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Test & measurement


Overcoming instrumentation battery challenges


Measurement is a fundamental requirement of scientific and engineering disciplines. Without precise measurements as a basis, all future work is doomed to inaccuracy or ineffectuality. As such, it is vital that test and instrumentation equipment can be relied on to provide consistent, accurate measurements. Here, Rob Brown, marketing executive at Accutronics, explains the role batteries play in achieving reliable instrumentation - and the challenges design engineers should consider


apparent to the NASA team; the images returned by the telescope were not as sharp as had been intended. This was caused by a problem with the telescope’s optic system, because the outer perimeter of the primary mirror was 2,200 nanometres too flat. An investigation into how this occurred pointed to a reflective null corrector, which is a device used to test and properly shape


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Power may not always be the first thing design engineers think of when considering how to ensure reliability and accuracy in test and instrumentation. Yet if there was to be a sudden loss of power then all results would be lost.


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few weeks after the $4.7 billion launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990, an error became


non-spherical mirrors. This device had been assembled specifically for the telescope’s construction but had been done so incorrectly, with a lens 1.3mm out of position. The slight difference had a significant impact on the usefulness of the telescope, until it was balanced out three years later. This led to a series of expensive launches to fit and replace instrumentation over the subsequent years. Although most instrumentation applications tend to be closer to home, the Hubble Space


Telescope highlights how even slight deviations in measurement can have significant consequences. Design engineers working on test, measurement and instrumentation devices aim to guarantee precision by specifying high quality components and ensuring designs are fit for purpose and functional. One of these components is the power source. Power may not always be the first thing design engineers think of when considering how to ensure reliability and accuracy in test and instrumentation. Yet, if there was to be a sudden loss of power, either due to a mains electrical fault or a battery failure, then all results would be lost. Likewise, dips in energy delivered to a digital device can affect the recorded measurements. When choosing the optimum power


source, it is important to consider the device’s intended application and the environment it will operate in. If the device is manned, portable or in regular use then a secondary (rechargeable) battery may be


October 2020 Instrumentation Monthly


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