Tagpda

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.

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.

Pulse distribution amplifier output skew

Here is the measured output delay skew from four of my "PDA 2017.01" designs, based on LT1711 comparator driving a 74AC14 schmidt trigger which in turn drives eight 74AC04 output-stages.

Also included is my earlier measurement of an Ettus OctoClock.

Although the PCB was designed with equal-length traces for the output stages it appears that channels 3-4 and 5-6 are consistently late, and some shortening of the traces would improve things. I tried this on one PCB (blue data points) with moderate success.

Measurement setup: 1PPS source to 50-ohm splitter. One output of the splitter drives CH1(start) of a time interval counter (HPAK 53230A), the other output drives the input of the pulse distribution amplifier. Outputs wired to CH2(stop) of the counter and measured for 100 s or more (delay is average of 100 pulses). Counter inputs DC-coupled, 50 Ohms, trigger level 1.0 V.

Distribution Amplifier

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

Pulse Distribution Amplifier 2017.01

A new pulse distribution amplifier for 1PPS distribution.

The input is fed to a LT1711 comparator triggering at 1.0 V (set by reference ADR423). This edge is buffered by 74AC14 before 1:8 fan-out to output-stages with three 74AC04 inverters in parallel driving the outputs.

Preliminary measurements show around 200ps channel-to-channel propagation skew - to be improved on by further trace-length matching or tuning. More measurements to follow.

Distribution Amplifier 2017.01

A new distribution amplifier design featuring a 1PPS pulse distribution amplifier (PDA) and a 5/10 MHz frequency distribution amplifier (FDA).

1U 150mm deep rack-enclosure from Schaeffer. Prototype PCBs without soldermask or silkscreen from Prinel. Both the FDA and PDA boards have 1:8 fan-out with 9 BNC (optionally SMA) connectors spaced 16mm apart. The boards fit comfortably side-by side on a 19" rack panel. Some funky BNC-cables with unusually large connectors may not fit side-by-side 16mm apart - a price to pay for the compact design. The plan is to use an +/-12 AC/DC brick power-supply (not shown) which fits in the back of the enclosure.

Detailed posts on the PDA and FDA boards to follow.

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