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tinySA Basic / Ultra First Use

By following the instructions on this page you will set up your tinySA or tinySA Ultra for first time use. Essentially we will be:

  1. Unpacking the tinySA from its shipping box
  2. Charging the tinySA
  3. Checking for a counterfeit/cloned model
  4. Updating the unit’s firmware (optional).
  5. Running the internal self-test
  6. Calibrating the tinySA
  7. Heeding Warnings
  8. (Ultra model only): Setting time/date, setting Ultra mode

After completing these steps you can begin using your tinySA. Visit the Videos page for the many explaining how to use the tinySA and the Getting support page to get more help

1. Unpack

The tinySA and the tinySA Ultra come in a sturdy box for protection during transport. The tinySA Ultra is an advanced model of the tinySA and the instructions below apply to it as well as the original tinySA model (unless specified otherwise below).

Inside the box you find the tinySA with some accessories

  • two SMA cables and a barrel connector
  • an antenna with an SMA connector
  • a USB-C cable

2. Charge the Internal tinySA Battery

After unpacking the tinySA insert the USB cable into the tinySA USB port and connect the cable to an active (5v DC) USB charger or computer USB port to charge the tinySA. One hour charging should be sufficient for first usage. A red LED will light while the tinySA is charging, and will go out when the charging is complete. After charging the USB cable can remain connected or can be disconnected.

3. Check tinySA Authenticity

Both the tinySA and the Ultra model are popular devices. Unfortunately, in some parts of the world this makes the units attractive to counterfeit as well. Unless you have followed the guidance at the Where to buy page you may be holding a fake. Loading the latest updated firmware from a reliable source is the best way to check if the unit you bought is genuine.

4. Update Firmware

The tinySA arrives with the firmware current as of the manufacturing date already installed. This is more than sufficient to begin using the tinySA, so you can skip this step if you like, but most owners want to Update the firmware to the latest version as it contains the latest bug fixes and functional upgrades. Also, don’t worry – you cannot “brick” the tinySA/Ultra, so if you run into a problem when updating firmware, simply restart the process after making sure you’ve followed the instructions below closely.

5. Run the Self-test

Once you have successfully applied your desired firmware, the tinySA has an internal self-test you can run to check internal diagnostics. The self-test also helps to detect a counterfeit unit, which may fail some of the tests (but only after you have updated the firmware to authentic firmware as described above).

  1. Use one of the supplied SMA cables to connect the low port to the high port.
  2. Power the tinySA using the tiny power switch at the top.
  3. Touch the screen to activate the menu system and select CONFIG and then SELF TEST. If navigation goes wrong use the BACK button or switch the tinySA Off and On to get back into a known state. If all goes well the self test will pass all tests and you can touch the screen once more to conclude.
  4. Leave the high and low port connected for the next step

Kurt Poulsen wrote a document on the tinySA that can be found through describing the above steps in more detail. They are also explained in the video on first use.

For Ultra owners, there is a different Kurt Poulsen video that provides an overview of getting started with the Ultra model.

6. Calibrate

  1. When the Self-Test passes successfully (all tests green), the next step is to calibrate the Low Input power. This has to be done only once for one frequency and it does not have to be repeated before every measurement as the level calibration is very stable and frequency independent. From the CONFIG menu execute LEVEL CAL. The red level indicators at the top and bottom should turn white to indicate the calibration has succeeded. (Remember to leave the two ports connected via SMA cable for this calibration.)

Optional step:

  1. Doing the level calibration for the high input mode is a bit more complex but clearly explained in this video. This would only be necessary if you are measuring signals of frequency higher than 350 Mhz with the tinySA. With the Ultra model, you may want to enable the Ultra mode

7. Warnings

  1. The input signal must be below +10dBm otherwise the tinySA can be damaged. Use an external attenuator when trying to measure signals with higher power levels.
  2. Both inputs can tolerate maximum 10 Volt DC. Higher voltages may damage the inputs. Use an external DC block when measuring signals with higher DC components.
  3. Using the supplied antenna makes the tinySA very susceptible to ESD damage or overloading. Only use the antenna with great caution. Never put the antenna close to a transmitting antenna. Never touch anything with the antenna
  4. You can destroy the low input attenuator when you enable a high power high output signal and the high and low ports are still connected after doing a selftest or level calibration. Always disconnect high and low inputs before enabling the high output

Now the tinySA is ready to do measurements.

Connect some input signal to the low input and go back to the INPUT menu, you can select which input to use from the MODE menu, select either LOW INPUT or HIGH INPUT.

Use the FREQ menu to set the frequency range displayed and the LEVEL menu to set the displayed levels.

You can always go back to a defined state by clicking the PRESET button in the input menu and then LOAD STARTUP

8. Ultra Model only The tinySA Ultra has menu options for setting the Date, the Time, and Ultra mode in the CONFIG menu. The Ultra mode allows you to analyze higher frequency signals. In the vast majority of cases all users will want to enable the Ultra mode

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Page last modified on March 03, 2023, at 11:14 AM