PC4 300/750 - Gamry Instruments

PC4 300/750 - Gamry Instruments
PC4 Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA
Operator's Manual
includes both the
PC4/300 Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA
and
PC4/750 Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA
Copyright 1997-99, Gamry Instruments, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA.
Revision 3.1
June 2, 1999
i
Limited Warranty
Gamry Instruments, Inc., warrants to the original user of this product that it shall be free of defects resulting
from faulty manufacture of the product or its components for a period of one year from the date of shipment.
Gamry Instruments, Inc., makes no warranties regarding either the satisfactory performance of the PC4 or the
fitness of the instrument for any particular purpose. The remedy for breach of this Limited Warranty shall be
limited solely to repair or replacement, as determined by Gamry Instruments, Inc., and shall not include other
damages.
Gamry Instruments, Inc., reserves the right to make revisions to the PC4 at any time without incurring any
obligation to install same on instruments previously purchased. All instrument specifications are subject to
change without notice.
There are no warranties which extend beyond the description herein. This warranty is in lieu of, and
excludes any and all other warranties or representations, expressed, implied or statutory, including
merchantability and fitness, as well as any and all other obligations or liabilities of Gamry Instruments,
Inc., including but not limited to, special or consequential damages.
This limited warranty gives you specific legal rights and you may have others which vary from state to state.
Some states do not allow for the exclusion of incidental or consequential damages.
No person, firm, or corporation is authorized to assume for Gamry Instruments, Inc., any additional obligation
or liability not expressly provided herein except in writing duly executed by an officer of Gamry Instruments,
Inc.
ii
Disclaimers
Gamry Instruments, Inc., cannot guarantee that the PC4 Potentiostat will work with all computer systems,
operating systems, or third party expansion cards and peripherals.
The information in this manual has been carefully checked and is believed to be accurate as of the time of
printing. However, Gamry Instruments, Inc., assumes no responsibility for errors that might appear.
Copyrights and Trademarks
PC4 Potentiostat Operator's Manual Copyright 1997-99 Gamry Instruments, Inc. All rights reserved. Printed
in the USA.
Gamry Framework Copyright 1989-99 Gamry Instruments, Inc.
PC4, Gamry Framework, DC105, EIS300, and Gamry are trademarks of Gamry Instruments, Inc.
No part of this document may be copied or reproduced in any form without the prior written consent of
Gamry Instruments, Inc.
iii
If You have Problems
Contact us at your earliest convenience. We can be contacted via:
Telephone
(215) 682-9330 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM US Eastern Standard Time
Fax
(215) 682-9331
Email
[email protected]
Mail
Gamry Instruments, Inc.
734 Louis Drive
Warminster, PA 18974
USA
If you write to us about a problem, provide as much information as possible.
If you are having problems with installation or use of your PC4 Potentiostat, it would be helpful if you called
from a phone near to your computer, where you can type and read the screen while talking to us.
We are happy to provide a reasonable level of free support for registered users of our products. Reasonable
support includes telephone assistance covering the normal installation and use of the PC4 in standard
computer hardware.
We provide a one year warranty covering both parts and labor. A service contract that extends the warranty is
available at an additional charge.
Enhancements to the PC4 that require significant engineering time on our part may be available on a contract
basis. Contact us with your requirements.
iv
Table of Contents
Limited Warranty.................................................................................................................... ii
Disclaimers ............................................................................................................................. iii
Copyrights and Trademarks..................................................................................................... iii
If You have Problems .............................................................................................................. iv
Chapter 1 -- Introduction ........................................................................................................ 1-1
About This Manual..................................................................................................... 1-1
CE Compliance Required for Sale in Europe............................................................... 1-1
About the PC4 ........................................................................................................... 1-1
Potentiostat Schematic Diagram ................................................................................. 1-2
Notational Conventions ............................................................................................. 1-5
Chapter 2 -- Installation ......................................................................................................... 2-1
Computer Requirements............................................................................................ 2-1
Card Identification ..................................................................................................... 2-1
Positional Conventions............................................................................................... 2-2
Handling the Cards .................................................................................................... 2-2
Dip Switches for System Configuration ....................................................................... 2-3
Installing the Cards in Your Computer ........................................................................ 2-4
Connecting the Interconnection Cable Between the Cards ......................................... 2-4
Cell Cable Installation ................................................................................................ 2-5
Application Software Installation and System Checkout .............................................. 2-5
Calibration................................................................................................................. 2-5
Chapter 3 -- Cell Cable Connections ...................................................................................... 3-1
Normal Cell Connections ........................................................................................... 3-1
ZRA Mode Cell Connections...................................................................................... 3-2
Membrane Cell Connections...................................................................................... 3-3
Chapter 4 -- Stability in Potentiostat Mode ............................................................................. 4-1
Capacitive Cells and Stability...................................................................................... 4-1
Improving Potentiostat Stability .................................................................................. 4-2
Chapter 5 -- Measurement of Small Signals ............................................................................ 5-1
Overview................................................................................................................... 5-1
Measurement System Model and Physical Limitations................................................. 5-1
Johnson Noise in Zcell .................................................................................. 5-2
Finite Input Capacitance ............................................................................... 5-3
Leakage Currents and Input Impedance ........................................................ 5-3
Voltage Noise and DC Measurements ........................................................... 5-4
Shunt Resistance and Capacitance ................................................................ 5-4
Hints for System and Cell Design................................................................................ 5-5
Faraday Shield .............................................................................................. 5-5
Avoid External Noise Sources ........................................................................ 5-5
Cell Cable Length and Construction .............................................................. 5-5
Lead Placement ............................................................................................ 5-6
Cell Construction .......................................................................................... 5-6
Reference Electrode...................................................................................... 5-6
Instrument Settings ....................................................................................... 5-7
EIS Speed ..................................................................................................... 5-7
Ancillary Apparatus ....................................................................................... 5-7
Floating Operation..................................................................................................... 5-7
Appendix A -- PC4/300 Specifications .................................................................................... 6-1
Appendix B -- PC4/750 Specifications .................................................................................... 6-3
Appendix C -- Changing The Default PC4 Settings................................................................... 6-5
Overview................................................................................................................... 6-5
About the "GAMRY.INI" File ....................................................................................... 6-6
Changing "GAMRY.INI" using Setup............................................................... 6-7
Using Notepad to alter "GAMRY.INI"............................................................. 6-7
Adding a New PC4 to an Existing System.................................................................... 6-8
Setting the Board Number Switches on an PC4 Potentiostat .......................... 6-8
Installing the PC4 in the Computer................................................................ 6-8
Adding Potentiostat Information to "GAMRY.INI" using Setup ........................ 6-8
Manually Adding Potentiostat Information to "GAMRY.INI" ............................ 6-9
Removing a Potentiostat from an Existing System ........................................................ 6-9
Interrupt Level Setting ................................................................................................ 6-9
Changing your I/O Register Address ........................................................................... 6-10
Changing the Auxiliary Analog Output Scaling ............................................................ 6-13
Appendix D -- I/O Connections for the PC4 ............................................................................ 6-15
CE Compliance, EMI and Cable Shielding .................................................................. 6-15
Grounds and the PC4 Potentiostat ............................................................................. 6-15
The Cell Connector.................................................................................................... 6-16
Control Signal Input ................................................................................................... 6-17
Aux A/D Input ........................................................................................................... 6-18
V Channel Output ..................................................................................................... 6-19
I Channel Output....................................................................................................... 6-19
Miscellaneous I/O Connector ..................................................................................... 6-20
Appendix E – Auxilary A/D Input Characteristics...................................................................... 6-21
Overview................................................................................................................... 6-21
Identifying Your Controller Card Revision ................................................................... 6-21
Revision E and Lower – Characteristics ....................................................................... 6-21
Jumper Identification ................................................................................................. 6-21
Input Impedance Selection ........................................................................................ 6-21
Filter Selection ........................................................................................................... 6-22
Revision F or Higher- Aux A/D Specifications............................................................. 6-22
Comprehensive Index ............................................................................................................. 7-1
Chapter 1 -- Introduction -- About This Manual
Chapter 1 -- Introduction
About This Manual
This manual covers the installation and use of the PC4 Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA. It covers both the
PC4/300 Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA and its cousin the PC4/750 Potentiostat/Galvanostat/ZRA. These
instruments differ primarily in their output current: 300 mA for the PC4/300 and 750 mA for the PC4/750.
