RoadTest Review: Tektronix PA1000 Power Analyzer

A big thanks to element14 and Tektronix, as always, for sending me this gem for review. It’s been a long four months since I’ve received the Tektronix PA1000 for review, and due to a rather extraordinary set of circumstances, what should have been a two month review process dragged on as I was hesitating on publishing until now. It has been a long wait, but I hope you will agree that it was worth it.

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The PA1000 is a “general purpose” power analyzer which owes its heritage to the Voltech PM1000+. Since Tektronix acquired Voltech’s Power Analyzer IP, they have entered the power analyzer market with a single channel PA1000 and a multi-channel PA4000.

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Very much suited for making single phase power measurements, it is capable of performing standby power testing on most appliances that run from a GPO, as well as testing the load profile, inrush currents and harmonic distortion. It is capable of measuring many mains quality parameters as well, however, it is equally at home working with DC as well. Multiple units can be used with the software to derive efficiency measurements or to add measurement channels, and it is suitable for use with external current transducers for measuring even larger currents or the output from LED current drivers and fluorescent tube ballasts (which are tricky to get right).

The PA1000 is a pretty interesting and amazing piece of hardware, which has ample potential and great specifications compared to its competitors. Its price is definitely the most reasonable of the lot, with good connectivity, dual current measurement shunts and software “bundled in” for IEC 62301 Ed.2 standby energy compliance testing. For this, it makes things almost too-easy!

At the moment, however, I have identified various issues and improvements with both the firmware and the PWRVIEW software which I have communicated to Tektronix. To their credit, they valued my feedback and were committed to implementing fixes and features over the next few firmware and software releases.

Since my RoadTest, one version of PWRVIEW has been released fixing one of the issues I had identified, and another version of software and firmware is scheduled to be released mid-August. I look forward to testing it and noting the improvements.

Read the Full Review at element14!

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