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LCR-Reader: The Latest in the Smart Tweezers Family of LCR- and ESR-meters
The "Budget" Alternative to Smart Tweezers LCR-meters
Updated Smart Tweezers; same great functionality with a lower price, lighter weight and sleeker look
LCR-Reader from Siborg Systems Inc. is a lightweight, digital LCR-meter with sharp gold-plated tweezer probes that are able to grasp and hold Surface Mount Devices, either mounted or loose. When the LCR-Reader is in contact with a component, the device will automatically determine the type of component and the best test frequency before measuring for L, C, or R with a basic accuracy of 0.5%. All measurement values, including any secondary values (ESR) are instantly displayed on the OLED display along with the type of component and test frequency used.
Siborg has released a new product for LCR-Reader: the Shielded Two-Wire LCR-Reader Probe Connector. This extension kit allows to use LCR-Reader as a Probe Station. Besides it is fully compatible with many other tweezer-like meters including all models of Smart Tweezers. The shielded two-wire connection virtually eliminates additional offsets due to the parasitics of the wires. The connector also makes possible to measure larger components that did not fit between the tweezers before. Read more about LCR-Reader Probe Connector here
Siborg is offering a new device for multimeters: the SMD Multimeter Test Tweezer. This new device connects to a pre-existing multimeter and works as tweezer probes. Testing SMDs can be time consuming while working with long wire leads; SMD Multimeter Test Tweezers simplifies the process by using tweezers as probes. Read more about the SMD Multimeter Test Tweezers here
Siborg has released a new calibration fixture that allows for LCR-Reader and all models of Smart Tweezers LCR-meters to be calibrated. Most importantly, this calibration fixture will give the LCR-Reader an NIST Traceable Calibration Certificate. The new fixture uses a 4-wire connection to the devices, which produces less noise than the previously used 2-wire connections.The calibration fixture uses 14 known components that lay within the measurement ranges of LCR-Reader and Smart Tweezers. When a device is connected, a simple press of the button on the fixture signals a different component. The measurement values are displayed on the LCR-meters display, where the values measured can be compared to the known values of the components. Most importantly, the LCR-Reader can now be accompanied with an NIST traceable calibration certificate for companies that require their test equipment to be periodically calibrated.
The web-store has a whole new look! Siborg has recently redesigned the LCR-Reader Store with a new design akin to other e-commerce. The new store allows customers to browse all the products, and read the details before adding them to a cart. To celebrate, Siborg has begun offering 'Task Kits' for the LCR-Reader and Smart Tweezers ST-5S devices. Each kit includes an LCR-Reader or Smart Tweezers device and spare parts, such as tips, batteries and chargers. The kits offer a better price than buying each piece separately. Visit the the new LCR-Reader Store to see the new kits!
Siborg Systems Inc. now offers the new LED Test Tweezers. This device is designed as an LED and multi-functional tester with an easy-to-use design that includes a set of gold-plated phosphor bronze gold-plated tweezers. When testing LEDs, the device uses a 12VDC ouput with adjustable current ratings of 20mA, 10mA and 5mA. The LED Test Tweezers are also capable of testing fuses, shorts, circuitry, wire connections, etc. The device can also be used to test Surface Mount Technology when connected to an LCR-meter using the included conventional connector cable. Find out more here
New Gold-Plated Bent-Tip Design
A new bent-tip is available for both LCR-Reader and Smart Tweezers. The bent tips make testing more ergonomic by meeting the components mounted on PCBs at a more comfortable angle compared to the straight tips. The devices will still come equipped with straight tips, with the bent-tips as an optional add-on.
Taitronics: 41st Taipei International Electronics Show
Siborg Systems Inc. is taking LCR-Reader and Smart Tweezers LCR-meters to the Taitronics in Taipei. This will be the first time at the exhibition for Smart Tweezers, and a foreseeable great fit among the other products. Visit us at booth J0301!
Instant Evaluations With Just One Touch
The title says it all, Smart Tweezers will show you component value right when you touch it, no adjustments needed to the component type, test frequency, test signal, etc. Not only will it show the main impedance component L, C or R but also the parasitics, such as R for L, C and C for R.
Built for Simplicity
LCR-Reader is twice as light as Smart Tweezers ST-5 and also powered by Li-Ion rechargeable battery with a micro-USB charger connector. Basic accuracy of the new device is about 0.5% which is not as good as that of Smart Tweezers ST5 (0.2%) but about exceeds that of previous models of Smart Tweezers ST-1, ST-2 and ST-3. It also has gold-plated stainless steel twezer tips. There is just one button that turns the device on and allows to change the measurement mode by a single button push: A (automatic), L (inductance), C (capacitance), R (resistance), and ESR (equivalent series resistance). All measurements are done automatically, test signal amplitude is fixed at 0.5 Volts, test frequency is automatically adjusted according to the component type and value. Similarly to Smart Tweezers, LCR-Reader in addition to the the main impedance component L, C or R it will also show the parasitics, such as R for L, C and C for R.
One of the problems with Smart Tweezers LCR-meter has been the price point. Depending on the region and resellers, Smart Tweezers can be from $300 to $700. Criticism about the screen being crowded has also been sounded on the ST5 model. For companies and professionals using Smart Tweezers, there are few issues, but for the everyday hobbyist, the price point is far too high. Siborg had attempted creating a new device with a lower price (not featuring a 1 Volt test signal) but the price cut was only 20%, and would not affect the overall market.
