01 December 2017: Hioki Launches Flagship Memory HiCorder MR6000 

Instrument Achieves High-Speed Measurement at 200 MS/s and Real-Time Saving of Data 32 Times Faster than Legacy Models

Hioki is pleased to announce the launch of the Memory HiCorder MR6000.

It was back in 1983 that Hioki launched its first Memory HiCorder model. Today, the line of products ranges from handheld, 2-channel models that offer a compact, lightweight design to standard models primarily designed to measure 16 channels using a plug-in module architecture and multichannel models (with 54 channels of capacity) that can be embedded in production lines. With high-speed measurement at 200 MS/s—10 times faster than the previous model—and high-speed, real-time saving of measurement data that is 32 times faster than the previous model, the newly launched MR6000 stands ready to earn its keep as Hioki’s flagship model.

Principal Applications
1. Test inverter performance

Capable of simultaneously measuring 16 channels of insulation data while maintaining its 200 MS/s speed, the MR6000 can measure high-speed, high-voltage signals in inverter performance testing more accurately and safely than ever before.

2. Record electronic control unit (ECU) signals
To record electronic control unit (ECU) signals in automobiles and transport equipment, an instrument must be capable of multichannel measurement. Used with the 4-channel Analog Unit U8975 (which is being launched alongside the MR6000), the instrument can simultaneously measure as many as 32 channels.

3. Measure multiple physical phenomena
By choosing which modules to install in the MR6000, it is possible to measure not only voltage, but also a variety of physical phenomena, including current, temperature, strain, and frequency. The instrument’s exceptional performance is particularly helpful in such applications.

Product Features
1. High-speed measurement at 200 MS/s (10 times faster than legacy models) when used with the High-speed Analog Unit U8976 
Hioki is launching the High-speed Analog Unit U8976 as a plug-in module at the same time as the MR6000. When used in combination with the U8976, the MR6000 can perform high-speed measurement at 200 MS/s*, 10 times faster than previous models. This level of performance enables the instrument to capture minutely detailed waveform changes whose assessment is essential in applications such as motor and inverter performance testing.

*1 Equivalent to 200 million measurements per second

2. High-speed, real-time saving of measurement data (32 times faster than legacy models)
In testing applications, it’s critical to measure all phenomena at once since there may be only one chance to capture that data. Due to the enormous amount of measurement data generated when multiple channels are measured simultaneously at a high sampling rate, past instruments have been limed in their ability to save data in real time to recording media. Used with the optional SSD Unit U8332, the MR6000 can save data at the rate of 1 MS/s for 32 channels in real time for a period of one hour. This capability relies on a data transfer speed that is 32 times faster than that of the previous model.

3. New Memory HiCorder function: Automatic search for anomalous waveforms with Memory HiCorder Concierge
The MR6000 is the first Memory HiCorder in history to offer Memory HiCorder Concierge, a powerful feature that automatically detects the characteristics of a basic waveform that is set by the user in advance and then automatically searches all measured data for waveforms that exhibit a low degree of similarity to the basic waveform, indicating potential anomalies. Due in part to the enormous amount of measurement data that is generated in typical applications, this new function significantly boosts work efficiency.

4. Redesigned interface and data-saving times that are about 1/10th those of legacy models
In the past, the enormous amount of measurement data generated by Memory HiCorders has posed issues in terms of how long it takes to save data to recording media after measurement is complete. Thanks to a redesigned interface that enables faster data transfers from its internal memory, the MR6000 reduces data-saving times to about 1/10th those of previous models.

5. Intuitive configuration process using a touch screen
The MR6000 incorporates a touch screen for even easier operability. Whereas the previous high-end models required users to perform multiple key operations in order to configure the desired settings, the touch screen lets them configure settings directly, making configuration more intuitive and shortening work times.


About HIOKI
Established in 1935, HIOKI E.E. CORPORATION (TSE: 6866) has grown to become a world leader in providing  consistent delivery of test and measuring  instruments through advanced design, manufacturing, and sales and services. By offering over 200 main products characterized by safety and quality while meeting an expansive range of applications, we aim to contribute to the efficiency and value of our customers’ work in research and development, production and electrical maintenance. HIOKI products and services are available around the world through our extensive network of subsidiaries and distributors. Information about HIOKI is available at www.hioki.com.