Throughout this manual, the term PC4 should be interpreted as a reference to both the PC4/300 and the
PC4/750.
This manual describes use of a PC4 with Revision 3.1 of the Gamry Framework software. It is equally useful
when setting up a newly purchased potentiostat or modifying the setup of a two-year-old potentiostat for use
with new software.
The bulk of Chapter 1 is an overview of the PC4's design and modes of operation. Chapter 2 contains PC4
installation instructions. Chapter 3 describes cell cable connections. Chapter 4 covers the difficult issues of
potentiostat stability and approaches to prevent oscillation. Chapter 5 discusses the realities of low current,
high impedance measurements.
You will find dry technical material such as specifications, DIP switch settings, and connector pin-outs in the
Appendices.
This manual does not discuss software installation or operation.
Software support for the PC4 is described in the Operator's Manual for each of the applications programs. All
the Gamry Instruments' applications which run under the Gamry Framework control the PC4 via a PSTAT
object. See the Framework’s On-line Help for programming information.
CE Compliance Required for Sale in Europe
The European Community has instituted standards limiting radio frequency interference from electronic devices
and mandating several safety requirements. Gamry Instruments has modified its instruments to comply with
these standards. We are shipping CE compliant instruments to all destinations.
The relevant CE regulations include EN55022 Class B and EN60950.
About the PC4
The PC4 Potentiostat is a research grade electrochemical instrument compact enough to fit inside a computer.
It can operate as a potentiostat, a galvanostat, or a ZRA (zero resistance ammeter).
The PC4/300 and PC4/750 are two members of Gamry Instruments’ PC4 Potentiostat family. They share a
number of characteristics with the other members of this family, especially in the areas of signal generation and
signal preconditioning prior to A/D conversion.
PC4 features include 9 decade current autoranging, electrical isolation from earth ground, current interrupt iR
compensation, and extensive filtering. A sine wave generator on the PC4 allows its use for impedance
measurements to at least 100 kHz.
1-1
Chapter 1 -- Introduction -- Potentiostat Schematic Diagram
The PC4 consists of two printed circuit cards that install directly into a computer. Each card requires one
expansion slot in an AT compatible computer. The cards are interconnected by one ribbon cable. Depending
on the number of available slots, up to four PC4 card sets can be installed in one computer.
The first card is called the Potentiostat Card. It contains the analog potentiostat circuitry and its associated
isolated power supply. This card is not directly connected to the computer's AT bus, except for the 5V power
and its ground. It communicates with the computer over serial lines isolated by optocouplers on the other
card. The Potentiostat card can be switched to act as a high performance Galvanostat or as a ZRA (Zero
Resistance Ammeter).
The second printed circuit card will be referred to as the Controller Card. It contains an ISA bus interface,
optocoupled serial transfer logic, an isolated power supply, a signal generator, and a high performance
measurement system.
•
The ISA bus (also known as the AT bus) interface communicates with the rest of the PC4 over optocoupled
serial lines. There is no ground connection between the ISA bus circuitry and the analog circuits in the
PC4.
•
Each card contains an isolated DC/DC converter. The power supply on the Controller card converts the
computer’s 12 volt supply into the voltages needed to power its own analog circuitry. The power supply
on the Potentiostat card converts the computer’s 5 volt supply into a variety of voltages.
•
The standard "DC" signal generator on the Controller Card uses two 16 bit D/A converters. A DDS sine
wave generator is packaged on a small "piggyback card" that plugs into the Controller card.
•
The Controller Card measurement circuitry includes signal filtering, offset, and switchable gain on two
independent measurement channels. The output of these channels is measured using a 16 bit A/D
converter.
Potentiostat Schematic Diagram
If you are not familiar with electronic schematics or potentiostats, you probably want to skip this section. This
information is for expert use only and is not required for routine use of the PC4 Potentiostat.
Figure 1-1 is a highly simplified schematic diagram. It shows the analog portion of the Potentiostat in its
potentiostatic control mode.
1-2
Chapter 1 -- Introduction -- Potentiostat Schematic Diagram
Figure 1-1
PC4 Analog Circuits in Potentiostat Mode
1-3
Chapter 1 -- Introduction -- Potentiostat Schematic Diagram
A few points concerning this schematic:
•
The circuits on the right side of the schematic are on the Potentiostat card and those on the left are on
the Controller Card. The dotted line shows the separation between the two portions of the
instrument. The analog signals sent between the portions are received in differential amplifiers to
eliminate grounding problems.
•
Arrows pointing into a circuit indicate a computer control input.
•
The labels CE , RE and WE stand for counter electrode, reference electrode and working electrode
respectively.
•
There are two 16 bit D/A converters generating the computer controlled portion of the applied cell
voltage.
•
The I/E converter uses a series resistor to measure the cell current. The circuit actually uses eight
decade resistors that can be switched in under computer control.
•
The cell switch is actually two switches in series - a relay for low leakage and an FET switch for fast
response.
•
The label OLP refers to overload protection.
•
Gains and resistor values are not shown.
•
Two capacitors can be switched across the I/E converter resistor. These capacitors are used for
filtering and stability compensation.
•
The control amplifier is shown at the upper right side of the schematic. Compensation capacitors can
be switched across the control amplifier to adjust its bandwidth and improve potentiostat stability.
•
The A/D converter is a 16 bit successive approximation type converter.
•
Some analog circuits, including overload detection circuitry, positive feedback IR compensation, the
auxiliary D/A converter, power circuits, and data acquisition controls are not shown.
•
All digital circuits, including the AT bus interface, timers, state machines, optocouplers, and digital I/O
are not shown.
•
Timing for both data acquisition and D/A update in the signal generator is controlled by a state
machine working with a crystal oscillator generated clock. A busy processor in the computer cannot
create timing jitter.
1-4
Chapter 1 -- Introduction -- Notational Conventions
Notational Conventions
In order to make this manual more readable we have adopted some notational conventions. These are used
throughout this manual and all other Gamry Instruments manuals.
•
Numbered lists. A numbered list is reserved for step by step procedures, with the steps always
performed sequentially.
•
Bulleted List. The items in a bulleted list, such as this one, are grouped together because they
represent similar items. The order of items in the list is not critical.
•
Hexadecimal numbers. Hexadecimal numbers are used for hardware related items such as I/O
addresses. The Gamry Framework and this manual use the C programming language convention: all
hexadecimal numbers have a prefix of 0x. For example, the default I/O addresses used by a PC4
Potentiostat are 0x120 through 0x13F.
•
File names and directories. Inside paragraphs, references to computer files and directories will be in
quotes, for example: "WIN.INI" and "\FRAMEWORK\FRAMEWORK.EXE".