Around a year ago, development of the LCR-Reader began, based on the availability of new microchips and ideas of how to simplify the circuit without losing much of the accuracy. The result evolved into the prototype pictured (Fig 1.), a physically smaller and lighter device and cheaper manufacturing cost (compared to the Smart Tweezers LCR-meter).
The new LCR-Reader is powered by a Li-Ion battery, rechargeable via micro-USB. The device features a lower weight, with about 0.5% basic accuracy.
Similarities to the Smart Tweezers models include the gold-plated tweezer tips that have attributed to Smart Tweezers identifiable design, a one-button navigation, and a Li-Ion battery that charges via micro-USB. The new device features a 0.5% basic accuracy, which is slightly lower than the ST5 model, but the same as the ST2 model. The button navigation provides a simple touch solution to switching modes of operation; A (Automatic component recognition), R (Resistance), L (Inductance), C (Capacitance), and ESR (Equivalent Series Resistance). All measurements are automatic, test signal amplitude is 0.5 Vrms, test frequency is automatically selected according to the component type and value.
The photo to the left shows an example of the device's screen while measuring. AM shows that the LCR-Reader is measuring in Automatic Mode, Rs is the parasitic series resistance of the non-ideal inductor, 10 kHz is the test frequency being used, L shows that the component under evaluation is an inductance and 104.8 uH shows the inductance value in micro-Henries, the battery icon shows its charge level.
Calibration Fixture and Accuracy Verification
Siborg sent 4 randomly selected LCR-Readers to Navair Technologies in Toronto, one of Canada's leading Calibration Facilities for NIST certifications. The results returned were higher than expected, view the results and certificates here. New 4-wire and 2-wire Calibration Fixtures have been created for all models of Smart Tweezers including older models and the LCR-Reader. The calibration fixture uses 14 known components within the Smart Tweezers and LCR-Reader's measurement ranges. When a device is connected, the calibration fixture signals a different component with each button press. The measurement values are immediately available on the Smart Tweezers or LCR-Reader's display. These values can then be compared to the known values of the components to confirm or reject accuracy.
LCR-Reader or Smart Tweezers ST-5S: Which Device is Best for You?
At first glance the ST-5S and the LCR-Reader are nearly identical, so how do you choose which device is right for you?
First, you need to decide what you want your device to do; both ST-5S and LCR-Reader will automatically identify the type of component and measure for L, C, R and ESR instantly. The
main differences between the devices is the functions they preform. The pen-sized device is just 1 oz. weight, making it perfect to stow in a bag or pocket. Both use a Li-Ion battery with micro-USB charging that last up to 80 hours continuous use. All measurements are instantly displayed on a bright OLED display that makes reading the screen easy even in less than suitable conditions.
The ST-5S is best for professionals and companies alike that require more features for better customizing specific measurements, as well as coming with an NIST traceable calibration certificate. The ST-5S allows user to change the test signal (with 0.5 and 1.0 Vrms), as well as variable tolerances of 1%, 5%, 10%, and 20%. This device also does continuity and diode testing, and showed active and reactive impedance components on the display. As one of the features that saves times for users, a semi-automatic offset subtraction feature automatically removes parasitics after set-up. The ST-5S is controlled by a joystick-like navigation; pushing the button directionally will change the test mode, test signal, etc., while pressing the joystick will open the menu to allow more customized measurements and features like changing the screen orientation.
The LCR-Reader is a more budget-friendly model along the same lines as the Smart Tweezers models. While the look and feel of the LCR-Reader is the same as the ST-5S; the LCR-Reader is a more stripped down version, with the basic functions to get the job done. This model does not come with a calibration certificate, or have features such as component sorting, diode, continuity or open circuit testing, nor variable test signals, utilizing only a 0.5 Vrms test signal. The LCR-Reader has a one-button navigation that changes the test mode with each press. The main selling feature of the LCR-Reader is the price, retailing for less than $200 nearly half the price of the ST-5S.
The Colibri is the model right between Smart Tweezers and the LCR-Reader. Built from the LCR-Reader, the Colibri offers a 0.5% basic accuracy, lower price, and easy-to-use design but allows users the ability to select the test frequency for more specific measurements. Just like LCR-Reader, Colibri is able to automatically determine the type of component and the best test mode and parameters for the component under test. The main difference between the Colibri and LCR-Reader is the variable test frequencies on the Colibri. When the button on the device is pressed, Colibri will change the measurement mode (AM, L, C, R, ESR) with frequencies of 10 kHz, 1 kHz, or 100Hz available for selection. To reset the device to the default fully-automatic mode, simply hold the button down until the display flashes. The Colibri is available for around $200, making it affordable for non-professionals. This model does not come with the NIST traceable Calibration Certificate.
The Smart Tweezers Blog features all the latest news about Smart Tweezers LCR-meter and the LCR-Reader.
A comparison of LCR-Reader and previous models of Smart Tweezers is given in a Comparison Table:
LCR-Reader vs previous Smart Tweezers models
Automatic measurement of L-C-R and ESR
Basic Accuracy of 0.5%
Automatic best range
Li-Ion rechargeable battery, Optional USB Charger
28 gramm (1 oz) weight
Siborg Systems Inc.
24 Combermere Crescent
Waterloo, ON N2L 5B1 Canada