 

01 December 2017: Measurement of Various Materials Surface Resistance

Static electricity is an imbalance between negative and positive charges in objects. Charge remains until it is able to move away through electric current or discharge through another object. One nature spectacular example is lightning. Static electricity has contributed to the invention of products used daily such as supercapacitors, laser printers and paint spray gun. While static is useful, it can also be a nuisance, causing painful shock and damage of delicate electronics. In extreme cases, it can result in danger such as an explosion in hazardous zones. Hazardous zone is defined as an area where flammable liquids, gases or vapors or combustible dusts exist in sufficient quantities to produce an explosion or fire. A tiny spark may be emitted from the simple act of toggling the power switch. In an ordinary atmosphere, the spark is harmless. However, it will be a concern if flammable vapor is present as it could ignite an explosion. Examples of these locations are chemical factory, oil refinery and marine. Measures are put in place to reduce the risk factor. One of the simplest methods is to minimize the amount of electrical equipment installed in the hazardous area by not allowing the equipment in the area totally or making the area less hazardous by process improvements. The equipment used in the area are designed to be intrinsic safe or explosion proof by limiting energy, electrical and thermal available by ignition. The IEC 60079 – 0 (Explosive atmosphere standards) specifies the general requirements for construction, testing and making of electrical equipment and Ex Components [1] intended for use in explosive atmosphere.

One of the design considerations is the material selection for equipment casing which is critical. For example, magnesium is prohibited within the explosive areas. Common materials such as aluminum must go through metallurgical effort to allow it to have specific properties. Polymers generally are not used. The materials used have to satisfy anti-static properties which is difficult to achieve. Anti-static agent is also used to treat materials to have a conducting layer, hence reducing the buildup of static electricity.

According to the IEC standards, equipment that has non-metallic material as enclosures is required to have the material surface resistance tested. The test is conducted on parts of the enclosures or a test piece in accordance to the specified dimensions. The test object has to be conditioned at least 24 hours at 23°C and 50 % relative humidity and also tested in the same ambient conditions. A direct 500 V will be applied for 65 seconds between 2 electrodes. The surface resistance will then be measured. The typical value of the surface resistance is between 106 to 1012 Ω. With a high surface resistance value, the material is more insulative.

In critical environment such as hospital operating theatre where sensitive electronics equipment are being used, it requires stringent static control. Furthermore, compressed oxygen are often being used in the operating theatre. A small discharge is able to disturb the sensitive electronics components resulting in the malfunction of equipment and cause of fire hazard due to the compressed oxygen. Electrostatic discharge (ESD) measures are put in place to prevent the build-up for static electricity. Static dissipative ESD flooring is being used. Other preventive measures practice includes humidity control of operating theatre and use of static-controlled clothing and footwear. In order to be ESD safe, the flooring material is being tested in accordance to IEC61340-2-3 (Part 2-3: Methods of test for determining the resistance and resistivity of solid materials used to avoid electrostatic charge accumulation).

A super megohm meter (commonly known in the industry as electrometer and picoammeter) such as Hioki SM7110 is used to measure the surface resistance of materials. The SM7110 is able to perform simultaneous measurement of temperature and humidity. This is important when conducting measurement and management of new materials as changes in either can affect the insulation resistance. The sequence mode feature allows the setting of time for “Discharge – Recharge – Measurement – Discharge” flow to perform repeated measurements without the use of computer. Various electrodes and shield box are available to cater to different application. For example, the SM9001 electrode (Figure 1) is built in compliant to IEC61340-2-3 standards which is suitable to be used to measure anti-static flooring materials. Measurements can be conducted easily as no cutting of samples is required. This is because the electrode uses a conductive rubber where the size conforms to standards. Hence, only the electrode needs to be place on the desired point for stable measurements under the load of 2.5 kg.

The SM7110 has strong resistance against noise, giving a high stability which is crucial for high resistance measurement. It has a management range up to 2 x 1019 Ω. With capability to give reliable readings and availability of various accessories, the SM7110 is suitable to accomplish the task of material surface resistance measurement.

