Over the past year, Siborg Systems Inc. and the Novosibirsk, Russia, based Institute of Automation and Electrometry of the Russian Academy of Sciences worked together in creating a new calibration fixture that could handle all models of Smart Tweezers, but most importantly the LCR-Reader. This new fixture has been verified by one of Canada's leading calibration houses and allows Siborg to create NIST Traceable Calibration Certificates for the LCR-Reader.
Early in the year, Siborg sent the new calibration fixture, along with 4 randomly selected LCR-Readers to Navair Technologies in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Navair verified the fixture and sent back surprising results for the LCR-Readers. With the calibration fixture verified, Siborg is able to provide periodic calibration of all Smart Tweezers models, including the LCR-Reader.
Siborg's previous calibration fixtures used a 2-wire connection which was standard for older models. This connection runs from the gold-plated tweezers' tips to the PCB within the device. Unfortunately, the older calibration fixture was unable to test newer models due to the parasitics making it unable to measure the full range of values that the LCR- and ESR-meters are capable of measuring, with lower values of capacitance and inductance and high values of resistance in particular. This meant that the 2-wire calibration fixture was able to only measure mid-range values on newer models.
The solution was to create a new calibration fixture that is less sensitive to parasitics on the fixture's PCB, allowing for higher values of resistance and lower inductance and capacitance values to be measured.
The new fixture uses 14 known components of different types that fall within the Smart Tweezers and LCR-Reader measurement ranges. The fixture employs a 4-wire connection which provides better accuracy for the newer models. When a device is connected to the calibration fixture, the user presses a button; with each press, the fixture connects to a different component with measurement values displayed on the LCR-meters OLED display. These measurement values are then compared to the known values of the components and the device can be accepted or rejected based on accuracy.
"The new fixture makes it much easier to provide periodic traceable calibration now that it has been certified by Navair Technologies. The newer model uses a 4-wire connection that has been shown to minimize the noise generated by the PCB and connections. This new fixture will be essential for users of the LCR-Reader; we can now offer NIST Traceable Calibration Certificates for the LCR-Reader, which was a hinderance for customers that are required to have their test equipment calibrated periodically.” says the Director of Siborg Systems Inc., Michael Obrecht.
Smart Tweezers were introduced in the early 2000’s as an alternative to using conventional LCR-meters. Testing small components using 2 long wire leads can be difficult when the components are mounted on a crowded PCB. Smart Tweezers design combined a set of gold-plated tweezers and a lightweight LCR-meter that is controllable with just one hand. The device makes taking measurements as easy as squeezing a component between the tips; when a component is between the tips, the device will automatically determine the type of component and best test ranges. All values are then instantly displayed on the OLED display.
There are currently two models available: the Smart Tweezers ST-5S and the LCR-Reader. The ST-5S offers users a higher basic accuracy of 0.2% and more extensive menus and functions for more specific measurements.
The LCR-Reader offers less features, and a slightly lower basic accuracy of 0.5%; it was previously believed that the accuracy was closer to 1%, but Navair’s results placed it closer to 0.5%. This model was not previously favoured by customers that require their test equipment to be calibrated annually or periodically, but with the new calibration fixture, Siborg is able to offer NIST Traceable Calibration Certificates, thanks to Navair’s verification.
The Calibration Certificates are available in the LCR-Reader Store when ordered along with a device. Siborg also offers many other accessories and devices for testing SMT in the store, including Task Kits. The Task Kits are a pre-bundled device with accessories such as extra tips, batteries and chargers; the more accessories that are bundled, the more savings are passed on to customers.
About Siborg Systems Inc.
Established in 1994, Siborg is a source of engineering hardware and software tools for the semiconductor and electronics industry. Located in the city of Waterloo, Ontario, it enjoys being a part of the local world-renowned high-tech community.