1-5
Chapter 1 -- Introduction -- Notational Conventions
1-6
Chapter 2 -- Installation -- Computer Requirements
Chapter 2 -- Installation
A PC4 Potentiostat is only useful after it has been installed in an AT compatible computer.
If you purchase a PC4 in a system that includes both a computer and an applications software package, Gamry
Instruments, Inc. will install the PC4 (and the system software) to produce a "turn-key" system. You may ignore
this chapter if you have purchased a turn-key system.
If you buy your own computer, add a PC4 to an existing system, or move an old PC4 to a new computer, you
need to know how to install a PC4 into a computer. Read on.
Software installation is discussed in the Installation Manual for each software package. It will not be discussed
here.
Computer Requirements
Before you install a PC4 into your own computer you must make sure that your computer meets these simple
requirements.
•
A computer based on one of the following Intel microprocessors : 486, Pentium or Pentium II, or
a 100% compatible processor from another vendor.
•
Two full length, full AT height expansion slots for each cardset. These slots must have a 16 bit ISA or
EISA bus interface. The ISA bus interface is commonly referred to as the "AT Compatible" bus.
•
Up to 30 watts of power supply capacity for each PC4 Card Set. This is in addition to the power
normally drawn by your computer and its expansion cards.
Most of the power is drawn from the computer's +12 volt and +5 volt supplies. However, all four
power supplies found in a PC (±5 and ±12 volts) are required for PC4 operation.
Gamry's Windows application software packages may impose additional, more stringent requirements.
Card Identification
A PC4 Potentiostat consists of two full height, full length AT compatible printed circuit boards. When you look
at your PC4 cards, you will notice that a large portion of one card is covered with a large black shield. This
card is the PC4 Potentiostat Card. The card without the shield is referred to as the PC4 Controller Card.
2-1
Chapter 2 -- Installation -- Positional Conventions
Positional Conventions
Throughout this manual, reference will be made to positions on the PC4 cards. In order to avoid confusion,
we will define some conventions that describe positions on these cards.
Assume:
•
The card in question is lying on a table in front of you.
•
The component side of the card is up.
•
The card edge (where the card plugs into the computer) is facing you.
Under these assumptions, Figure 2-1 illustrates our positional convention.
Figure 2-1
Positional Conventions
Handling the Cards
The PC4 cards, like most electronic components, are susceptible to damage from static discharges and
connection to live circuits. Some elementary precautions should be taken when handling and installing these
cards.
•
The cards are shipped in anti-static bags. Leave them in these bags until you need to install or
reconfigure them.
•
Always turn off your computer before plugging in any card.
•
If you need to leave a card out of its anti-static bag, such as when you change a configuration DIP
switch, lay the anti-static bag on a flat surface, then lay the card on top of the bag.
•
Prior to handling the cards, you should momentarily ground yourself to eliminate any static charges
on your body. A good way to accomplish this is to turn off your computer, then lightly touch your
finger to an unpainted portion of the computer's metal chassis.
•
Save the anti-static bags. You must use them if the cards are shipped while not installed in a
computer. This includes occasions when the cards must be returned to Gamry Instruments, Inc. for
repair.
2-2
Chapter 2 -- Installation -- Dip Switches for System Configuration
Dip Switches for System Configuration
The PC4 Controller Card has one 4-pole DIP switch on it. You can use this switch to configure the card for use
in a specific computer system.
In most cases you leave the switch in its factory set position and forget it is there. The factory settings should
work for all single potentiostat systems where the computer contains only "common" expansion cards.
Common is defined for purposes of this discussion as devices such as standard video cards, GPIB adapters,
serial & parallel ports, disk controllers, etc.
You only have to set this DIP switch if you have an I/O address or interrupt level conflict between your PC4
Controller Card and another expansion card. You normally discover these conflicts when the newly installed
PC4 doesn't work or causes failures in other cards that used to work.
The default factory settings for a PC4 Controller Card are:
•
Board I/O address range = 0x120-0x13F (hexadecimal). This range is not used by common AT
compatible expansion cards.
•
Board number = 1. This is the correct setting for systems containing a single PC4 Potentiostat. This
setting must be changed on the second, third and fourth PC4 added to a computer.
If you have questions about what the term I/O Address Range means, or think you may need to change the
settings, consult Appendix C.
The interrupt level used by the PC4 can also conflict with the level used by other cards in your computer. This
level is set via software settings, not via DIP switch changes, so it will not be discussed further here. It is
discussed in Appendix C.
2-3
Chapter 2 -- Installation -- Installing the Cards in Your Computer
Installing the Cards in Your Computer
NOTE: Please review the discussion on Handling the Cards earlier in this chapter prior to proceeding.
The following procedure is used to install the PC4 cards in your computer. It assumes that you are using the
default configuration for the installed card set or that you have already configured the card for a non-standard
configuration.
1.
Turn off your computer.
2.
Following your computer manufacturer's instructions, open up the computer to expose its expansion
card slots.
3.
Locate an empty full length expansion slot that has an AT (16 bit) interface. If necessary, remove the
retaining screw and slot cover (the 'L' shaped metal bracket). Save the screw for use later.
4.
Locate a second empty slot that is within 20 cm of the first. You may have to move some of your
existing cards to get two suitable slots. Again, remove the retaining screw and slot cover, saving the
screw for use later.
5.
Remove one card from its anti-static bag.
6.
Plug this card into one slot. Make sure the card seats securely in the edge card connector on the
motherboard. Secure the card in the slot using the screw from Step 3.
NOTE: All the gold fingers on the lower edge on this card must be in a motherboard edge connector.
7.
Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the second card, locating it in the second slot.
8.
Do not close up the computer yet.
Connecting the Interconnection Cable Between the Cards
1. Locate the 26 pin headers (group of 26 pins) on both the Controller and Potentiostat cards. They are
in the upper middle of each card.
2. Examine the ribbon cable that came with the PC4 Potentiostat. Each end of this cable has a 26 pin
connector on it. The two ends of the cable are identical and therefore interchangeable.
3. Plug one end of this ribbon cable into the 26 pin header on the Controller card.
4. Repeat step 5 using the other end of the cable and the header on the Potentiostat card.
5. Carefully double check your work.
6. Once this step is completed you may close up the computer.
2-4
Chapter 2 -- Installation -- Cell Cable Installation
Cell Cable Installation
The Cell Connector is a 9 pin female D connector on the Potentiostat card.
The standard cell cable has a 9 pin D connector on one end and a number of leads terminated with banana
plugs on the other. The D connector end of the cable is connected to the Cell Connector on the Potentiostat
card. The screws on this cable should always be used to hold the cable in place.
Caution: Other PC functions can use female 9 pin D connectors. Make sure that
your cell cable is plugged into the correct connector before making any
connection to your cell.
Application Software Installation and System Checkout
Software installation is slightly different for each Gamry Instruments, Inc. application package. Refer to the
software installation instructions in the Installation Manual for each application package in your system.
You should also perform the system checkout procedures for each application. Follow the instructions in each
application's Installation Manual. The system checkout procedures check for correct hardware and software
installation. They are not a comprehensive test of each facet of system operation.
Calibration
After you have run the system checkout procedure(s), you should calibrate each PC4 Potentiostat installed in
your system. A calibration script is provided with the Gamry Framework. The Installation Manual for every
major application package contains instructions for calibration using this script.
CAUTION: PC4 calibration calls for an external resistive dummy cell. A suitable resistor was shipped
with the PC4. This resistor is a 100 Ω 1% accurate resistor. Please place this resistor in a safe place
where you can find it if your unit requires recalibration.
If you do need to recalibrate and you cannot find the resistor shipped to you, you can substitute
another 100Ω resistor. Its wattage and tolerance are unimportant.