[1] Denition of EN 60079-0:2012 for Ex Component part of electrical equipment or a module, marked with symbol “U”, which is not intended to be used alone and requires additional consideration when incorporated into electrical equipment or systems for use in explosive atmosphere

References: 

1. Article Title: Static Electricity - Website Title: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Static_electricity 

2. Article Title: Electrical Equipment in Hazardous Areas - Website Title: Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_equipment_in_hazardous_areas 

3. Article Title: Static Electricity - Website Title: Live Science https://www.livescience.com/51656-static-electricity.html 

4. Article Title: Intrinsically Safe or Explosionproof? - Website Title: Transcat https://www.transcat.com/media/pdf/cordex-is-explosion-proof.pdf 

5. Article Title: Oxygen Use in the Workplace - Website Title: hse.gov.uk https://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg459.pdf

01 December 2017: HIOKI Green Point Campaign 2017

Together with Penang Inshore Fisherman Welfare Association (PIFWA), HIOKI Singapore planted a total of 332 Mangrove trees in Sungai Acheh, Penang, Malaysia on 1st October 2017 in HIOKI Singapore’s latest activity, Green Point Campaign (グリーンポイン ト・キャンペーン) program. Guided by HIOKI’s corporate philosophy, “Contribution to Society” & “Respect for Humanity”, the Green Point Campaign is the fourth instalment of the annual initiative by HIOKI E.E Corporation, to plant trees on behalf of our HIOKI users to a tree-planting organization when the customers purchase a qualifying product.

 

About the area

Sungai Acheh, Nibong Tebal The objective for mangrove tree planting program is to raise awareness of the importance and value of mangrove forests to nature and humans as the mangrove forest is a source of livelihood for coastal fishermen. Among the catches of mangrove swamps and the nearby sea are jellyfish, siakap ,mackerel, tiger shrimp ,sembilan, , grouper, sniper, , crab, snail mackerel and many more. Most of these marine life use mangrove forests as the main base of breeding grounds, feeding and living while waiting for time to migrate to the deep sea. As such, tree planting program at the mangrove swamp is vital, as the swamp forest provides a buffer zone, withholding strong waves and strong winds. In addition, this forest delivers a good supply of oxygen to human life. Therefore, with these programs, it can be seen that the involvement and support provided by various communities and fishermen aims to regenerate the fishing industry and is one of the environmental conservation efforts.

14 July 2017: Power Quality Issues and Their Effects on Medical Equipment

Various electrical safety tests such as leakage current and insulation resistance have to be conducted on medical equipment to ensure the safe use which is governed by EN60601 standards (Medical Electrical Equipment and Systems). The quality of the power delivered to the hospital is also very critical. This is because the medical equipment used have sensitive microprocessors and require higher quality power. Power quality issues can result in the malfunction of the medical equipment such as display distortion, incorrect diagnostic results or control fault. It could also result in other severe situation as failure of ventilator which might lead to loss-of-life.

Power quality is the combination of voltage quality and current quality. Voltage disturbance is often from the power network which in turn affects the end users. While current disturbance is from the end users which will affect the network. Hospital’s power quality issues occurred often due to nonlinear loads, injection of harmonics, and interaction between medical equipment. As power quality issues are cumulative, small events detected should be taken seriously. Non-linear loads distort the current waveform and create harmonic currents to the system current. An example is from electric lighting lamps. In Indonesia, the lamps have to be tested by medical electricity laboratory before 2 being used by the hospitals. This measure is taken to reduce the harmonics resonating in the system and to ensure that the power factor to maintain at a minimal of 0.85.

3 samples of the electric lamps are being tested in the lab using Hioki Power Quality Analyser, PW3198. The objective of the test is to measure the direct line current and also the line neutral voltage (Figure 1). The parameters recorded are voltage, current, power factor, active power and reactive power. It is also important to observe the voltage and current waveform.

From Figure 2, it is observed that the current waveform is slightly distorted. The power factor of sample A is 0.892 which is of acceptable level. Sample B (Figure 3) shows an even more distorted current waveform with a power factor of 0.567 which is considered poor.

