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Author Topic: PICO Technology TA189 AC/DC oscilloscope current probe Review 5mA~30A Low Noise  (Read 5610 times)

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Online Kiriakos GR

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I wish to thanks PICO Technology UK, for the sponsored sample of TA189 AC/DC oscilloscope current probe !!

https://www.picoauto.com/products//current-clamps/30-a-large-jaw-current-clamp


TA189 probe:
DC to 100kHz
5mA~30A
Typical output noise level ....200uV R.M.S.
Resolution ............................. ±1mA
Response time ............. better than 1uS

Intro:
Since the moment that I did engage with pulsing PSU power consumption measurements, by the use of my Oscilloscope, I came across of a major challenge and this is no other than probe noise VS oscilloscope dynamic range.

My older current probe this is Chauvin Arnoux PAC12, good performance at measuring medium to higher current quantities, first range 200mA ~ 60A & 600A.
Measuring of current this is easy with clamp probes when they are connected over a multimeter.

But the delivery of a clean waveform at the oscilloscope screen, this is a challenge that my PAC12 this failed to succeed at low currents.
I did try to multiply the incoming current by the use of coils,  10X it did help but not much, then I did try 20X and even a 50X and the improvement it was significant, but not good enough.

Phase shift calculation this requiring two clean waveform of voltage and current.
And both probes, voltage differential along  AC/DC current probe, they should be as perfect as possible.
Especially if the application this is measurement and calculation of Standby power at the magnitude of 100mA and or lower.

PICO Technology UK,
This is a company working at the production of USB portable oscilloscopes, they have models up to 12bit resolution.
PICO Technology, has it focus at car diagnostic systems.
Therefore they do develop oscilloscopes, but at the same time and relative software for automotive troubleshooting.

Newest developed cars, they include several electronic circuits, at power-off,  the car deactivates active circuits in steps, and several seconds later the consumption will fall down to a few mA.
In case of any electronic circuit damage, current consumption stay high, and such current leakage this will eventually discharge the car battery.   

TA189 100kHz AC/DC clamp probe, this is distributed by PICO Technology, as the best solution of tool this to measure current leakage, by the use of multimeter along of BNC to banana adapter, and or directly when this is connected at BNC input of one oscilloscope.
Additionally PICO Technology as oscilloscope developer, it is well aware of what is probe noise, and so their offering of model TA189 it includes best worlds of Low Noise and highly sensitive for low current measurements.   
 
December 27 2022, This is arrival date of the probe.
And here are my first pack of demonstration photographs.   :)
Testing results and other details will follow soon. 
 
 

 
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Offline liviu2004

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Great piece of equipment you got there, looking forward for the test results.

Offline Andrew-88

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New weapon !!   8)

Happy New Year ..

Online Kiriakos GR

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Great piece of equipment you got there, looking forward for the test results.

They are three tests to be performed.
a) Two AC test options.
b) One DC test.

At AC tests I am after of a clean waveform, and so while this new probe has lower noise, I will test of how much help this needs from a coil multiplication.
I have several coils now, 10x, 20x and 50x.

At DC tests I will use my portable calibrator, I need to confirm if this probe can be also used at 4~20mA (process control).
And or to discover it lowest limit.   :) 

The electronics of this probe, they have European origin,  Switzerland / Germany / UK.
And this is the second thing that pleases me, other than the lower noise.  ;)

To be continued ... 

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Online Kiriakos GR

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First official day of testing.   

Intro:
First thought of me about TA189 testing, this was of me to verify AC noise specification.
I am now convinced, that such AC/DC probe noise evaluation procedure, this has never be shared over the internet before.

Originally I thought to use my oscilloscope, but by this having 670uV as noise-floor at 1mv per division, along no-way to ZERO out this noise, in order of me to measure the lower value of  200uV, I did select instead my FLUKE 8846A.

Due my FLUKE 8846A I did realize that even the cable of the probe, this is able and collects environmental noise.

Environmental noise
TA189 according to manufacturer specification, this were specifically build so to defeat environmental noise, but the cable alone this has a different pack of specifications.
The long story in short, I did deactivate
a) My mobile phone
b) WiFi router
c) all equipment at my workbench

And so here it is, the probe alone,  probe cable much lesser exposed, and the FLUKE 8846A in charge about the measurements.

FLUKE 8846A this were set with Filter setting at 200Hz, this is the faster measuring mode.
The second step, this was ZERO (Math) to be activated.
The third step was of me to observe the measurements for 20 minutes of time.

