A Guide to Prevent Damage of RF Power Sensors

by Ladybug

RF power sensors are designed to accurately measurer RF power. They feature rugged construction and are designed for long-term performance. Does that mean they can’t be damaged? No, they can be damaged, and users end up spending time and money on repairs. The most common cause of damage is applying excess power to the sensor. This post explains some good practices that will help users improve the performance and lifespan of RF power sensors. The tips mentioned here are based on the assessment conducted by the experts at LadyBug during the repair.

How to Improve the Performance and Lifespan of RF Power Sensors?

Proper handling of a power sensor is key to improve its performance and avoid damage. Here are a few recommendations:

    • Avoid Applying Excessive Power to the Sensor: The maximum measurable range for power sensors may vary. Generally, it lies in the range of -60 dBm to 40 dBm. The safety margin of power sensors is always set higher than the upper measurement range. Applying too much power can damage detector circuitry of the sensor. This is the most common cause of a damaged sensor.
    • Avoid Applying Excess DC voltage: LadyBug sensors feature a built-in DC blocking circuit and a maximum dc voltage specation. Exceeding the DC voltage can damage detector components as well as the blocking circuit.
    • Ensure the Equipment is Properly Grounded: All connected instruments must be properly grounded. Grounding helps prevent an electrostatic charge buildup, which can be harmful to the instrument and the user. Avoid using a power cable, extension cable, or an autotransformer without ground protection.
    • Check the Humidity and Temperature of the Sensor: A power sensor is a sensitive instrument and must be stored in a dry and clean environment. Its performance may be impaired due to dust, humidity, and other factors. LadyBug sensors can withstand a wide temperature range, and be stored in temperatures between –40°C and 75°C. The humidity must be less than 95% RH.
    • Use RF Connectors and Adapters Properly: Avoid using a damaged adapter and RF connectors. In most cases, RF connectors get damaged due to bumping, bending, or flexing of DUT connected to the sensor input. This places strain on the input connector and the hardware. Additionally, support the connected items properly. They must not be left hanging from the input.
    • Conduct a Visual Inspection before Using: The connectors are designed with precise tolerances. Any minor damage, defects or dirt settlement can affect its performance. Sometimes, you may notice deep scratches, dents, or worn plating. So, look for wear and tear, and clean the dirt before using.
    • Read the Specifications Carefully: Warning labels are affixed on the sensor. Also, the specifications guide is provided with each sensor. Read warning labels and the specification guide carefully to get the information on instrument settings, stabilization time, and alignment requirements.
    • Take Precautions for Electrostatic Discharge: Electrostatic discharge can destroy electronic components. Highly sensitive power sensors are not equipped with electrostatic discharge protection (ESD) devices. Take care to keep these sensors away from the sources of ESD and store them with protective end caps. In addition to this, the following precautions may also help:
      • Do not touch mating surfaces with bare hands because any buildup on the surface can be damaging.
      • Do not store connectors with their contact ends touching a hard surface, as it can be damaging.

LadyBug Technologies possess over 50 years of experience in RF power sensor development and manufacturing. LadyBug sensors maximize the value of your RF power investments.