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Saturday 27 June 2020

NanoVNA V2

(my own V1 next to a V2)

First a tiny bit of history. The original nanoVNA that originated with a japanese engineer has seen a lot of interest, eddy555's original NanoVNA design has already been released for several years prior to the current NanoVNA popularity boom, but during those years eddy555 was only selling the product in small quantities as a DIY kitset.
The current low cost NanoVNA's available on the market now are mostly the "hugen" version known as the NanoVNA-H. Hugen is a ham who innovated on eddy555's original open source design, adding features like battery management, improved PCB layout, PC software and extending the frequency range from 300 MHz to 900 MHz. Then a group HCXQS put together and redesigned the low cost VNA and called it V2.

From the product pages:
"S-A-A-2 NanoVNA V2
3GHz vector network analyzer, designed in collaboration with OwOComm. Under the LGPL license agreement, it is completely manufactured according to the v2_2 files issued by OwOComm at Development Department, in line with the original technical specifications designed by OwOComm.
The S-A-A-2/NanoVNA_V2 uses a similar user interface to the NanoVNA, but with a different technical architecture, the S-A-A-2/NanoVNA_V2 does not load the initial calibration data at startup, and does not automatically interpolate the calibration data after the user changes the frequency, and must recalibrate or call back the calibration data after each startup and frequency change. Please read the user manual carefully before use to avoid damaging the device.
User guide:

  • Frequency range: 50kHz - 3GHz
  • System dynamic range (calibrated): 70dB (up to 1.5GHz), 60dB (up to 3GHz)
  • S11 noise floor (calibrated): -50dB (up to 1.5GHz), -40dB (up to 3GHz)
  • Sweep rate: 100 points/s
  • Display: 2.8'', 320 x 240
  • USB interface: Micro USB
  • Power: USB, 300mA
  • Battery: not included. Includes charging circuitry. User can install a 1000mAh - 2000mAh lithium-ion battery with maximum dimensions 6 x 40 x 60 mm.
  • Battery connector: JST-XH 2.54mm
  • Maximum sweep points (on device): 201
  • Maximum sweep points (USB): 1024
  • Port 2 return loss (1.5GHz): 20dB typ
  • Port 2 return loss (3GHz): 13dB min
  • VNA-QT software supported platforms: Linux, Windows (7+), Mac OS planned
I would suggest that none of the original, later versions or even the V2 are what many might refer to as 'lab grade' equipment but they do provide a tool that will measure RF filters, tune antennas, measure coax cable loss, and find cable faults.

I have had a few of the original NanoVNA and now I have both an original of obtained from Tindie or
of the V2 and 'clone' from an alternate source (AliExpress) , all being in China, this blog post aims to show the similarity, or otherwise, of these two and what sort of measurements are possible.

I should point out that the design and all the supporting technical information on these is open source. So it is possible to clone them. That means that the original funds the designers the clones do not (not at this time anyway). The impact is that whilst the original might be properly supported the clones may not.

There have been other open source designs 'ripped off' in this manner and it is the responsibility of the purchaser to ensure that they are not unwityingly supporting piracy of this type.

My review of the devices will follow here.

Images of them as they arrived:
The original:

Side by side the clone (from AliExpress):

The clone had a small laser cut acrylic case (these photos are with the protective layer still in place), the pieces are clear.

I will test and compare mine briefly with current devices and the like. A review of this site might be useful.

I have that RF  board mentioned with unmodified U.FL connectors.