By linking source and measurement circuitry in a single unit, these instruments offer a variety of advantages over systems configured with separate source and measurement instruments. For example, they minimize the time required for test station development, setup, and maintenance, while lowering the overall cost of system ownership. They simplify the test process itself by eliminating many of the complex synchronization and connection issues associated with using multiple instruments. And, their compact half-rack size conserves precious real estate in the test rack or bench.
The tightly coupled nature of a SourceMeter instrument provides many advantages over solutions configured from separate instruments, such as a precision power supply and a digital multimeter. For example, it provides faster test times by reducing GPIB traffic and simplifies the remote programming interface. It also protects the device under test from damage due to accidental overloads, thermal runaway, etc. Both the current and voltage source are programmable with readback to help maximize device measurement integrity. If the readback reaches a programmed compliance limit, then the source is clamped at the limit, providing fault protection.