associated components to determine potential faults that could disrupt signal transmission. The
method of measurement is based on the theory of Frequency Domain Reflectometry, or FDR.
FDR is the measure of signal reflections through a medium across frequency. In the case of the LST-1700 / CLI-1750,
a sweep signal is transmitted over coaxial cable (the medium). A portion of the transmitted sweep signal on the cable
will be reflected back to the transmitter (LST-1700) if the load is not a perfect 75 impedance match. The reflected
energy will be the same frequency as the incident (sweep) signal but different in phase. The resulting signal (incident
+ reflected) will appear as standing waves on a frequency sweep (figure 1). The reflection is such that the peaks of
the individual cycles can be translated to distance to the fault (impedance mismatch) through the following equation:
D= (1/f)*c*Vop / 2 = (1/f)(491*Vop) or 491*Vop/f
Where D=distance to fault, c=speed of light, Vop=velocity of propagation of the cable, and f = frequency of 1 cycle of
the standing wave.
Additionally, the peak-to-peak value of the reflection determines the magnitude of the fault and is calculated by the
equation:
Magnitude Return Loss (dB) = 20*log[(Reflected Peak to Peak)]
Figure 1. Example of standing waves
caused by impedance mismatch.
Frequency Domain Reflectometer
Measurement Sequence
The following measurement sequence is a summary of the 8 critical events that occur within
the instruments to produce the amplitude versus distance FDR display.
1. Figure 2 is a block diagram of the LST-1700 output configuration. When the relay is in the A
position a reference sweep measurement is performed using an ideal 75 load.
2. Again referring to figure 2, the relay is switched to the B position, and a sweep measurement is
performed on the cable under test.
3. The ratio (difference in dB) between the reference sweep and measurement sweep is calculated,
thus leaving only the reflected response.
4. A Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) calculation is performed, extracting the culmination of standing
waves of the reflected response (may include multiple impedance mismatches).
5. User programmable cable attenuation is applied to correct for cable loss according to cable type.
6. The data from the LST-1700 is transferred to the CLI-1750 via RS232.
7. The CLI-1750 applies a distance to fault equation.
8. The CLI-1750 displays the measurement in the distance versus amplitude format (figure 3).
Figure 2. LST-1700 ouput configuration Figure 3. Fault location measurement
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FDR Measurement Considerations
Before performing any FDR measurement, two user defined cable parameters are required to properly program
the CLI-1750 and obtain accurate results in the Locate mode. These parameters are Velocity of Propagation
(VOP) and the Cable Attenuation Factor @ 50 MHz for the cable under test. Both of these specifications can be
found in the coaxial cable specifications available from the cable manufacturer.
Velocity of Propagation
The VOP is a measure of the phase effects in a traveling wave, and is primarily determined by a cables dielectric
material surrounding the center conductor. The VOP will be different depending on the size and make of the
coaxial cable you are testing. Common VOP values are .87 for .500 hardline coax, and .82 for drop (RG-6) or
subscriber (RG-59) cable. The cable manufacturers specification sheet should be referenced for the precise VOP
before making FDR measurements.
The VOP is required in order to accurately calculate the distance to faults in the locate mode. Specifically, this value is
part of the distance equation D=(1/f)(c*Vop). The VOP is entered in the LOCATE mode using the numeric keypad, and
will always be a value less than 1. The CLI-1750 understands that when you enter a value of less than 1, you are
changing the VOP. Please note that if you enter a value greater than 1, then the unit interprets this as the distance
between markers.
If you do not know the the VOP of the cable under test, it can be calculated automatically using the LOCATE mode
and a known length of sample cable of the same type that you will be testing. The following procedure should be used
to calculate VOP with a known length of cable.
Calculating VOP with a Known Length of Cable
First, measure the length of the sample cable from end to end. Then connect one end of the sample cable to the RF
port of your LST-1700 and leave the other end unterminated. A peak will appear on the Locate graph at the
distance where the RF energy is being reflected by the unterminated end of the cable. Place one of the distance
markers over this peak. Move the other marker to a distance of zero (left most side of the graph). The distance
between markers appears in the upper right-hand corner of the display. Now enter the actual length of the sample
cable that you previously measured. Use the numeric keys followed by the ENTER key. Your CLI-1750 will
calculate the correct velocity of propagation based on the length that you enter.
VOP is entered on the
with a known length of
cable
Distance to the fault is
calculated using the
VOP value.
Cable attenuation @ 50 MHz
The second user defined parameter required to achieve accurate FDR fault measurements is the cable
compensation at 50 MHz. Whereas VOP of the cable is concerned with distance to the fault, the cable
compensation value will influence the amplitude of the fault.
As a signal passes through cable, a certain amount of loss is to be expected from 5-750 MHz over the cable
length (figure 4). Cable manufacturers typically characterize cable attenuation in frequency versus distance
as a dB value per 100 feet or 100 meters (figure 5).