Potentiostat calibration is only required infrequently. You should recalibrate under the following
circumstances:
•
You are installing a PC4 Potentiostat into a new computer or moving a PC4 into a different
computer. The PC4 should be calibrated in the new machine.
•
It has been about one year since your last calibration.
•
Your potentiostat has been serviced.
•
You notice breaks or discontinuities in the data curves recorded with your system.
•
You have lost or replaced your "GAMRY.INI" file.
2-5
Chapter 2 -- Installation -- Calibration
2-6
Chapter 3 -- Cell Cable Connections -- Normal Cell Connections
Chapter 3 -- Cell Cable Connections
Normal Cell Connections
Each PC4 in your system was shipped with a standard cell cable.
One end of the cable ends in a 9 pin male D type connector. This end connects to the PC4 Potentiostat Card.
Make sure you connect the cable to the correct 9 pin connector on the computer; older video cards, among
others, often include 9 pin D female connectors.
You should always screw the cell cable into place, since this cable comes off the card easily otherwise.
The other end of the cell cable terminates in a number of banana plugs and one pin jack. Each termination
comes with a removable alligator clip. All PC4 Potentiostats should be shipped with a new cable that includes
an Orange Counter Sense lead. If you also own an older PC3 Potentiostat or an older ECM8 Multiplexer, it
was supplied with similar cables that do not include this orange lead. Consult the factory before using an older
cable with your PC4.
Table 3-1 identifies each terminal of the cable.
Table 3-1
Cell Cable Terminations - Potentiostat and Galvanostat Modes
Color
Type
Name
Normal Connection
Blue
Banana Plug
Working Sense
Connect to working electrode
Green
Banana Plug
Working Electrode
Connect to working electrode
White
Pin Jack
Reference
Connect to reference electrode
Red
Banana Plug
Counter Electrode
Connect to counter electrode
Orange
Banana Plug
Counter Sense
Used in ZRA mode - connect to counter electrode
Long Black
Banana Plug
Floating Ground
Leave open or connect to a Faraday shield
Short Black
Banana Plug
Chassis Ground
Connect to Faraday Shield to reduce EMI
Connect both the blue and green cell leads to the working electrode. The working electrode is the specimen
being tested. The blue banana jack connection senses the voltage of the working electrode. The green
working electrode connection carries the cell current. The working electrode may be as much as 1.5 volts
above the circuit ground.
Connect the white pin jack to the cell's reference electrode, such as an SCE or Ag/AgCl reference electrode.
The measured cell potential is the potential difference between the blue and white cell connectors.
Connect the red banana plug to the counter or auxiliary electrode. The counter electrode is usually a large
inert metal or graphite electrode. The counter electrode terminal is the output of the PC4's power amplifier.
The orange lead is only used in ZRA mode where it senses the counter electrode potential (see following
section). Automatic switching to ZRA mode is possible if this lead is connected to the counter electrode. If you
3-1
Chapter 3 -- Cell Cable Connections -- ZRA Mode Cell Connections
will not be using ZRA mode, this lead can be left open as long as you insure that it will not short against any
other electrode.
The longer black banana plug is connected on the PC4 end to Floating Ground. This is the circuitry ground for
the analog circuits in the PC4. In most cases, this terminal should be left disconnected at the cell end. When
you do so, take care that it does not touch any of the other cell connections.
The shorter black lead is connected to the computer’s chassis (earth) ground.
If your cell is a typical glass laboratory cell, all of the electrodes are isolated from earth ground. In this case,
you may be able to lower noise in your data by connecting the longer black cell lead to a source of earth
ground. The short black lead or a water pipe can be suitable sources of earth ground.
Caution: If any electrode is at earth ground, you must not connect the long black
cell lead to earth ground. Autoclaves, stress apparatus, and field measurements
may involve earth grounded electrodes.
When you are measuring very small currents, you may find that a metal enclosure completely surrounding your
cell (a Faraday shield) will significantly lower the measured current noise. This Faraday shield should be
connected to the short black cell connector. If your electrodes are all isolated from ground, you should also
connect the shield to the longer black lead.
The alligator clip on a cell connection can be removed to access the underlying banana plug or pin jack. If you
need to permanently change the terminations on your cell cable, feel free to remove the banana plugs and
replace them with your new termination. Gamry Instruments can provide additional standard or special cell
cables.
ZRA Mode Cell Connections
The PC4 can function as a precision Zero Resistance Ammeter (ZRA). It maintains two metal samples at the
same potential and measures the current flow between the samples. It can also measure the potential of the
samples versus a reference electrode.
The cell cable connections for ZRA mode are shown in Table 3-2. Note that the connections are very similar to
those for the potentiostat and galvanostat modes. A second working electrode is substituted for the counter
electrode and the orange counter sense lead must be connected.
3-2
Chapter 3 -- Cell Cable Connections -- Membrane Cell Connections
Table 3-2
Cell Cable Connections for ZRA Mode
Color
Type
Name
Normal Connection
Blue
Banana Plug
Working Sense
Connect to metal sample #1
Green
Banana Plug
Working Electrode
Connect to metal sample #1
White
Pin Jack
Reference
Connect to a reference electrode
Red
Banana Plug
Counter Electrode
Connect to metal sample #2
Orange
Banana Plug
Counter Sense
Connect to metal sample #2
Long Black
Banana Plug
Floating Ground
Leave open or connect to a Faraday shield
Short Black
Banana Plug
Chassis Ground
Connect to Faraday Shield to reduce EMI
The counter sense and the working sense lead are each connected to different metal samples. In the ZRA
mode the PC4 is programmed to maintain zero volts between these leads. It therefore maintains the two metal
samples at the same voltage.
The white pin jack on the cell cable is normally connected to a reference electrode. The potential between
this lead and the working sense lead is reported as the cell potential.
If you don’t have a reference electrode in your cell, we recommend that you connect the white reference lead
to the working electrode. In theory, the measured potential will be exactly zero when this is done. In
practice, A/D noise and offset will create a small, slightly noisy signal very close to zero.
Membrane Cell Connections
The PC4 can be used with membrane cells. In this type of cell, a membrane separates two electrolyte
solutions. Two reference electrodes are used - one in each electrolyte. Each electrolyte also contains a counter
electrode. The PC4 controls the potential across the membrane. Table 3-3 shows the cell connections used
with a membrane type cell.
3-3
Chapter 3 -- Cell Cable Connections -- Membrane Cell Connections
Table 3-3
Cell Cable Connections for a Membrane Cell
Color
Type
Name
Normal Connection
Blue
Banana Plug
Working Sense
Connect to reference electrode #1
Green
Banana Plug
Working Electrode
Connect to counter electrode #1
White
Pin Jack
Reference
Connect to reference electrode #2
Red
Banana Plug
Counter Electrode
Connect to counter electrode #2
Orange
Banana Plug
Counter Sense
Leave open (only needed in ZRA mode)
Long Black
Banana Plug
Floating Ground
Leave open or connect to a Faraday shield
Short Black
Banana Plug
Chassis Ground
Connect to Faraday Shield to reduce EMI
Note that reference electrode #1 and counter electrode #1 must be on one side of the membrane and
reference electrode #2 and counter electrode #2 must be on the other side.
3-4
Chapter 4 -- Stability in Potentiostat Mode -- Capacitive Cells and Stability
Chapter 4 -- Stability in Potentiostat Mode
Capacitive Cells and Stability
All potentiostats can become unstable when connected to capacitive cells. The capacitive cell adds phase shift
to the potentiostat's already phase shifted feedback signal. The additional phase shift can convert the
potentiostat's power amplifier into a power oscillator.
