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Test and Measurement Needs for the Shop
For the toolbox
Another item that allows you to work smarter is a cable tester. Rolls makes CS1000. It can test 10 different connector types: banana, 4-pt Speakon, 1/4" TRS, 1/8" TRS, XLR male and female, MIDI (up to 7 points), RJ-11 and RJ-45. Aside from its continuity tester it includes a 1kHz tone generator, which is useful for checking inputs to amps, etc. A 9V battery is used for power.
Hosa makes the CBT-500, which can diagnose signal failure in cables terminated with any combination of XLR, phone, phono and Speakon connectors, as well as DIN, Ethernet and USB Type A to Type B cables. It is also equipped with removable leads to verify continuity of additional connectors and jacks. It operates on a 9V battery.
Although I don't believe that they are quite as necessary as they used to be around the shop, having a good oscilloscope is still important for troubleshooting, especially at component level. A scope can give you a lot of insight in to what is happening in real time in a circuit -- much more so than a DMM. Also, with a typical two-input scope you can check left channel vs. right channel phase using the lissajous configuration -- make sure the scope has X vs. Y on its horizontal mode selector. You can check input vs. output of any circuit under test, which is still useful in the analog realm.
To me, Tektronix has always been synonymous with the best in oscilloscopes. Features that were practically unheard of 20 years ago are commonplace now -- like digital storage. The TDS-1000B series is available in bandwidths up to 100MHz, with sample rates up to 1 gigasamples per second; two channels (of course) and a monochromatic LCD display. It has PC Connectivity through the USB Device Port, with OpenChoice and NI SignalExpress PC Software. You can print to all PictBridge compatible printers by way of the USB port. Perhaps the best thing about it is the portability aspect: It only weighs about 4.5lbs.
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