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To prevent the failure of electronic systems as a result of overloaded circuit boards, global test and measurement specialist HBM has released a new strain gauge measuring amplifier that provides exact results for accurate stress load management.

The MX1615 is part of HBM’s QuantumX measuring system and covers the full range of tasks in strain gauge measurement due to its universal strain gauge inputs.

Its high channel density means 16 strain gauge channels can be connected to the device in various configurations including full, half or quarter-bridge.

HBM Australia Sales and Application Engineer Tinh Ngo said stress loading was measured by placing the strain gauge directly on the circuit board.

“Strain values are the only parameters that are reliably predictive in terms of stress loading of printed circuit boards and HBM’s strain gauges are designed to provide exact results,” he said.

“They’re vital tools to test printed circuit boards from those in automobiles, commercial vehicles or smartphones. Even slight cracks can cause the entire electronics system to fail.”

Vibration and thermal deformation can cause small cracks between the board and the component.

Site vehicles often drive over unexpected bumps and are exposed to extreme heat, both of which can place stress on the circuit boards inside and lead them to failure.

“The MX1615 is a tool which can be used by myriad industries from automotive to aviation, energy to engineering, manufacturing to mining, not to mention marine, defence, power and energy, gas, water and oil. Anything where
printed circuit boards are used,” Mr Ngo said.

“There is a risk of breaks and cracks at every connection between the printed circuit board and a component placed on it and that can be expensive, for example, when the electronics in an automobile no longer work due to a small crack.”

HBM Australia Regional Manager Michael Lanksch said the device was an “out of the box measurement solution for the mining industry”.

“We have a customer in the mining industry, the Australian subsidiary of a global company which manufactures rock crushing equipment, utilising the Quantum MX1615 linked to the HBM Catman software on one of its new machines,” he said.

“It’s using the solution to validate, measure and analyse structural strain on its equipment. “The unit was used in the field for this customer, but is equally at home in a laboratory environment.

"Feedback from our client has been very positive and they have been appreciative of our excellent local engineering support and also the locally-conducted HBM strain gauge training course.”

All 16 channels of the device are equipped with 24-bit AD converters and a data rate of 19.2 kilohertz.

Each channel’s voltage use can be selected as a carrier frequency or DC voltage.

“The carrier frequency method, electrical isolation of channels and cyclic auto-adjustment algorithms make the measuring amplifier very insensitive to electromagnetic interference associated with inverters, high current flow or electrical machines, for example,” Mr Ngo said.

The MX1615 can be combined with other models from the Quantum X series such as analog outputs, digital inputs and outputs, CAN bus or EtherCat connection.

It can also be used in conjunction with Ethernet TCP/IP to transfer data to a computer.