To make matters worse, almost all electrochemical cells are capacitive because an electrical double layer forms
next to a conductor immersed in a solution.
Potentiostat oscillation is an AC phenomenon. However, it can affect both AC and DC measurements.
Oscillation often causes excessive noise or sharp DC shifts in the system's graphical output. The PC4
Potentiostat is often stable on less sensitive current ranges and unstable on more sensitive current ranges.
Whenever you see sharp breaks in the current recorded on the system, you should suspect oscillation.
The PC4 has been tested for stability with cell capacitors between 10 pF and 750 F. In all but its fastest control
amp speed setting, it is stable on any capacitor in this range -- as long as the impedance in the reference
electrode lead does not exceed 20 kΩ. With reference electrode impedances greater than 20 kΩ, the PC4
may oscillate. The RC filter formed by the reference electrode impedance and the reference terminal's input
capacitance filters out the high frequency feedback needed for potentiostat stability.
Longer cell cables make the problem worse by increasing the reference terminal's effective input capacitance.
Even when the system is stable (not oscillating), it may exhibit ringing whenever there is a voltage step applied
to the cell. The PC4's D/A converters routinely apply steps, even when making a pseudo-linear ramp. While
this ringing is not a problem with slow DC measurements, it can interfere with faster measurements. The steps
taken to eliminate potentiostat oscillation also help to minimize ringing.
4-1
Chapter 4 -- Stability in Potentiostat Mode -- Improving Potentiostat Stability
Improving Potentiostat Stability
There are a number of things that you can do to improve an unstable or marginally stable PC4 potentiostat/cell
system. This list is not in any particular order. Any or all of these steps may help.
•
Slow down the potentiostat. The PC4 has 4 control amplifier speed settings which can be selected in
software. Slower settings are generally more stable.
•
Increase the PC4's I/E stability setting. The PC4 includes 2 capacitors that can be paralleled with its
I/E converter resistors. These capacitors are connected to relays that are under software control.
Contact your local Gamry Instruments' representative for more information concerning changes in
these settings.
•
Lower the reference electrode impedance. Make sure that you don't have a clogged reference
electrode junction. Avoid asbestos fiber reference electrodes and double junction electrodes. Avoid
small diameter Lugin capillaries. If you do have a Lugin capillary, make sure that the capillaries'
contents are as conductive as possible.
•
Add a capacitively coupled low impedance reference element in parallel with your existing reference
electrode. The classic fast combination reference electrode is a platinum wire and a junction isolated
SCE. See Figure 4-1. The capacitor insures that DC potential comes from the SCE and AC potential
from the platinum wire. The capacitor value is generally determined by trial and error.
Figure 4-1
Fast Combination Reference Electrode
White
Cell Lead
100 pF to 10 nF
SCE
Platinum
Electrolyte
4-2
Chapter 4 -- Stability in Potentiostat Mode -- Improving Potentiostat Stability
•
Provide a high frequency shunt around the cell. A small capacitor between the red and white cell
leads allows high frequency feedback to bypass the cell. See Figure 4-2. The capacitor value is
generally determined by trial and error. One nanofarad is a good starting point.
In a sense, this is another form of an AC coupled low impedance reference electrode. The counter
electrode is the low impedance electrode, eliminating the need for an additional electrode in the
solution.
Figure 4-2
High Frequency Shunt
Red
100 pF to 10 nF
White
Reference
Green
Working
4-3
Counter
Chapter 4 -- Stability in Potentiostat Mode -- Improving Potentiostat Stability
•
Add resistance to the counter electrode lead. See Figure 4-3. This change lowers the effective gain
bandwidth product of the control amplifier. As a rule of thumb, the resistor should be selected to
give one volt of drop at the highest current expected in the test being run. For example, if you
expect your highest current to be around 1 mA, you can add a 1 kΩ resistor.
Figure 4-3
Resistor Added for Stability
Red
Resistor
White
Reference
Green
Working
4-4
Counter
Chapter 5 -- Measurement of Small Signals -- Overview
Chapter 5 -- Measurement of Small Signals
Overview
The PC4 is a sensitive scientific instrument. It can resolve current changes as small as 0.1 picoamps (10-13
amps). To place this current in perspective, 0.1 pA represents the flow of about 600,000 electrons per second!
The small currents measured by the PC4 place demands on the instrument, the cell, the cables and the
experimenter. Many of the techniques used in higher current electrochemistry must be modified when used to
measure pA currents. In many cases, the basic physics of the measurement must be considered.
This chapter will discuss the limiting factors controlling low current measurements. It will include hints on cell
and system design. The emphasis will be on EIS (Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy), a highly
demanding application for the PC4.
Measurement System Model and Physical Limitations
To get a feel for the physical limits implied by picoamp measurements, consider the equivalent circuit shown in
Figure 5-1. We are attempting to measure a cell impedance given by Zcell.
This model is valid for analysis purposes even though the real PC4 circuit topology differs significantly.
In Figure 5-1:
Es
Zcell
Rm
Is an ideal signal source
Is the unknown cell impedance
Is the current measurement circuit's current measurement resistance
Rshunt
Cshunt
Cin
Rin
Iin
Is an unwanted resistance across the cell
Is an unwanted capacitance across the cell
Is the current measurement circuit's stray input capacitance
Is the current measurement circuit's stray input resistance
Is the measurement circuit's input current
In the ideal current measurement circuit Rin is infinite while Cin and Iin are zero. All the cell current, Zcell, flows
through Rm.
With an ideal cell and voltage source, Rshunt is infinite and Cshunt is zero. All the current flowing into the
current measurement circuit is due to Zcell.
The voltage developed across Rm is measured by the meter as Vm. Given the idealities discussed above, one
can use Kirchoff's and Ohms law to calculate Zcell:
Zcell = Es * Rm / Vm
5-1
Chapter 5 -- Measurement of Small Signals -- Measurement System Model and Physical Limitations
Figure 5-1
Equivalent Measurement Circuit
R shunt
C shunt
Rm
R in
C in
Unfortunately technology limits high impedance measurements because:
•
Current measurement circuits always have non-zero input capacitance, i.e. Cin > 0
•
Infinite Rin cannot be achieved with real circuits and materials
•
Amplifiers used in the meter have input currents, i.e. Iin > 0
•
The cell and the potentiostat create both a non-zero Cshunt and a finite Rshunt
Additionally, basic physics limits high impedance measurements via Johnson noise, which is the inherent noise
in a resistance.
Johnson Noise in Zcell
Johnson noise across a resistor represents a fundamental physical limitation. Resistors, regardless of
composition, demonstrate a minimum noise for both current and voltage, per the following equation:
E = (4 k T R δF)1/2
I = (4 k T δF / R)1/2
where:
k = Boltzman's constant 1.38x 10-23 J/oK
T = temperature in oK
δF = noise bandwidth in Hz
R = resistance in ohms.
5-2
Chapter 5 -- Measurement of Small Signals -- Measurement System Model and Physical Limitations
For purposes of approximation, the Noise bandwidth, δF, is equal to the measurement frequency. Assume a
1011 ohm resistor as Zcell. At 300oK and a measurement frequency of 1 Hz this gives a voltage noise of 41 µV
rms. The peak to peak noise is about 5 times the rms noise. Under these conditions, you can make a voltage
measurement of ± 10 mV across Zcell with an error of about ± 2%. Fortunately, an AC measurement can
reduce the bandwidth by integrating the measured value at the expense of additional measurement time. With
a noise bandwidth of 1 mHz, the voltage noise falls to about 1.3 µV rms.