Typical RF Specifications*
RG - 59 RG - 6 RG - 11
Attenuation Attenuation Attenuation Attenuation Attenuation Attenuation
in dB per in dB per in dB per in dB per in dB per in dB per
Frequency 100 ft. 100 m 100 ft. 100 m 100 ft. 100m
5 0.79 2.59 0.60 1.97 0.38 1.25
30 1.46 4.79 1.11 3.64 0.70 2.30
50 1.74 5.71 1.32 4.33 0.87 2.85
108 2.46 8.07 1.95 6.40 1.29 4.23
216 3.48 11.41 2.78 9.12 1.85 6.07
240 3.67 12.04 2.93 9.61 1.96 6.43
300 4.11 13.48 3.29 10.79 2.20 7.22
325 4.28 14.04 3.43 11.25 2.29 7.51
400 4.75 15.58 3.81 12.50 2.56 8.40
450 5.04 16.53 4.05 13.28 2.73 8.95
500 5.31 17.42 4.27 14.01 2.88 9.45
550 5.57 18.27 4.49 14.73 3.03 9.94
600 5.83 19.12 4.69 15.38 3.18 10.43
750 6.55 21.48 5.27 17.29 3.47 11.35
862 7.04 23.09 5.66 18.66 3.76 12.32
1000 7.61 24.96 6.11 20.04 4.10 13.48
Figure 4. Example of cable attenuation versus frequency (per 100 feet)
Frequency Attenuation (dB) per 100 ft.
5 -0.79
30 -1.46
50 -1.74
108 -2.46
216 -3.48
240 -3.67
300 -4.11
325 -4.28
400 -4.75
450 -5.04
500 -5.31
550 -5.57
600 -5.83
750 -6.55
862 -7.04
1000 -7.61
Figure 5. Typical drop cable RF specifications of frequency versus attenuation
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-2
-1
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1
0
0
0
Referring to figure 4, it can be seen that if a fault (impedance mismatch) is detected in the cable, the amplitude of
the fault will be affected by the frequency and distance. For example, figure 4 illustrates the cable loss in
frequency per 100 feet. If a fault is detected at 100 feet at a frequency of 450 MHz, then a corresponding loss of
approximately 5 dB can be expected. The CLI-1750 applies the cable attenuation factor to the FDR
measurement so that the fault amplitude is displayed without cable loss*. Therefore, in order to achieve accurate
fault magnitude results in the LOCATE mode, the CLI-1750 applies a cable loss correction factor to the displayed
result. This correction factor is based on the cable attenuation factor @ 50 MHz per 100 feet (meters), and is
a required numeric entry by the unit operator. The cable attenuation factor will change depending on the cable
size and manufacturer. The cable manufacturers specifications should be identified prior to performing an FDR
measurement.**
To enter the correct cable compensation value, select the NAVIGATOR key followed by the CONFIGURE icon. From
the CONFIGURE mode, select TRANSMITTER followed by LOCATE mode. The user may turn the cable
compensation on or off, and the cable compensation may be entered.
*Note1: The cable compensation factor accounts for the loss of the cable only. If passive devices such as splitters
are installed in the path of the cable, the detected fault amplitude will be reduced by the amount of the passive device
loss x 2.
EXAMPLE: An FDR measurement is being performed on a residence that includes a two way splitter. A two way
splitter will typically have 3.5 dB loss on each output leg. If a fault is detected after the splitter, then the amplitude of
the fault will actually be 7 dB lower than the displayed dBrl value (see figure 5).
Example: If the cable loss is known to be 1.6 dB at 55 MHz, then the loss at 50 MHz is calculated as follows:
Cable attenuation at 50 MHz =
50
55
x1.6 = 1.53 dB
**Note2: If the cable attenuation is not known at 50 MHz, but attenuation is known at another frequency, then the
correct attenuation can be calculated using the following cable loss ratio formula
Cable Loss Ratio =
f
f
1
2
2-way splitter
3.5 dB loss
on each
output port
75 Ohm
termination
1
3
4
1
2
2
3
4
FDR measurement begins
3.5 dB loss from splitter on forward sweep
Fault detected at open cable
5
5 Cable compensation is accounted for in the CLI-1750, but
displayed open fault will be 7 dB low due to loss of splitter
open
Figure 5. Splitter loss must be considered when performing FDR measurements
Using the CLI-1750 Locate Mode
The CLI-1750 Locate mode helps you detect impedance mismatches within the home wiring.
The measurement will display both the distance and magnitude of the fault, and help determine
the passive devices, if any, that are installed in the network under test. The purpose of this
document is to serve as a quick start manual for the inexperienced operator, providing step by
step instructions on user interface and how to interpret the measurement display. Practice and
hands-on experience should bring the novice user up to the pro level with minimal supervision.
Getting Started
The Locate measurement is performed with the CLT-1700 and CLI-1750 linked via RS-232. The
LST-1700 performs the FDR (frequency domain reflectometry) measurement, and the CLI-1750
displays the results. The following procedure will get you started performing the locate
measurement.