Sample C (Figure 4) has the worst test results. The current waveform has been distorted which does not resemble a sinewave anymore. The power factor of sample C is 0.048 which means that the tested lamp is an inductive load and is not acceptable. Below shows the summary of test results from the 3 samples (Table 1):

The results are compared against standards provided by the regulating authority. It is concluded that only sample A is suitable to be used in the hospital facilities.

 

16 June 2017: Hioki Launches the AC Clamp Power Meter CM3286! Detect Electricity Theft in Developing Nations!

Hioki is pleased to announce the launch of the AC Clamp Power Meter CM3286 and CM3286-01, the latter of which includes Bluetooth® wireless communications functionality. In addition to the ability to measure current, voltage, power, and other parameters, both instruments provide functionality for helping detect electricity theft, a major issue in developing nations such as the countries of Southeast Asia.

Development Background
Technicians responsible for maintenance and management of electrical equipment in buildings and manufacturing plants must measure parameters such as current, voltage, and power. Hioki has long supplied customers with AC clamp power meters for use in electrical work at sites such as these. The newly launched CM3286 series builds on the functionality provided by the previous product, 3286 while adding the CM3286-01, which includes functionality for transmitting measured values wirelessly to smartphones via Bluetooth®, as a new model.

The CM3286 series also introduces new functionality for detecting electricity theft, an area where there is growing demand in developing nations such as the countries of Southeast Asia. Electricity theft, which is a serious problem in these countries, takes various forms, including modification of electricity meters, direct theft from power lines, and bribery of meter-reading personnel. The new instruments provide functionality to help users detect electricity theft in order to solve such problems.

Key Applications:
• Electrical work
• Maintenance and management of electrical and energy-saving equipment

Key Features:
1. Fast measurement of current, voltage, power, and power factor
The CM3286 series can measure a variety of parameters, including current, voltage, power, power factor, frequency, phase order, and energy (via simple integration).
Principal measurement parameters
Voltage: 80.0 V to 600.0 V
Current: 0.060 A to 600.0 A
Power: 0.005 kW to 360.0 kW (single-phase)
0.020 kW to 623.5 kW (balanced 3-phase/3-wire)
0.040 kW to 1080 kW (balanced 3-phase/4-wire)

2. Transmission of measured values to a smartphone simply by holding the value (Model CM3286-01 only)
When the user holds a measured value, that value is automatically transmitted to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth® wireless communications. In addition, the GENNECT Cross app can be used to create simple reports (in PDF format) and to save measurement data in CSV format for later editing in Excel.

3. Assistance in detecting electricity theft
Electricity theft by the methods described below is a major problem in developing nations such as the countries of Southeast Asia. The CM3286 series provides functionality to help users detect such theft.
(1) Modification of electricity meters
Electricity meters display the amount of energy used, but they can be modified so that the displayed value understates the actual usage. The CM3286 series provides functionality for comparing measured values to the electricity meter’s readings, allowing such meter modifications to be detected.
(2) Direct theft from power lines
Electricity can be stolen directly by connecting the power lines running into the meter directly to the building, bypassing the meter. The CM3286’s ability to measure even small currents can be utilized to detect locations where electricity is being stolen directly.
(3) Illegal financial conduct with meter-reading personnel
Measured values and other data with the potential to provide evidence of electricity theft are managed using handwritten records. Consequently, it is possible for electricity users to bribe meter-reading personnel and arrange for this evidence to be suppressed. Used in conjunction with the GENNECT Cross app running on a smartphone or tablet, the CM3286-01 can create simple reports using measured values and information about measurement locations. The instrument also incorporates other mechanisms to prevent modification of acquired information, eliminating concerns about fraud.

4. Harmonic measurement (Model CM3286-01 only)
Used in conjunction with the GENNECT Cross dedicated app, the CM3286-01 lets workers send measurement data to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth® communications, allowing analysis of harmonics. (This capability is scheduled to be released in fall 2017.)
Bluetooth®, a registered trademark of Bluetooth SIG, Inc., is used under license by Hioki E.E. Corporation.