Current noise on the same resistor under the same conditions is 0.41 fA. To place this number in perspective,
a ± 10 mV signal across this same resistor will generate a current of ± 100 fA, or again an error of up to ± 2%.
Again, reducing the bandwidth helps. At a noise bandwidth of 1 mHz, the current noise falls to 0.012 fA.
With Es at 10 mV, an EIS system that measures 1011 ohms at 1mHz is about 3 decades away from the Johnson
noise limits. At 0.1 Hz, the system is close enough to the Johnson noise limits to make accurate measurements
impossible. Between these limits, readings get progressively less accurate as the frequency increases.
In practice, EIS measurements usually cannot be made at high enough frequencies that Johnson noise is the
dominant noise source. If Johnson noise is a problem, averaging reduces the noise bandwidth, thereby
reducing the noise at a cost of lengthening the experiment.
Finite Input Capacitance
Cin in Figure 5-1 represents unavoidable capacitances that always arise in real circuits. Cin shunts Rm, draining
off higher frequency signals, limiting the bandwidth that can be achieved for a given value of Rm. This
calculation shows at which frequencies the effect becomes significant. The frequency limit of a current
measurement (defined by the frequency where the phase error hits 45o) can be calculated from:
fRC = 1/ ( 2 ω RmCin )
Decreasing Rm increases this frequency. However, large Rm values are desirable to minimize voltage drift and
voltage noise.
A reasonable value for Cin in a practical, computer controllable low current measurement circuit is 20 pF. For
a 3 nA full scale current range, a practical estimate for Rm is 107 ohms.
fRC = 1/ 6.28 (1x107) (2x10-12) ≈ 8000 Hz
In general, one should stay two decades below fRC to keep phase shift below one degree. The uncorrected
upper frequency limit on a 30 nA range is therefore around 80 Hz.
One can measure higher frequencies using the higher current ranges (i.e. lower impedance ranges) but this
would reduce the total available signal below the resolution limits of the "voltmeter". This then forms one basis
of statement that high frequency and high impedance measurements are mutually exclusive.
Software correction of the measured response can also be used to improve the useable bandwidth, but not by
more than an order of magnitude in frequency.
Leakage Currents and Input Impedance
In Figure 5-1, both Rin and Iin affect the accuracy of current measurements. The magnitude error due to Rin is
calculated by:
Error = 1- Rin/(Rm+Rin)
5-3
Chapter 5 -- Measurement of Small Signals -- Measurement System Model and Physical Limitations
For an Rm of 107 ohms, an error < 1% demands that Rin must be > 109 ohms. PC board leakage, relay
leakage, and measurement device characteristics lower Rin below the desired value of infinity.
A similar problem is the finite input leakage current Iin into the voltage measuring circuit. It can be leakage
directly into the input of the voltage meter, or leakage from a voltage source (such as a power supply) through
an insulation resistance into the input. If an insulator connected to the input has a 1012 ohm resistance
between +15 volts and the input, the leakage current is 15 pA. Fortunately, most sources of leakage current
are DC and can be tuned out in impedance measurements. As a rule of thumb, the DC leakage should not
exceed the measured signal by more than a factor of 10.
The PC4 uses an input amplifier with an input current of around 5 pA. Other circuit components may also
contribute leakage currents. You therefore cannot make absolute current measurements of very low pA
currents with the PC4. In practice, the input current is approximately constant, so current differences or AC
current levels of less than one pA can often be measured.
Voltage Noise and DC Measurements
Often the current signal measured by a potentiostat shows noise that is not the fault of the current
measurement circuits. This is especially true when you are making DC measurements. The cause of the
current noise is noise in the voltage applied to the cell.
Assume that you have a working electrode with a capacitance of 1 µF. This could represent a passive layer on
a metal specimen. The impedance of this electrode, assuming ideal capacitive behavior, is given by
Z = 1/jωC
At sixty Hertz, the impedance value is about 2.5 kΩ.
Apply an ideal DC potential across this ideal capacitor and you get no DC current.
Unfortunately, all potentiostats have noise in the applied voltage. This noise comes from the instrument itself
and from external sources. In many cases, the predominant noise frequency is the AC power line frequency.
Assume a reasonable noise voltage, Vn, of 10 µV. Further, assume that this noise voltage is at the US power
line frequency of 60 Hz. It will create a current across the cell capacitance:
I = Vn/Z ≈ 4 nA
This rather large noise current will prevent accurate DC current measurement in the pA ranges.
In an EIS measurement, you apply an AC excitation voltage that is much bigger than the typical noise voltage,
so this is not a factor.
Shunt Resistance and Capacitance
Non-ideal shunt resistance and capacitance arise in both the cell and the potentiostat. Both can cause
significant measurement errors.
Parallel metal surfaces form a capacitor. The capacitance rises as either metal area increases and as the
separation distance between the metals decreases.
Wire and electrode placement have a large effect on shunt capacitance. If the clip leads connecting to the
working and reference electrodes are close together, they can form a significant shunt capacitor. Values of 10
5-4
Chapter 5 -- Measurement of Small Signals -- Hints for System and Cell Design
pF are common. This shunt capacitance cannot be distinguished from "real" capacitance in the cell. If you are
measuring a paint film with a 100 pF capacitance, 10 pF of shunt capacitance is a very significant error.
Shunt resistance in the cell arises because of imperfect insulators. No material is a perfect insulator (one with
infinite resistance). Even Teflon, which is one of the best insulators known, has a bulk resistivity of about 1014
ohms. Worse yet, surface contamination often lowers the effective resistivity of good insulators. Water films
can be a real problem, especially on glass.
Shunt capacitance and resistance also occur in the potentiostat itself. The PC4 Potentiostat Mode
specifications in Appendix A contain equivalent values for the potentiostat's Rshunt and Cshunt. These values can
be measured by an impedance measurement with no cell.
In most cases, the cell's shunt resistance and capacitance errors are larger than those from the potentiostat.
Hints for System and Cell Design
The following hints may prove helpful.
Faraday Shield
A Faraday shield surrounding your cell is mandatory for very low level measurements. It reduces both current
noise picked up directly on the working electrode and voltage noise picked up by the reference electrode.
A Faraday shield is a conductive enclosure that surrounds the cell. The shield can be constructed from sheet
metal, fine mesh wire screen, or even conductive plastic. It must be continuous and completely surround the
cell. Don't forget the areas above and below the cell. All parts of the shield must be electrically connected.
You will need an opening in the shield large enough to allow the PC4 cell cable to enter the shield.
The shield must be electrically connected to the PC4's floating ground terminal.
An additional connection of both the shield and the PC4 floating ground to an earth ground may also prove
helpful.
NOTE: Only connect the PC4 ground to earth ground if all conductive cell components are well
isolated from earth ground. A glass cell is usually well isolated. An autoclave is generally not well
isolated.
Avoid External Noise Sources
Try to keep your system away from electrical noise sources. Some of the worst are:
•
Fluorescent lights
•
Motors
•
Radio transmitters
•
Computers and computer monitors
Try to avoid AC powered or computerized apparatus within your Faraday shield.
Cell Cable Length and Construction
The PC4 is shipped with a 1.5 meter cell cable. We also offer extended length cables as extra cost options.
5-5
Chapter 5 -- Measurement of Small Signals -- Hints for System and Cell Design
Cell cables longer than 3 meters may result in degraded instrument performance. Increased noise and
decreased stability both can occur. However, with most cells, the instrument will work acceptably with an
extended cell cable, so our advice is go ahead and try it. As a rule, you should not attempt to use current
interrupt IR compensation with cell cables longer than 5 meters.