Test results       
Indeed TA189 this succeed to deliver the low-noise output of 200uV
Average = 216 uv
Max      =  240 uV

I am tremendously satisfied with my first test results.
Because I have now first pack of proofs, this probe has even lower noise floor than my 8 Bit oscilloscope GDS2102A.
Therefore in a feature upgrade to a 12bit oscilloscope, this probe will also shine regarding performance with it.   :)

Bellow there is a pack of photographs, test environment, 8846A set to ZERO, and then the probe output (noise) measurement.

Next to come this is DC test and measuring precision.

Photographs:

4) probe powered off (environment pickup noise)
5) DMM 8846A ZERO function
6) TA 189 powered on (100mv/1A)
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Online Kiriakos GR

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Second official day of testing.

At ITTSB Blog, I do not perform simple product testing, but rather over all quality verification.
My older current probe this is PAC 12 AC/DC clamp probe by Chauvin Arnoux France.

Chauvin Arnoux PAC 12 this drive me crazy, in my attempt to evaluate AC current waveform at my oscilloscope.
Even by 20x coil multiplication, 135mA*20 =  2.7A
Even by 50x coil multiplication, 135mA*50 =  6.75A
There was severe noise and my oscilloscope GDS-2102A it was having hard times to maintain trigger.
Also the add-on noise was also causing a great difficulty at the measurement of Phase shift between voltage and current wave forms.

I did decide to perform identical testing as I did to TA189.
The test results its hard to believe but they do demonstrate another point of superiority of TA189 and this is it performance at rejection of surrounding electromagnetic noise.

Who would believe? that Chauvin Arnoux PAC 12 it does has quality electronics and noise floor this is lesser than TA189,  PAC 12 deliver 120uV of noise, when all influence of external pickup noise this were removed due 8846A zero function.

At the same probe positioning and next to 8846A,  with both probes powered OFF.

TA189 this as to was a plain radio antenna, it did deliver noise converted in ACV of  0.3699mV
PAC 12 this as to was a plain radio antenna too, it did deliver noise converted in ACV of  1.3536mV

Test conclusion     
TA 189 this it does have three times of better shielding (noise rejection even not powered) than PAC 12.
TA 189 clamp jaws, they hide an advanced shielding technology that is unseen when we simply read any products specification document.
PICO Technology UK, it does mention that TA 189 its build to also deliver high shielding from environmental noise, and this detail will please the most automotive technicians and us that we care for AC power analysis.

And today I am feeling very happy that I am able to prove this TA 189 probe superiority.
In contrast PAC 12, this it does pickup much higher environmental noise, and it output at the range 200mA~10A (60A Max) it is not clean enough for use by one oscilloscope.
PAC 12 becomes usable when it measures 10A or higher, as the probe output at that point this is at 100mV (10mV/1A).
At single Ampere (10mV/1A), PAC 12 this include  1.3536mV of noise at the sum of 10.0000mV , that has approximately 13% polluted due noise output.

By the same facts of judgement, TA189 (100mv/1A) at single Ampere that has 0.3% polluted due noise output. 

Photographs: 
1) probe powered off (environment pickup noise)
2) DMM 8846A ZERO function
3) PAC 12 powered on (10mv/1A)

Lessons of the day, probe jaws shielding performance this is of highest value than actual electronics delivery as noise floor output (at power on) when we think use with oscilloscopes.
For measurements due handheld or bench-top multimeter,  ZERO / NULL function this will assist for a improved precision.     
   
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Offline overvolt

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After these first tests and comparisons, only a blind man he could no see that PICO Technology UK, did an excellent choice here about be a distributor of a such superior probe!

About Chauvin Arnoux PAC12, that is only 10mV/1A, even the 125 micro volts they are a significant number as noise.
Apples to apples comparison, TA189 at 100mV/1A  = 212 micro volts 

What if PAC12 this was an 100mV/1A instead? It noise output then it would appear equal to stormy weather  ;D   

Congratulations for the new weapon!  ;)

Online Kiriakos GR

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Third official day of testing

This time I am after to evaluate TA189 performance at leakage current and process control electrical applications. 

