Agilent 33622A Waveform Generator - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Keysight 33622A Waveform Generator

Author: peteroakes

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: Rigol DG4062

What were the biggest problems encountered?: Version of firmware shipped with device would not allow me to save waveforms to internal or external memory devices, this was resolved by updating the firmware to the latest version. Configuration for the WEB interface java security settings was not documented at all (Full Blown, not Java Script) and it took a call to Agilent to resolve the issue. Agilent was very quick and helpful to resolve this, hopefully they will include the extra information into the manual.

Detailed Review:

The Agilent 33622A Arbitrary Waveform Generator arrived within 1 business day from finding out I had been chosen to review the product, even if I had ordered this normally I would not have expected it that quick so an immediate big thank you to Agilent and Element 14 for efficiency.

 

First what I wont be doing

I am not going to bore you with repeating a bunch of diagrams and specifications you can find in the manual, I am not going to try to prove the waveform generator performs to said specifications

 

You can read all that yourself by following the links here:

 

Main Data Sheet:-  http://cp.literature.agilent.com/litweb/pdf/5991-3272EN.pdf

Operating and Service guide :- http://cp.literature.agilent.com/litweb/pdf/33500-90901.pdf

Product Fact Sheet :- http://cp.literature.agilent.com/litweb/pdf/5991-3795EN.pdf

 

 

What I am going to do it show how easy it is (I hope ) to use in practical, day to day experiments and diagnostic tasks and in most cases it should be quite educational and very practical. Some of the examples presented can also be re-produced with a basic understanding of electronics and time to build up test boards but then where is the fun in that (Well there is fun in it but I have this Awesome AWG and I want to see what I can do with it.), in such cases I will try to link in the alternate approach too.

 

So here is the list of experiments / review topics I will be performing with the 33622A, I will be adding the videos as I complete them, I hope to complete them all within the window of the review but either way I will post them in the Blog section of test and measurement anyway so you wont miss out.

Contents:

 

1.     The Unboxing

2.     Ease of use without reading the manual (Its a guy thing )

               Front Panel Walk through

               Initial Power up and Waveforms available

               Sweeping, Modulation and more

3.     Custom Waveforms and saving them to removable storage

4.     Blog Entry 1:- 33622A arbitrary waveform generator helps Batman with a new "Bat Signal".

5.     Blog Entry 2:- 33622A Arbitrary Waveform Generator used for TDR (Time Domain Reflectometry)

6.     Blog Entry 3:- 33622A - Lets play with Ohms Law, Characteristic Impedance and other fun things.

7.     Blog Entry 4:- 33622A Radio E14 hits the Air waves on FM and AM bands near you

8.     Blog Entry 5:- 33622A used to measure Capacitors and Inductors - Curve method

9.     Blog Entry 6:- 33622A - Used to Measure Capacitors - The Sine method

10.   Use of the Agilent BenchView software

11.   Use of the Waveform Builder Pro software


The Unboxing

Of course the first thing to do is the obligatory un-boxing video and quick tour around the device so without further delay here it is

 

So my initial thoughts on this device is it that it is well built, the controls feel good to the touch and all provide positive response when used. As you will discover as I present the review videos the 33622A is extremely easy to use. I had no difficulties getting the generator to output all standard waveforms, creating your own combinations was very straight forward and so far I have been able to keep on track with my priority list of chosen tasks.

 

 

 

Front Panel Walk through

I was pleasantly surprised to find the layout very comparable with other devices from Agilent that have the same form factor, this would ease the learning curve and hopefully we will find them intuitive to use,

As you can see, all have large color lcd displays, numerous soft function buttons on the bottom of the screen and to different degrees a wealth of dedicated function buttons on the right side of the screen, where there are numeric pads they share the same layout and physical characteristics, the remaining controls being dedicated to the specific functionality of the device. As the dimensions appear to be roughly the same, they should also stack nicely on the bench if needed. The handles all fold neatly under the instrument when not needed.

the diagonal size of the 33622A screen is 4.25" or 11CM, plenty enough for the job at hand,

 

the remaining description is contained in the following video clip

 

Initial Power up and Waveforms available

First Power up and walk through of all the different Waveforms, there are a huge variety of waveforms to choose from and they are all adjustable once you have selected one, it is also very easy to create your own using the onscreen menu system by simply chaining different waveforms together and these can even be sequenced using triggers

sorry this is a longer video than normal, like I said, there are a lot of features to select and I have only covered the standard waveforms so far. I hope you enjoy

 

 

 

Sweeping, Modulations and more

As you will see in this last intro video it is very easy to figure out this instrument, and initiate many standard waveforms and variants based on modulating or sweeping the built in waveforms being output, you can even sweep a custom waveform where the effect is to actually change the sample rate (the speed you work through the custom wave form data points). more of this later when I present the Arbitrary Waveform video


Creating custom wave-forms and saving them to removable storage


Using the following formulas in Excel outputs the following data from a single CSV file, I will show how to have the 33622A create the actual waveforms

1*SIN(6.28319*Time)

1*SIN((2*6.28319*Time)

1*COS(6.28319*Time)

1*TAN(6.28319*Time)/15    (The divide by 15 is simply to keep the values in the right range but as you can see, it still resulted in values way above +-32768

1*LOG(6.28319*Time*$B7)

   

