Maybe we all have to buy lab test equipment experience, more often than not our eyes immediately gravitate toward the brightest, shiniest product on the market. Although there will always be test equipment available with all of the bells and whistles, it’s important to fully understand what you actually need this product to do versus what it hypothetically ‘could’ do.
For example, we recently had a need for an oscilloscope with integrating math functions to determine the energy of a waveform, and we also needed to monitor noise, which required a scope with 500mHz capability. Originally we wanted one scope which met both of our requirements, but when we realized that integration was needed only to 100mHz, it turned out that we could get two scopes for the same price as the 500mHz math scope was going to cost.
On the flip side, you can also go too far and sacrifice too much functionality while trying to cut costs. If your requirements dictate determining energy under a 500Hhz waveform, then you should be prepared to justify the need and fight for it – in certain instances there is no way of getting around that higher cost.
3. Don’t Spec.
It’s important to research the specifications you are testing to, so that you can be familiar with their requirements and test philosophy. Know what tests you want the equipment to perform in your lab, and what specifications are going to be required of the equipment you are preparing to purchase.
4. Ignore Tolerances.
Different specifications have different tolerances, which can really throw your procurement ideas a curve. Further, tolerances and specs can skew the price of the equipment significantly. For example, is the supply you are specifying rated for continuous duty? In the case of some gear, prices for the same equipment can vary by as much as 80% because of duty cycle alone.
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