16 June 2017: Hioki Launches Non-Contact AC Voltage Probe SP3000

Hioki is pleased to announce the launch of the Non-Contact AC Voltage Probe SP3000.

The product’s launch caps the company’s development and commercialization of the world’s first no-metal-contact voltage measurement technology. The small voltage probe takes advantage of this technology to make it easy to observe AC voltage signals in thin cables such as wire harnesses from outside the cable insulation.

Development Background
One sector in which Hioki anticipates the SP3000 will be used is the automotive market, whose products are incorporating an increasingly large and varied number of electronic devices. Vehicles use networks of cables known as wire harnesses to communicate a range of information that is used to control onboard electronic devices.

These wire harnesses are designed to be waterproof, hence there is no exposed metal parts. Consequently, observing the voltage signals they carry has been a labor-intensive task for technicians, who must disconnect the connectors and remove the cable insulation in order to do so.

Hioki has developed and commercialized the world’s first no-metal-contact voltage measurement technology. The newly launched SP3000 takes advantage of this technology to make it easy to observe voltage signals in thin cables such as wire harnesses from outside the cable insulation.

Key Applications
• Observe AC signals from outside the cable cover using recorders and oscilloscopes
• Automotive R&D
• Control system repair and maintenance

Key Feature – Observe voltage signals from outside insulation
The SP3000 incorporates the world’s first no-metal-contact voltage measurement technology. In this product, Hioki has delivered a compact probe capable of measuring voltage in thin cables such as wire harnesses.

Principal Specifications
• Measurable wire outer diameter: 1.0 mm to 2.5 mm
• Measurable frequency band: 10 Hz to 100 kHz
• Rated measured voltage: 5 Vrms
• Output rate: 1 V/V

16 June 2017: Hioki Instrument Control Using LabVIEW (Part 2)

This article will discuss about using LabVIEW software to develop a program to be used for Automate test and Measurement System. This article is written in assumption that the reader has a basic knowledge of LabVIEW Programming.

In the previous article (Part 1), the control discussed is using SCPI command for sending and receiving data from the instrument. In this article, VISA which stands for Virtual Instrument Software Architecture will be used. VISA is a widely used industry communication API. It also known as communication driver function in LabVIEW that enables interface with various ports such as the RS-232, RS-485, USB and LAN.

Below the basic VISA control functions will be discussed.

VISA Open

Visa Open is a function used for establishing connections and the parameters entered into this function is called the VISA resource name. It is a session of connection that can be viewed from the NI-MAX as mentioned in previous article. When a connection is established, other programs would not be able to request for this same connection.

VISA Close

VISA Close is a function used for disconnecting a session of device connection so that other programs are able to access.

VISA Read

VISA Read is a function used for acquiring requested data from the instrument. A command is sent to the instrument to do so. The key parameter for this function is the byte count or the data size. The data is stored and will be pulled from the buffer memory and if a larger size is required it can be set up. However, more processing time will be needed.

VISA Write

VISA Write is a function used for sending a command to instrument to set up or request for data. The key parameter here is write a buffer or enter a SCPI command.

The main programming functions should be arranged as below sequence:

Below are some examples to demonstrate some of the above mentioned functions. The instrument used in the example is Hioki Resistance Meter, the RM 3544-01.
Example #1: Sending command to acquire data from an instrument
This example is to show how to acquire data from the instrument using *IDN? command. Both the functions VISA WRITE and VISA READ are used to control or acquire data from the instrument. VISA WRITE send the command *IDN? to the instrument. The data will be taken and returned to buffer memory. VISA READ function reads the stored data from the buffer memory, as designated size. In this case, the designated size is 1024 bytes.

Example #2: Sending command to control an instrument
In this case, the VISA READ command is not required. If the VISA READ is included, it will result in an error in the program as the program will be waiting to read a data from buffer memory until designated time.

In this example, using the RES:RANG command, the resistance measurement range is change from 30mΩ to 300mΩ.

From the figure below, the instrument is in RMT (Remote) mode. The resistance measurement range is changed from 30mΩ to 300mΩ with the command control. No manual pressing of key was done.