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Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Sat-Kabel SPM22


I just received my latest meter: a SPM22 made by  Sat-Kabel. I got it at a fair price on eBay and it is working fine.

First thing I did, as usual, was to properly clean it, to make it look brand new - well, sort off, at least.

I thought you might find the inside interesting, so here are a few pictures.

First I disassembled the SPM22. This is easy to do, just unscrew 4 screws on the back and remove the front cover. Remember to first remove the rechargeable NiMH battery pack (5x AAA 1.2V cells).

Then you need to remove the metallic cover inside and remove the LCD screen. This gives access to further 4 screws. You can now remove the metallic case containing the PCB. It looks kind of empty...

..because all the logic is on the other side. To unveil it, remove the metallic cover. Interestingly this meter does not use regular tuners as most meters use. Instead Sat-Kabel seem to have developed their own tuning circuit, which by the way is driven by an ATMega32.

 Here is a close-up of the LCD display:

On the backside you can see the reference numbers (in case you need to buy a replacement screen):

My meter came with firmware 42.03 installed (I guess it is quite a new version, though the manufacture day on the PCB refers to 2007). On the PCB there is a prominent JTAG connector, but sadly I have never seen firmware files for the SPM22 available for download.

The meter itself is OK. First impression is not so good, as the meter is really basic. But after using it for a while, it is actually quite clever, as its small size makes it an omnipresent tool and for most quick jobs its functionality is really enough: to tune i.e. a DVB-T antenna it is easier to carry around a meter the size of a scientific calculator than a meter the size and weight of two bricks...

I think it is a good choice for technicians having to do repetitive installation tasks, without major fault fixing jobs.


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