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PIA TRAINING CENTRE (PTC) Module 7 - MAINTENANCE PRACTICES

Category A/B1 Sub Module 7.4 Avionic General Test Equipment

MODULE 7
Sub Module 7.4

AVIONIC GENERAL TEST EQUIPMENT

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PIA TRAINING CENTRE (PTC) Module 7 - MAINTENANCE PRACTICES
Category A/B1 Sub Module 7.4 Avionic General Test Equipment

Contents

OPERATION, FUNCTION AND USE OF AVIONICS GENERAL


TEST EQUIPMENT ------------------------------------------------------- 1

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Category A/B1 Sub Module 7.4 Avionic General Test Equipment

OPERATION, FUNCTION AND USE OF AVIONICS GENERAL


TEST EQUIPMENT

Cathode ray oscilloscope

Cathode ray oscilloscope (CRO) is test equipment that


facilitates display of waveforms and measurement of its
parameters. It is a very versatile tool widely used in electronic
measurement and testing.

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Category A/B1 Sub Module 7.4 Avionic General Test Equipment

Cathode ray tube (crt)

Cathode ray tubes used in oscilloscopes consist of an electron The voltage on the focusing anode can be varied to place the
focal point of the electrons beam on the screen. The deflection
gun, a deflection system, and a fluorescent screen. All these system moves the electron beam horizontally and vertically. If it
elements are enclosed in an evacuated glass tube. is not deflected at all, a small bright dot will appear at the centre
of the screen. The deflection system uses electrostatic fields to
The electron gun generates electrons and focuses them into a change the path of the beam. As the beam moves on the
narrow beam. The deflection system moves the beam screen, the phosphorescence of the screen helps in tracing a
horizontally and vertically across the screen. The screen is continuous line. As the periodic signal repeats, the screen will
coated with a phosphorous material that glows when struck by be refreshed.
the electrons.

The electron gun consists of a heater, a cathode, a control grid,


and two anodes. The cathode is usually indirectly heated and
emits a cloud of electrons. The control grid is a hollow metal
tube placed over the cathode. It is maintained at a negative
potential relative to the cathode to keep the electrons bunched
together. The brightness, or intensity, can be adjusted by
varying the voltage on the control grid. The first anode, known
as focusing anode, focuses the electrons into a narrow beam. A
fixed positive voltage of several thousand volts is connected to
the second anode, known as accelerating anode, for
accelerating the electrons in the direction of the screen.

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Tracing a signal on a cro


Usually the horizontal (X) deflection plates are applied with a
saw-tooth shaped time base signal. The signal to be displayed
is applied to the vertical (Y) deflection plates. If no signal is
connected to the Y-plates, the time base signal will trace a
horizontal line at the centre of the screen. If necessary this can
be adjusted up or down using the Y shift control. If, by any
chance, the time base signal is missing and any signal is
applied to the Y-plates, it will trace a vertical line at the centre.
When a signal (for example a sine wave) is applied to the Y-
plates with the time base signal applied to the X-plates, the
signal waveform will appear on the screen. More cycles can be
displayed by decreasing the frequency of the saw tooth signal.
X-amplifier and Y-amplifier can be used to adjust the scales on
the X- and Y-axes.

The signal can be DC or AC coupled. If AC coupled, the DC


component of a signal where the AC variation is superimposed
on an average DC value will be removed and the pure AC
signal will be displayed.

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Dual channel oscilloscopes

Often it is necessary to display two or more waveforms on the


CRT screen for comparison purposes. Dual channel (or multi-
channel) oscilloscopes offer this feature.

Dual trace oscilloscopes use one electron gun and one


deflecting arrangement to display two traces on the screen by
sharing time. When one signal is driving the electron beam, the
other will be interrupted. Due to the phosphorescence of the
screen, the two traces will appear to be simultaneous.

The two techniques used in time-sharing are alternate (ALT)


mode, and chop mode.

Alt mode

In the alternate mode, each input signal is traced in alternate


horizontal sweeps. Both signals appear simultaneously on the
screen owing to its phosphorescence. Because the
phosphorescence of the screen has got limited persistence, the
first trace will decay during the second trace if the sweep
duration is too high.

Chop mode

In the chop mode, the horizontal sweep is divided into a number


of time slots and at the end of one time slot the vertical trace
jumps from one signal to the other. This mode is preferred over
the ALT mode for low frequency signals and low sweep rates.