We do not recommend that you use the PC4 with any cables not supplied by Gamry Instruments. The PC4
cable is not a simple cable like a typical computer cable. The PC4 cable includes a number of individually
shielded wires contained within an overall shield. We pay careful attention to issues such as shield isolation,
isolation resistance, and capacitance.
If you do need a special cable, contact us with your requirements.
Lead Placement
Many experiments with the PC4 involve cells with small capacitances, the value of which may be important.
In these cases, the capacitance between the PC4's cell leads can result in an error. The PC4 alligator clips can
have 10 pF or more of mutual capacitance if they are run alongside each other.
If you wish to avoid excessive capacitance.
•
Place the leads as far apart as possible. Pay special attention to the working electrode lead.
•
Have the leads approach the cell from different directions.
•
Remove the alligator clips from the leads. In extreme cases you can replace the banana plugs and
pin jack with smaller connectors. If you do so, be careful not to compromise the center conductor
to shield isolation.
The cell leads must not be moved during an experiment which measures small currents. Both microphonic
and triboelectric effects can create spurious results when the cell cables are moved.
Cell Construction
If you need to measure small currents or high impedances, make sure that your cell construction does not limit
your response.
A cell where the resistance between the electrodes is only 1010 ohms cannot be used to measure 1013 ohm
impedances. In general, glass and Teflon are the preferred cell construction materials. Even glass may be a
problem if it is wet.
You also must worry about Cshunt. Make the "inactive" portion of your electrodes as small as possible. Avoid
placing electrodes close together or parallel with each other.
Reference Electrode
Keep your reference electrode impedance as low as possible. High impedance reference electrodes can cause
potentiostat instability and excessive voltage noise pickup.
Try to avoid:
•
Narrow bore or Vycor tipped Lugin capillaries.
•
Poorly conductive solutions - especially in Lugin capillaries.
•
Asbestos thread and double junction reference electrodes.
5-6
Chapter 5 -- Measurement of Small Signals -- Floating Operation
Instrument Settings
There are several things to remember in setting up a very sensitive experiment.
•
In EIS, use the largest practical excitation. Don't use a 10 mV excitation on a coated specimen
that can handle 100 mV without damage.
•
Avoid potentials where large DC currents flow. You cannot measure 1pA of AC current on top of
1 mA of DC current.
EIS Speed
In EIS, do not expect the PC4 to measure 1010 ohm impedances at 1 kHz. Many of the factors listed above
limit the performance.
As a rule of thumb, the product of Impedance, Z, times frequency, f, must be less than 109 ΩHz for good EIS
measurements with a PC4.
Z · f < 109 ΩHz
Ancillary Apparatus
Do not use the PC4 with ancillary apparatus connected directly to any of the cell leads. Ammeters and
voltmeters, regardless of their specifications, almost always create problems when connected to the PC4 cell
leads.
Floating Operation
The PC4 is capable of operation with cells where one of the electrodes or a cell surface is at earth ground.
Examples of earth grounded cells include: autoclaves, stress apparatus, pipelines, storage tanks and battleships.
The PC4's internal ground is allowed to float with respect to earth ground when it works with these cells, hence
the name floating operation.
Instrument performance can be substantially degraded when the PC4 is operated in a floating mode. The
instrument specifications only apply on isolated cells with the PC4 earth ground referenced (not floating).
Special precautions must be taken with the cell connections when the PC4 must float. Make sure that all the
cell connections are isolated from earth ground. In this case, even the floating ground terminal of the PC4 must
be kept isolated.
Finally, most ancillary apparatus connected to the cell of the PC4 must be isolated. External voltmeters,
ammeters, FRA's etc. must be isolated. This includes devices connected to the monitor connectors located on
the PC4 controller board minipanel.
5-7
Appendix A -- PC4/300 Specifications --
Appendix A -- PC4/300 Specifications
Control Amplifier
Compliance Voltage
> ± 20 volts @ 150 mA
Output Current
> ± 300 mA
Unity Gain Bandwidth (software selectable)
>1 MHz, > 200 kHz, > 90 kHz, > 20 kHz
Slew Rate (software selectable)
>50 V/µsec, > 10 V/µsec, > 5 V/µsec, > 1 V/µsec
Differential Electrometer
Input Impedance
> 1012 Ω in parallel with 5 pF
Input Current
< 10 pA
Bandwidth (-3dB)
> 4 MHz
CMRR
> 100 dB (DC to 2 kHz), >60 dB @ 100 kHz
Voltage Measurement
Full Scale Ranges
± 30V (±12 V usable), ± 3V, ± 300 mV, ± 30 mV
Resolution(16 Bits)
1 mV/bit, 100 µV/bit, 10 µV/bit,, 1 µV/bit
DC Accuracy
± 0.3% Range ± 1mV
Offset Range
± 12 V with 1.5 mV resolution
Current Measurement
Analog Full Scale Ranges
± 3 nA to ± 300 mA in decades
Controller Board Gains
1, 10, 100
Resolution (16 bits)
0.1 pA/bit to 10 µA/bit
Offset Range
± 4X full scale (only 2X full scale is useful)
DC Accuracy (with 1X Controller Board Gain)
± 0.3% range ± 50 pA
Bandwidth (-3 dB)
> 500 kHz (300 µA—300 mA full scale)
> 100 kHz (30 µA full scale)
> 10 Hz (3nA full scale)
Auxiliary A/D Input (see Appendix E)
Range
± 3 volts differential
Bandwidth
20 Hz
Input Impedance
100 kΩ
NOTES:
1. All specifications subject to change without notice
2. Offset specifications apply after software calibration
6-1
Appendix A -- PC4/300 Specifications --
Auxiliary D/A Output
Range
± 5 volts or 0 to 10 volts
Resolution
2.5 mV
Environmental
Operating Temperature
0-70 °C (inside computer)
Specification Temperature
25 °C
Potentiostat Mode
Applied E Range
± 11 volts
Accuracy
± 2 mV ± 0.3% of setting
DC Bias
±8V
Scan Ranges
± 6.4 V, ± 1.6V, and ± 0.4 V
Resolution
200 µV/bit, 50 µV/bit, 12.5 µV/bit
Drift
< 30 µV/C
Noise and Ripple
< 20 µV rms (1Hz - 10 kHz)
Galvanostat Mode
Applied i range
± full scale current (no 3 nA range)
DC accuracy
± 0.3% full scale
Scan Ranges
± 2X full scale current
Current Interrupt
Measurement Type
(sample 2 points on decay, extrapolate)
Cell Switching Time
< 1 µsec (1 kΩ cell )
Minimum Interrupt Time
15 µsec
Maximum Interrupt Time
64 msec
A/D converter
Resolution
16 bits
Accuracy
0.1% of full scale
Timing
50 µsec to 600 sec
General
Power
Leakage i (floating, earthed Working Electrode)
27 W maximum
< 1 A at +12 V
< 0.08 A at -5 V
< 3 nA @ DC
6-2
< 3 A at +5 V
< 0.02A at -12 V
Appendix B -- PC4/750 Specifications --
Appendix B -- PC4/750 Specifications
Control Amplifier
Compliance Voltage
> ± 15V @ 15 mA, > ± 12 volts @ 500 mA
Output Current
> ± 750 mA
Unity Gain Bandwidth (software selectable)
>1 MHz, > 200 kHz, > 90 kHz, > 20 kHz
Slew Rate (software selectable)
>50 V/µsec, > 10 V/µsec, > 5 V/µsec, > 1 V/µsec
Differential Electrometer
Input Impedance
> 4 x 1011 Ω in parallel with 5 pF
Input Current
< 10 pA
Bandwidth (-3dB)
> 4 MHz
