PV Measurements, Inc Solar Cell I-V Curve Testing System Model IV5B with Class AAA Solar Simulator. It has been calibrated to produce the light intensity of one sun. It uses a Xenon 450 W Arc Lamp. It's test fixture platform when attached to a circulation bath can be heat and cooled.

Equipment Specifications[edit | edit source]

  • Keithley 2400 SourceMeter
  • Keithley 2000 Digital Multimeter
  • Vacuum test fixture: 50mm x 50mm
  • Voltage Range: +/- 2V and +/-20V
  • Voltage Accuracy: Better than +/-0.2%
  • Current Ranges: 0.1,1,10,100mA and 1 A
  • Current Accuracy: +/-0.3%
  • Power Requirements: 115VAC, 60 Hz, 15 A


Testing Protocol[edit | edit source]

  1. First turn the system on by flicking the red switch in the top right corner of the A-Neutronics. This switch controls the power to most of the system and therefore do not turn this switch off until the computer has shutdown and the cooling fans for the Xenon 450W light source has turned off.
  2. Turn on the Keithley 2400 Sourcemeter and 2000 Multimeter. The Sourcemeter is used to send a voltage or current through the test sample / reference cell as well as measure a current / voltage. The Multimeter is used to measure the Irradiance from the small cell integrated into the test platform.
  3. The Multimeter leads labeled 2000 Multimeter on the cable should have the red lead in the red input socket and the black lead in the black input socket. Make sure that the input button is set such that the inputs come from the front.
  4. There are two lead cables for the Sourcemeter, one called meter and the other Test Fixture. In both cases the wire plug set up should be the following for 4-wire sensing. Starting from the top left corner and going clockwise; 1) white, 2) Red, 3) Green and 4) Black.
    1. For Test Fixture the wires correspond to the following: White is the purple wire and therefore the brass coloured spring loaded lead. Red is the red alligator clip which should be connected to the metal loop attached to the base of the sample platform. This lead allows a voltage / current to be applied to the whole sample. The top left black alligator clip corresponds to the green lead. The bottom left black alligator clip corresponds to the black lead. These two black leads attach to the probes which should make contact with the top surface of the sample.
      NOTE: The leads are in pairs white and red, black and green and as long as these pairing in maintained you can switch the set-up.
      NOTE: The two probe ends need to be as close together as possible without touching and they need to be on a contact on the cell. Having the probes just on the cell will not produce quality results and if the cells are not close together, one may produce erratic results.
    2. For Meter cable, the other end of the cable has the same colour leads and therefore as long as one has both the white and red as positive leads and the green and black as negative leads the system will work or vice versa.
  5. To test to make sure the leads have been properly attached to the sample / reference cell is working correctly, it is recommended to test the response of the cell.
    1. First turn on the Keithley 2400 Sourcemeter.
    2. Press the Source 'V', this will allow one to apply a voltage to the cell or if one presses Source 'I', it will allow one to apply a current. It doesn't matter which one chooses but voltage will be easier to determine the range of voltage which is necessary for the program.
    3. Press Edit twice to get to the Cmpl (the compliance which sets the highest read value). The max compliance value for current is 1.05 A and 21 V for voltage.
      1. Press the range to increase/decrease the maximum compliance value. One can move along the digits with the edit horizontal arrows and to increase/decrease the digits value press the edit vertical arrows.
    4. Once this has been completed, press the auto button which can be found between the range arrows. This allows the readings to automatically change.
    5. To observe the values, one must turn on the Output button; it will light up if it is on.
    6. One should see a voltage / current changing slightly in the lower digits at this point.
    7. Next is to apply a current / voltage.
      1. Press Edit button and the Iscr or Vscr should start blinking. Use the edit horizontal arrows to move to the desired digit and then press the edit vertical arrows to increase/decrease the applied current/voltage.
      2. At a certain value the recorded value should exceed the compliance, this would be the maximum value, the other end of the range would be were the recorded value does not change any further.
  6. Double click on I-V Icon on the desktop. This will open the PV Measurement's program to run the system. For the program to work both Keithley devices need to be on. If one gets an Error 2 message stating the possible problem is not enough memory, one of the possible solutions is that not both of the Keithleys are connected / turned on. This error will occur when going to the measure tab.
    1. The first step is to load a Setup file.
      1. Click the “Get Setup from File”
      2. Click the little horizontal arrow under Edit
      3. chose Setup
      4. Change the parameters to desired (see manual for descriptions)
    2. Next go to the Measure tab
      1. Press Measure to run setup
      2. Save results.

Calibration Protocol[edit | edit source]

  1. Attach the Reference Cell to the SourceMeter with the same configuration as point 4 above.
  2. Place the Reference Cell on the Test Fixture as flat as possible to reduce undesirable reflection
  3. Double click on I-V Icon on the desktop. This will open the PV Measurement's program to run the system. For the program to work both Keithley devices need to be on. If one gets an Error 2 message stating the possible problem is not enough memory, one of the possible solutions is that not both of the Keithleys are connected / turned on. This error will occur when going to the measure tab.
    1. The first step is to load a Cal file.
    2. Click the “Get Setup from File”
    3. Click the little horizontal arrow under Edit
    4. chose Cal
    5. Change the parameters to desired (see manual for descriptions)
      1. Reference Cell for Calibration Method
      2. Enter the reference cell's calibration value in the "Ref Cell Cal Value (mA)" field
      3. Select "To Average (RC Cal)" for Irradiance Correction
  4. Next go to the Measure tab
    1. Click Measure
    2. Compare Isc value with reference value
      1. If value are within 2% of each other, See B else See A

A - Change Bulb Intensitity

See page 16 of Arc Lamp Power Supply Model 69920 User Manual

B - Setting Calibration Value

  1. Click the Calibration Irradiance Tab
  2. Click Apply to set the Calibration Settings

Maintainance Protocol[edit | edit source]

DO NOT change the bulb unless you are trained in doing so. The Xenon bulb can explode if handled incorrectly. Wear Gloves and head shield.

Must use non-residue / compressed air optics cleaner

More will be posted when Maintaince has to be done / more work on the solar simulator