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Category A/B1 Sub Module 7.4 Avionic General Test Equipment

Cro controls The INPUT MODE switch provides a choice of views. At CH1 or
CH2 position, only the selected signal is displayed. There are
The construction and controls of a typical dual trace two ways to see both inputs simultaneously: alternate (ALT)
oscilloscope are described here. mode and chop (CHOP) mode. In alternate mode, alternate
inputs are displayed on successive sweeps of the trace. In chop
Vertical controls mode, the trace jumps back and forth rapidly between the two
signals. Alternate mode is generally better except for slow
A dual trace oscilloscope has two channels, which facilitates signals. The sum of the two signals can be viewed with ADD
tracing two signals on the screen simultaneously. This is often position of the selector. The difference of the two could be
useful in comparing signals. viewed using the same selection together with INVERT
selection for channel 2.
For signal input, each channel has got a BNC port. The scope The POSITION selectors allow shifting of the image up and
inputs are usually high-impedance with one-mega ohm down.
resistance in parallel with 20pf capacitance. The signal could be
either dc-coupled or ac-coupled upon selection on the
associated sliding switch. With dc coupling, both dc and ac
components of a signal could be displayed, whereas ac
coupling, through a capacitor, would block the dc components
and trace the pure ac component with a time constant of about
0.1 second. This is useful if it is necessary to isolate a small ac
signal riding on a large dc voltage. There is a ground input
position (GND), which can be used to see zero volts on the
screen. In GND position, the signal is disconnected from the
scope, and the input is grounded.

Each channel has a calibrated gain switch, for selecting the


vertical scale (Volts/DIVISION). Located concentrically on it is a
variable gain knob (VAR), which could be used to set a given
signal to a certain number of divisions. For voltage
measurements, the variable gain knob must be at the calibrated
position (CAL).

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Category A/B1 Sub Module 7.4 Avionic General Test Equipment

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Category A/B1 Sub Module 7.4 Avionic General Test Equipment

Horizontal controls
SINGLE SWEEP is used for non-repetitive signals. LINE causes
An internal ramp generator giving deflection proportional to time the sweep to trigger on the AC power line. The external trigger
generates the horizontal sweep signal. As with the vertical (EXT) inputs are used in situations where synchronization with
amplifiers, there is a calibrated selector for time scale (time/DIV) some external test signal or a clock signal is necessary.
and a variable (VAR) concentric knob.

The XY position allows a special feature called generating


Lissajous figures, which is useful in phase comparison of two
signals. In this technique, one of the inputs is used for horizontal
deflection, in place of the time base.

The POSITION selector allows shifting of the image left or right,


whereas the MAGNIFIER switch facilitates a scale adjustment,
which is 10 times the scale selected with the scale selector
knob.

Triggering

The trigger circuitry allows the selection of a level and a slope


on the waveform at which the sweep should begin. A LEVEL
selector and SLOPE selector are provided for this purpose.

NORMAL mode produces a sweep only when the applied signal


crossed through the trigger point set by LEVEL, moving in the
direction set by SLOPE. In practice, the level control is adjusted
for a stable display.

AUTO position is better if a number of different signals are to be


displayed. This precludes the necessity for setting the trigger
level for each signal. In AUTO, the display will free run in the
absence of a signal.

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Category A/B1 Sub Module 7.4 Avionic General Test Equipment

The coupling mode selection is useful in viewing composite


signals. HF REJ position puts a low-pass filter in front of the
trigger circuit preventing false triggering due to spikes. If spikes
need to be investigated, LF REJ position can be used.

BEAM FINDER is useful if the trace is lost from view.

TRIGGER VIEW is useful when triggering from external


sources.

Probes

High impedance probes are used to minimize the effects on the


circuit caused by the attachment of the CRO.

The probe schematic illustrates the popular 10X probe. For DC,
it acts as a 10X voltage divider. By adjusting C1 to be 1/9th of
the parallel capacitances C2 and C3, the circuit becomes a 10X
divider for all frequencies. This adjustment is done using the
calibration (CAL) setting, which displays a square wave. When
the probe capacitance is properly adjusted, a pure square wave
without overshoot will be displayed. However, for low strength
signals, a 1X probe should be used. Some probes feature a
convenient choice of 1X or 10X attenuation, switchable at the
probe tip.

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Category A/B1 Sub Module 7.4 Avionic General Test Equipment

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