Can the Advanced Cable Tester Fully Test Prototype Cables?

Question from the Customer:

I am working on a new product that will be supplying a custom USB 3.1 Standard-A Male to USB Micro-B Male cable.  I am looking to test DC resistance of the power lines, continuity, and signal integrity and data transmission quality. I’m looking at your products and I have some questions.

  • Would the Advanced Cable Tester - Level 1 or Level 2 application test this cable or do you recommend the Advanced Cable Tester v2 model instead?
  • Is it possible to instrument the signal integrity measurements and eye diagrams in any version of the Advanced Cable Tester?
  • What do the output results of the test system look like?
  • Can the cable testers be used to qualify a cable as USB 3.1 compliant?

Response from Technical Support:

Thanks for your questions! Based on your requirements, both models of the Advanced Cable Tester would fulfill your test requirements. The following sections provide information about our cable testers and cable compliance.

Overview about Advanced Cable Testers

Both models of the Advanced Cable Tester are designed to test and verify that manufactured cables have been manufactured correctly, without any faults. You could also use a cable tester as a part of a pre-check before submitting the new designs for compliance testing and approval. More information about cable compliance is provided in this article.

Using the Advanced Cable Tester

For information about using the Advanced Cable Tester, we have some articles to help get you started:

Supported Cable Types

There are some differences between the Advanced Cable Tester applications and the Advanced Cable Tester v2.  One of the most obvious differences is in the cable types supported.  Below is a list of the cable types supported by each model.

Advanced Cable Tester – Level 1-2 Applications:

Advanced Cable Tester v2:

Test Coverage of Advanced Cable Testers

In addition to a wider range of supported cable types, the Advanced Cable Tester v2 provides more thorough measurement of Ra/Rp/Rd resistors.  It also features more enhanced testing for Apple MFi Lightning cables.  While, the applications can test for DCR on ground and power wires and pins, the Advanced Cable Tester v2 adds DCR measurements for shield and SBU with a dynamic graphical representation of wire designation and any failures.

From a signal integrity test perspective, the Advanced Cable Tester v2 provides an enhanced test process.  The user can provide the insertion loss of a cable that can be converted to a mask that is overlaid on the eye diagram to indicate pass/fail.

Compliance Testing

Compliance testing is handled by the USB-IF organization. They undertake testing against specifications for design approval, including cables. For information about their compliance process, take a look the USB-IF Compliance Program.

The Advanced Cable Tester was not designed as a compliance tool.  It was designed to ensure that every cable produced according a compliant and certified design, actually met the standards.  Variation happens in manufacturing and the Advanced Cable Tester is a line of defense against damaging variation.

For engineers working in a lab, the Advanced Cable Tester represents a great option to qualify cables in under 20 seconds, avoiding the need for costly and time-consuming testing.

Additional resources that you may find helpful include the following:

If you have more questions or want additional information about Total Phase tools, you can email us your questions.  You can also request a demo that is specific to your application.