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Electronics

Multiplexer S/N 4

Slight design changes to the RF Multiplexer design.

Front panel buttons B1 and B2 now extend out of the front-panel and are easily accessible. Pressing the buttons advances the state of the MUX1 and MUX2 boards.

Transmission bandwidth. This MUX has 50-Ohm impedance relays, and the 3dB bandwidth is around 1.0-1.2 GHz.
Inside of MUX-box. Two 1:8 boards with BNC connectors side-by-side. Arduino MKRZERO and Ethernet Shield on the right. A simple carrier board distributes SPI-signals from the Arduino to the MUX-boards and provides front-panel pushbuttons and LEDs. Top center is a 230VAC to 5VDC powersupply. Top left 230VAC input.

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Electronics

RF-multiplexer, 3rd prototype

This is the third prototype for the 1:8 RF-multiplexer (https://www.ohwr.org/projects/rf-mux-8ch). The board is now simplified with only one 10-pin ribbon-cable attaching it to the Arduino MKR Zero + Ethernet shield. Traco PSU for 5V supply.

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Electronics

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.

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Electronics

Mux-in-a-box

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).

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Electronics

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.

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Electronics

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!)