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What are the battery challenges in test and instrumentation equipment?

04 January 2021

Measurement is a fundamental requirement of scientific and engineering disciplines. Without precise measurements as a basis, all future work is doomed to inaccuracy or ineffectuality.

As such, it’s vital that test and instrumentation equipment can be relied on to provide consistent, accurate measurements. Here, Rob Brown, Marketing Executive at Accutronics, explains the role batteries play in achieving reliable instrumentation and the challenges design engineers should consider.

A few weeks after the $4.7 billion launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990, an error became apparent to the NASA team: the images returned by the telescope were not as sharp as had been intended. This was caused by a problem with the telescope’s optic system, because the outer perimeter of the primary mirror was 2,200 nanometres too flat. 

An investigation into how this occurred pointed to a reflective null corrector, which is a device that is used to test and properly shape non-spherical mirrors. This device had been assembled specifically for the telescope’s construction but had been done so incorrectly, with a lens 1.3mm out of position.

The slight difference had a significant impact on the usefulness of the telescope, until it was balanced out three years later. This led to a series of expensive launches to fit and replace instrumentation over the subsequent years.

Although most instrumentation applications tend to be closer to home, the Hubble Space Telescope highlights how even slight deviations in measurement can have significant consequences. 

Read the full article in the January issue of DPA


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