Multi-Tone System FAQ

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Rather than testing a single frequency during every dwell period, multiple signals, also referred to as multi-tones, are generated to simultaneously test multiple frequencies.

While simple in concept, the actual software and hardware implementation has always been a hurdle. Simultaneously controlling multiple signal sources and properly combining their output signals in a repeatable fashion has been beyond the scope of traditional, analog test instrumentation.

Allowances for multiple signal testing were added to the 4th edition of IEC 61000-4-3. Annex I of this standard contains useful information regarding multiple signal testing, also known as multi-tone testing, such as: concerns relating to intermodulation, power requirements, level setting requirements, linearity and harmonics check, and EUT performance criteria with multiple signals. For those sectors still in the adoption phase of this test approach, multiple signal testing is still acceptable. In the event of a failure you will need to revert to the traditional single tone testing.

The short answer is yes; however, you have the option to reduce to a single signal, or tone, if the EUT fails. Remember that the unit is being exposed to multiple tones and each tone has a field strength equal to the required test level. Each of these tones will have slightly different phases, so there will be additive and subtractive components to the total energy presented at the EUT. The peak of this total power is only reached when all the signals are in phase for a relatively short occurrence.

The main reason to purchase AR’s MT06002 System is to save test time and associated cost. That equates to savings in man-hours as well as a more cost-effective use of your equipment resulting in increased throughput and efficiency of your testing facility.

The Multi-Tone System saves time by producing multiple signals during a dwell time. Since the minimum dwell time is defined by the harmonized standards and the cycle time of the EUT, and a large part of the total test time is spent during the dwell, multiple tones executed during each dwell will significantly reduce test time. For example; by generating 6 tones during the dwell there is a test time savings of 82% for a typical IEC 61000-4-3 radiated immunity test to 6 GHz when compared to testing a single tone.

Yes, AR’s Multi-Tone System can be used for IEC 61000-4-3, 16-point calibration using a single tone. The use of a Vector Signal Transceiver (VST) improves the data throughput through its ability to more efficiently generate, receive and process information, as compared to traditional computer-controlled systems. It should be noted that when performing the 16-point uniform field area (UFA) calibration, using simultaneously generated multiple signals is not an acceptable or approved method due to the inability of field probes to distinguish or produce measured RF field strengths of simultaneously generator RF fields. If you choose to perform the 16-point field calibration, the Multi Tone Systems have this capability.

The most significant limitations of a multiple signal test system is the amplifier power, since the amplifier power is required is greater than that of the traditional single tone testing.

That depends on the number of signals, or tones, being generated at a time. For each tone, the average power is approximately additive, whereas the instantaneous power may be as high as the square of the number of tones generated. The average power is used to calculate the required amplifier power.

The AR Multi Tone systems consists of the following:

  • A field probe with a field monitor and fiber optic cable
  • A system controller that switches up to 4 amplifiers and 4 antennas for automated testing
  • Multiple signal generators (one for each tone) to generate multiple signals or tones, and a Spectrum Analyzer to measure the tones during testing
  • Necessary cables and antennas to complete the testing

The AR MT06002 Multi-Tone system consists of the following:

  • A field probe with a field monitor and fiber optic cable.
  • A system controller that switches up to 4 amplifiers and 4 antennas for automated testing.
  • A vector signal transceiver (VST) to generate multiple signals or tones, and to simultaneously measure the tones.
  • Up to 1 GHz instantaneous bandwidth

AR’s emcware will be shipped with each individual system, which is capable of generating and managing the multiple tone testing, along with all of your other testing requirements.

Yes, once you create a test set-up you can save the file with all the test settings for future use, saving valuable time. Additionally, calibration information for all equipment is saved, including appropriate correction factors.

To learn more about AR’s Multi-Tone Test Systems contact your local AR sales representative, or email us at [email protected].