Test setup:
HIOKI DT4282 with ±0.05% at DCA
Calibrator TIME ELECTRONICS 1048
Keysight U1272A with ±0.05% at DCV
Keysight U1272A special SCALE mode for external probe conversion   
Staubli Multicontact cables with SLK425 Multilam Gold plated (32A)


My testing shown to me, that everything is possible at the range 4~20mA if and when they are executed both, TA189 Zero function along multimeter Zero/Null function, with greatest caution.
TA189 product accuracy specifications clearly mention ±1% of reading plus ±2mA

My first thought was of me to test and find lowest DC current value that TA189 this is capable or able to measure.
This minimum it did found to be at 3mA, but the measurement was not stable enough.
By elevating test current at 4mA or 5mA the probe it did started doing a better job, at 10mA up to 20mA again with careful use of ZERO/Null at the probe side along at the side of the multimeter, the measurements was fluctuating by 1mA of error but not always.

At 20mA and above I did deactivate ZERO/Null at the side of the multimeter, and the clamp probe alone by the use of it ZERO (push button at zero current flow) this measured 22mA. 
The same thing happens at 22mA actual, the probe alone it did measure 24mA.

I have come down at two conclusions, the first this is for the world of process control, and this is that TA189 its capable to do the measurement, but at well controlled conditions, and if 1~2mA of fluctuation at the range of 4~20mA this is not a major concern.

The second conclusion this is for the automotive world that using TA189 as leakage current, in case that leakage current under review this is greater than 25mA, then TA189 this is able to be paired with any multimeter and to deliver close to the mark measurements.
The reading it might be 1~2mA higher but this is not a major concern.

But if higher measuring accuracy below the 30mA DC mark this is a prime requirement? Then the handheld DMM this it should be also a higher class of instrument too.

Regarding ACA TA189 this has 100 kHz of bandwidth, and U1272A this has identical bandwidth too.

In summary, while the TA189 this is capable to do the trick, it cannot do it alone, the second requirement this is to be paired with one of the best handheld DMM of our times.

Note:
The last photograph this demonstrates probe output at zero current, and with DMM this not be zeroed, this is in a way a DC pickup noise demonstration, as this was measured at the specific testing environment.   
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Offline liviu2004

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For automotive applications, this tool will not be used below 50 mA, because just about that is the normal car consumption. Clients will come to the shop for at least 0.5A or more.

Online Kiriakos GR

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For automotive applications, this tool will not be used below 50 mA, because just about that is the normal car consumption. Clients will come to the shop for at least 0.5A or more.

Its great to have nearby an automotive specialist when you need one  8)

New test, 50x calibration coil and simulation, DMM without SCALE function, and no use of ZERO/Null.

1mA x 50  = 50mA
10mA x 50 = 0.5A
20mA x 50 = 1A

At winter time and with 15C indoor, I do hesitate to speak about strict calibration accuracy,  I will just wait for hotter days to come 23C.   :)
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Online Kiriakos GR

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To be honest, after PICO Technology TA189 probe arrival, I did start using it with out visiting first it battery compartment.
After of the probe be approximately in use of the sum of 1:30m  I thought to open up the compartment and check inside.

At my special battery tester: level of charge 100% (voltage 8.49V).
The 9V battery this is classified as industrial, after that I did smile right away.  :)

Battery life specification: 30 hours typical  ( so we are good ).

Note:
About the proven good behavior of this probe at succeeding reduced pickup noise, I did find better descriptions at PICO Technology website for a brother model of TA189.
a) These current clamps have been designed for use with PicoScope oscilloscopes and feature additional screening to reduce noise pickup.
b) Reduced noise pickup this increases quality of signal output.

c) Advanced patented magnetic circuit design results in probes accuracy to be little affected by external magnetic fields or off-centre conductor positioning. 
d) Broad bandwidth and low phase shift for power and harmonics measurement.
e) Analysis of switching waveforms in inverters, switch mode power supplies and industrial controls.
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Online Kiriakos GR

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Fourth official day of testing

This is a demonstration of voltage and current waveforms.
The most wanted benefit at this application this is as much accurate and stable (as possible) Phase shift measurement.

TA189 has identical low Phase shift VS bandwidth specification, as it haves the PAC12.
Both are quality probes and not any dirt cheap Asian toys.

At screenshots below they are three actual (phase shift) examples, lamp, motor ,PSU.
The current waveform this is in sync only at the lamp load = Resistive Load.

The descriptions of current lagging and or leading, they still cause confusion to me  :)
Motor = Inductive Load
PSU = Capacitive Load

PSU waveform this is most polluted with noise, it is in the nature of this technology to behave that way.  ;D
Tomorrow I will run the last pack of tests, and this is Phase Shift stability and Min/ Max in all three loads.

The upcoming statistics will help me so I to evaluate my oscilloscope performance in contrast to the new scope (when ever I will get one).
 
   
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