NOTE: Prior to performing Locate measurements, you should be familiar with two important
parameters of the cable you will be testing. Specifically, you should know the cables Velocity of
Propagation and Cable Attenuation @ 50 MHz (per 100 feet or meters). These two
specifications are critical, as the CLI-1750 relies on this user entered information to calculate the
sections on FDR, VOP and cable attenuation.
STEP 1. Connect the 1700/1750 and RS-232
cable. The cable or cable network under test is
connected to the LST-1700 (figure 1). For
purposes of training and demonstration, at least
one of the cables in your network under test
should be unterminated. The Locate graphs
used in this instruction were taken from the
sample network in figure 1.
STEP 2. From the CLI-1750s NAVIGATOR
mode, select CONFIGURE / TRANSMITTER /
LOCATE MODE. The LOCATE MODE
configuration screen will allow you to enter
resolution (MEDIUM is always a good place to
start) and cable attenuation factor (the default
value is 1.5 dB). These are the only 2
parameters that need to be programmed in this
mode. The harmonic filter should be turned on,
and should remain on for most common
measurements.
25-Feet
RG59
Vop=0.82
35-Feet
RG59
Vop=0.82
25-Feet
RG59
Vop=0.82
50-Feet
RG59
Vop=0.82
RS-232
75 Feet
2-way splitter
Event #2
Splitter
75 feet
Event #3
Unterminated
Cable
100 feet
Event #4
Unterminated
Cable
110 feet
Figure 1. Sample cable configuration
STEP 3. From the Locate Mode configure
screen or Navigator screen, select the LOCATE
icon!. You will now switch immediately to the
Locate Mode and the measurement will begin.
" Dont be alarmed when you hear the clicking
noise, thats simply the LST-1700 relay
switching from a reference signal to the
active test signal.
STEP 4. The first screen that you see will be
similar to figure 2. Now is time to enter the
Velocity of Propagation for the cable under test
(the default value is .82) To enter the VOP,
simply press the CLI-1750 decimal point hard
key followed by the numerical value of the VOP.
The VOP will change in the upper right hand
corner of the Locate mode screen.
" " " " Any value entered on the keypad <1 is
assumed to be the VOP.
" " " " Any value entered on the keypad >1 is
assumed to be the distance between
markers A and B. Dont do this unless youre
calculating the VOP of test cable with a
known cable length (see calculating VOP in
the previous section).
STEP 5. Referring again to figure 2, press
Function (green key) followed by the Scale (#3)
icon\$. This action will auto scale the display.
Note that the initial starting distance is at
maximum (about 2600 feet). At this point you
should observe any event from 0 to 2600 feet
(depending on the distance of the fault, some
events may be compressed at the extreme left
side of the display).
Figure 2.
Figure 3.
Figure 4.
STEP 6. Toggle the A/B marker select key to
enable marker B (figure 3). Using the right arrow
key position marker B to the furthest event on
the display (figure 4). Now press the zoom
icon% and press the plus soft key& until the
event is at the middle of the display. You may
note at this point that the single event is actually
two or more events (figure 5). You may wish to
repeat the marker B position / zoom sequence
to further center the event in the middle of the
display.
STEP 7. Once the event has been center
positioned and the peak of the event can be
seen, the horizontal amplitude marker can be
used to determine the magnitude of the event.
Simply use the up and down arrows to position
the dotted horizontal markers on the peak of the
event, and its amplitude will be displayed in the
upper left hand corner of the display (figure 6).
Similarly, marker B can be positioned on the
event, and the amplitude will be read on the
marker B measurement line (figure 6).
Figure 5.
Figure 6.
Figure 7.
STEP 8. At this point, you may want to select a
higher resolution. This is accomplished by
pressing the second function key (green key)
followed by the up arrow. Note the resolution
icon' in the top left corner of the screen. Each
highlighted bar corresponds to the resolution
setting being used (low, medium, high or ultra).
" The most accurate distance and amplitude
measurements are obtained using the
highest resolution setting. Since the
measurement time is longest using the ultra
setting, you may want to use the medium
setting to find the events, and high or ultra
to make the final distance and amplitude
measurements. High resolution is
recommended when testing cable lengths of
> 1000 feet (305 meters).
REFERENCE - ICONS AND SOFT KEYS
1 STEP 3 LOCATE MODE ICONS
Locate icon in Navigator Mode Locate Mode Icon in Configure Screen
2 STEP 5 - AUTO SCALE
PRESS FUNCTION / SCALE TO AUTO ADJUST
LOCATE DISPLAY
3 STEP 6 - ZOOM ICONS
ZOOM SELECT INCREASE / DECREASE ZOOM RANGE
4 &
5 STEP 8 - RESOLUTION ICONS
RESOLUTION ICON INDICATES LOW,
MEDIUM , HIGH OR ULTRA RESOLUTION
SETTING. RESOLUTION CAN BE
CHANGED BY PRESSING THE
FUNCTION KEY AND UP / DOWN
ARROWS.