SampleTimeSIN2 SinSIN+2SINCOSSIN+COSTANLOGALL
0000011
10.031250.1950904660.3826840.5777740.9807851.1758760.013261-0.706970.482167
20.06250.3826837030.7071071.0897910.9238791.3065630.027614-0.405940.928238
30.093750.5555705990.923881.479450.8314691.387040.044545-0.229851.201737
40.1250.70710719611.7071070.7071061.4142140.066667-0.104911.375971
50.156250.831470020.9238791.7553490.555571.387040.099774-0.0081.478814
60.18750.9238798690.7071061.6309850.3826831.3065620.1609480.0711811.538692
70.218750.9807854810.3826821.3634670.1950891.1758750.3351580.1381281.649161
80.251-2.3E-060.999998-1.2E-060.999999-56824.40.19612-56823.2
90.281250.980785023-0.382690.598099-0.195090.785693-0.335150.2472730.697812
100.31250.923878971-0.707110.21677-0.382680.541194-0.160950.293030.673277
110.343750.831468716-0.92388-0.09241-0.555570.275897-0.099770.3344230.510547
120.3750.707105537-1-0.29289-0.70711-2.5E-06-0.066670.3722110.305543
130.406250.555568648-0.92388-0.36831-0.83147-0.2759-0.044550.4069740.086526
140.43750.382681536-0.7071-0.32442-0.92388-0.5412-0.027610.439158-0.12965
150.468750.195088165-0.38268-0.18759-0.98079-0.7857-0.013260.469121-0.32984
160.5-2.3464E-064.69E-062.35E-06-1-11.56E-070.49715-0.50285
170.53125-0.195092770.3826880.187595-0.98078-1.175880.0132610.523479-0.63914
180.5625-0.382685870.7071110.324425-0.92388-1.306560.0276140.548303-0.73065
190.59375-0.555572550.9238820.368309-0.83147-1.387040.0445460.571784-0.77071
200.625-0.7071088610.292891-0.7071-1.414210.0666670.59406-0.75349
210.65625-0.831471320.9238770.092406-0.55557-1.387040.0997740.61525-0.67202
220.6875-0.923880770.707102-0.21678-0.38268-1.306560.1609490.635453-0.51016
230.71875-0.980785940.382677-0.59811-0.19509-1.175870.3351620.654758-0.18595
240.75-1-7E-06-1.000013.52E-06-1-18941.50.673241-18941.8
250.78125-0.98078457-0.38269-1.363470.195094-0.78569-0.335150.69097-0.42987
260.8125-0.92387807-0.70711-1.630990.382687-0.54119-0.160950.7080040.005867
270.84375-0.83146741-0.92388-1.755350.555574-0.27589-0.099770.7243940.348727
280.875-0.70710388-1-1.70710.707115.81E-06-0.066670.7401880.673528
290.90625-0.5555667-0.92388-1.479440.8314720.275905-0.044540.7554280.986789
300.9375-0.38267937-0.7071-1.089780.9238810.541202-0.027610.7701511.283739
310.96875-0.19508586-0.38268-0.577760.9807860.7857-0.013260.7843921.556832


in Excell these graph as the following (TAN is removed to keep scaling sensible)


It should be noted that the minimal number of samples for a waveform on the 33622A is 32, so that is what I used as the max sample size in this experiment. Again I have not read the manual for this and will explain some pitfalls I encountered in the process, none of which took more than a few seconds to figure out so again, cto Agilent for making a very simple to use device


First video is related to preparing the data for the 33622A AWG



This one is using the data created n the first video and also using the front panel to create a waveform (Not really good for complex waveforms but you can do it if you have the time and patience

 


The following few topics are posted into the Blog section of Test and Measurement as they are also useful for educational purposes but links are provided for easy access



Proving Batman is a nerd.

(Trust me you will like it) AKA how to create a complex custom waveform and upload to the 33622A...

here is a teaser, this involves a bit of C# too but dont worry, you can do this with almost any language as long as it can evaluate formula and write to a file

For this experiment, please follow this link :-

Blog Entry:- 33622A arbitrary waveform generator helps Batman with a new "Bat Signal"


So far the Agilent 33622A has proven to be a very easy to use and very intuitive piece of lab equipment. I have already explored all the various capabilities of the built in waveforms during the initial walk through, I have just completed demonstrating how flexible the Arbitrary Waveform capability is and it is Awesome believe me, If you can generate the wave data, even complex forms then it can output it, I have still to try a few other tests on the limits of this but they will have to wait until  I have a suitable means of showing the results. (A later blog for sure)



How long is a piece of Wire and what is the speed of light anyway?
Now it is time for another example of how this generator can be used in a real world scenario and perform the job of an other instrument, the "Time Domain Reflectometer", these can cost upward of several thousand dollars and I will now show you how you can use the Agilent 33622A generator coupled with even a low cost oscilloscope to perform many of the basic functions of a TDR including measuring the length of a transmission cable (Even without access to the far end), work out its characteristic impedance and detect if there are any taps on the cable. Please follow the link below for the complete story and demo.


PUBLIC HEALTH WARNING>>>

Blog Entry:- 33622A Arbitrary Waveform Generator used for TDR (Time Domain Reflectometry)



Lets play with Ohms Law, Characteristic Impedance and other fun things you can do with a 33622A?  

Blog Entry:- 33622A - Lets play with Ohms Law, Characteristic Impedance and other fun things.

 


Tone and sweep generator for AM and FM Radio

Blog Entry:- 33622A Radio E14 hits the Air waves on FM and AM bands near you


Finding the values of inductors and capacitors

Blog Entry:- 33622A used to measure Capacitors and Inductors - Curve method

Blog Entry:- 33622A - Used to Measure Capacitors - The Sine method


Use of the Agilent Bench Vue software


Use of the Waveform Builder Pro software

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