Multiplexer, 2nd boxed version

The second multiplexer prototyped, with a slightly larger enclosure placing the Arduino Due + Ethernet Shield directly in the front panel. This requires desoldering the DC-connector on the Arduino Due.

Bandwidth, insertion loss, and pulse-shape distortion measurements should be done next.


Update: Insertion-loss measurement with a spectrum analyzer:

RF-multiplexer v2 board in enclosure, controlled by Arduino Due with Ethernet Shield. SATA-cable for 4 SPI-lines (SI, SO, SCLK, CS).

When issuing commands to change state as fast as possible this combination seems to do a state-change in about 45 milliseconds - this is not verified on the RF-side (didn't measure that there is actual RF contact made/broken in those 45 ms).

RF Multiplexer - version 2

Version two of the RF Multiplexer adds more relays to the 8 pcs HF3 I was using in the first attempt. The added relays keep the RF-path from the selected input to the COM-output as clean as possible with no unterminated branches or stubs. The cost is anothe 7 relays with associated darlington-drivers and control-logic.

Next test is to see if there is any measurable change to the rise-time of a fast pulse-edge, e.g. from a distribution amplifier.

500 MHz SFP-board (v4)

This is the fourth version of an interface board to Small Form Factor Pluggable optical transcievers (SFPs) with a bandwidth of >500 MHz. These are useful for various time/frequency experiments, with a measured frequency stability of <1e-13 @ 1s (in 0.5 or 5 Hz bandwidth) - perhaps slightly depending on what SFP is used. The SFP allows sending the signal along a single-mode fiber for 1-100 km easily.

ADT2-1T converts to and from differential signals while LMH6702 op-amps provide 3 dB gain. There are parallel outputs on the RX pins. The current-draw on +3V3 by the SFP is quite high - usually requiring heat-sinking on the voltage-regulator

KiCad files available on request.

RF Multiplexer - first try

And now an entry in the "Plan to throw one away" section.

RF Multiplexer, 8 inputs, 1 output, BNC-connectors, TE HF3 relays specified to 3 GHz, an ULN2803A to pull the relay-coil, and an SPI I/O expander to drive the ULN - should be easy - right?

Well no, PCB trace-geometry does strange things beyond VHF. I clearly don't grok UHF very well.

Onward towards version 2! (any thoughts and advice on simulation or trace-geometry optimizers appreciated!)

Aivon LTD makes FDA/PDA ohwr-design

My open-hardware design for a 1:8 pulse and frequency distribution amplifier is now available from Aivon LTD.

ISOPDA - 1:4 Isolated Pulse Distribution Amplifier

For isolated 1PPS distribution I made this distribution board.

The input is a TLP117 (or similar) optoisolator driving a LT1711 comparator with a 1.0 V trigger level. An output LED-blink is provided by LTC6993. Outputs are driven by IDT5PB1108 buffers.

In jitter measurements with a HPAK 53230A counter the jitter between two 1PPS pulses (from masers) seems to degrade slightly through this amplifier: from RMS 16-19 ps directly on the maser-outputs to between 21 and 26 ps RMS from the outputs of the ISOPDA. Maybe a faster optoisolator would be better?

KiCad sources available on request.


A mere ~3months 🙂 after moving to a new place I setup the lab-table again.

  • Ikea table 120cm wide and 80cm deep.
  • Top shelf on 40cm legs, 40cm deep.
  • HPAK E3640A powersupplies
  • 2-ch 62MXs-B 600MHz scope
  • SDG2042X siggen
  • HPAK 34401A and Fluke 177 DMMs
  • Olympus SZ51 microscope with LED ringlight
  • Hakko FA-400 and FX-888D for soldering
  • SR620 counter

Delay-tuning with trimmer-caps

Despite length-matching traces between a distributor-stage and the individual output-stages on my pulse distribution amplifier there remains a 2-300 ps peak-to-peak output skew between the channels.

Here's a test where a 50 pF or 10 pF trimmer-cap is added just before the input of the output-stage. I found that tuning the cap results in a variable delay of 60-80 ps/pF, so if initially the channels are within 300 ps of each other the 500 ps tuning-range of the 10 pF trimmer-cap is sufficient.

As a test I first tuned all channels to within 20 ps peak-to-peak, then verified this the following day and got 52 ps peak-to-peak. BNC-connectors might not be the greatest for picosecond level repeatability.

Distribution Amplifier

Assembled another distribution amplifier today. S/N 004. Measurements to follow at some point.

© 2018

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