CMRR
> 100 dB (DC to 2 kHz), >60 dB @ 100 kHz
Voltage Measurement
Full Scale Ranges
± 30V (±9 V usable), ± 3V, ± 300 mV, ± 30 mV
Resolution(16 Bits)
1 mV/bit, 100 µV/bit, 10 µV/bit,, 1 µV/bit
DC Accuracy
± 0.3% Range ± 1mV
Offset Range
± 12 V with 1.5 mV resolution
Current Measurement
Analog Full Scale Ranges
± 7.5 nA to ± 750 mA in decades
Controller Board Gains
1, 10, 100
Resolution (16 bits)
0.25 pA/bit to 25 µA/bit
Offset Range
± 4X full scale (only 2X full scale is useful)
DC Accuracy (with 1X Controller Board Gain)
± 0.3% range ± 50 pA
Bandwidth (-3 dB)
> 500 kHz (75 µA—750 mA full scale)
> 20 kHz (7.5 µA full scale)
> 20 Hz (7.5 nA full scale)
Auxiliary A/D Input (see Appendix E)
Range
± 3 volts differential
Bandwidth
20 Hz
Input Impedance
100 kΩ
NOTES:
1. All specifications subject to change without notice
2. Offset specifications apply after software calibration
6-3
Appendix B -- PC4/750 Specifications --
Auxiliary D/A Output
Range
± 5 volts or 0 to 10 volts
Resolution
2.5 mV
Environmental
Operating Temperature
0-70 °C (inside computer)
Specification Temperature
25 °C
Potentiostat Mode
Applied E Range
± 11 volts
Accuracy
± 2 mV ± 0.3% of setting
DC Bias
±8V
Scan Ranges
± 6.4 V, ± 1.6V, and ± 0.4 V
Resolution
200 µV/bit, 50 µV/bit, 12.5 µV/bit
Drift
< 30 µV/C
Noise and Ripple
< 20 µV rms (1Hz - 10 kHz)
Galvanostat Mode
Applied i range
± full scale current (no 3 nA range)
DC accuracy
± 0.3% full scale
Scan Ranges
± 2X full scale current
Current Interrupt
Measurement Type
(sample 2 points on decay, extrapolate)
Cell Switching Time
< 1 µsec (1 kΩ cell )
Minimum Interrupt Time
15 µsec
Maximum Interrupt Time
64 msec
A/D converter
Resolution
16 bits
Accuracy
0.1% of full scale
Timing
50 µsec to 600 sec
General
Power
Leakage i (floating, earthed Working Electrode)
34 W maximum
< 1 A at 12 volts
< 0.08 A at -5 V
< 1 nA @ DC
6-4
< 4.4 A at +5 V
< 0.02 A at -12 V
Appendix C -- Changing The Default PC4 Settings -- Overview
Appendix C -- Changing The Default PC4 Settings
Overview
Your PC4 Potentiostat can be configured for the specific needs of your computer system. DIP switches on the
PC4 allow you to:
•
Choose the I/O addresses used by the PC4.
•
Reconfigure the PC4 as Pstat 1 through Pstat 4 in a multiple potentiostat system.
Whenever a PC4 setting is changed, the software controlling that PC4 must be made aware of the change.
Gamry Instruments' software reads the PC4's settings from an initialization file called "GAMRY.INI". This file lists
the hardware configuration for any Gamry potentiostats in the system.
The "GAMRY.INI” file does not merely record DIP switch settings. It also contains software information and
information about the software setup of hardware. This includes:
•
Interrupt level
•
Auxiliary D/A range
•
Software calibration data
The "GAMRY.INI" file is located in the Windows directory. It is an ASCII text file that is divided into sections
identified by a section name in square brackets (e.g. [EIS300]). Each section contains setting for a specific
aspect of the system.
Turnkey systems are provided with a "GAMRY.INI" file appropriate for the items you have purchased with that
system. The "GAMRY.INI" file in user installed systems is usually created by the Setup programs that come with
Gamry Instruments' Windows based application software. Most configuration information should be changed
by rerunning the Setup programs.
Use this appendix when you need to change the system configuration via changes to your DIP switch settings
or via manual changes in your "GAMRY.INI" file.
6-5
Appendix C -- Changing The Default PC4 Settings -- About the "GAMRY.INI" File
About the "GAMRY.INI" File
Gamry Instruments' Windows based software is configured by means of the "GAMRY.INI" file. The information
in this file is used to:
•
Identify each potentiostat in the system.
•
Determine the I/O address and interrupt level used by the system's potentiostats.
•
Authorize use of a specific potentiostat by specific software packages.
•
Store calibration data for each potentiostat.
•
Store scaling factors for system D/A and A/D converters.
•
Store software configuration information.
The "GAMRY.INI" file is an ASCII file. You can modify the file using an ASCII editor or a word processor in a
non-document mode (a mode with no formatting codes in the text). The Windows Notepad accessory is a
convenient ASCII editor.
The copy of "GAMRY.INI" actually used by the software must be located in the Windows directory (normally
C:\WINDOWS). The Setup programs provided with Gamry Instruments' software either install "GAMRY.INI" in
the correct directory or modify an existing file in this location.
A portion of a typical "GAMRY.INI" file is shown in Figure C-1. Only some of the information required for PC4
configuration is shown. A complete "GAMRY.INI" file is longer than this example.
In Figure C-1, the 1st line is called a section identifier. The name of the section is enclosed in square brackets,
e.g. [Framework]. The [Framework] section extends to the next section identifier [InterruptList]. The
[Framework] section contains configuration information for the Gamry Framework program. This section is
required in all "GAMRY.INI" files that configure a Gamry Framework System.
The section labeled [DeviceList] contains a list of all the potentiostats in the system. Each entry in this section
corresponds to a potentiostat in the system. The entry name is the name of the “GAMRY.INI” section that
describes this potentiostat. In the sample file, the [DeviceList] contains only one entry (for Pstat0).
"GAMRY.INI" also contains potentiostat calibration information. Each potentiostat's data is in its section. You
do not normally have to edit the calibration data which is automatically created and updated by the calibration
routine built into the software.
The [Pstat#] section also contains the AUXDACRES field which you may need to change. See below for
details.
6-6
Appendix C -- Changing The Default PC4 Settings -- About the "GAMRY.INI" File
Figure C-1
Portion of a Typical "GAMRY.INI" File
[Framework]
LineFreq=60
PACKAGE0=DC105
[InterruptList]
IRQ10=
[DeviceList]
Pstat0=
[Pstat0]
;This is a PC4 Potentiostat Section
Label=PC4_1
CMSDriver=PC4.DLL
IRQLevel=10
BaseAddress=0x120
PstatClass=PC4
BoardNo=1
FraCurveClass=FRACURVE4
AuthDC105=1234567890
Changing "GAMRY.INI" using Setup
The Setup program that comes with Gamry Instruments' software can automatically make changes in the
"GAMRY.INI" file. You can use this program to change the base address, the interrupt level, and PStat identifier
information in "GAMRY.INI".
The Setup program for each Gamry Instruments' application software package can generally be used to alter the
sections of the "GAMRY.INI" file that apply to that application.
Using Notepad to alter "GAMRY.INI"
It is often convenient to use an ASCII editor to make small changes in the "GAMRY.INI" file. The Notepad
accessory included with Windows is a useful ASCII editor. Please read the Microsoft documentation for full
instructions about using Notepad.
6-7
Appendix C -- Changing The Default PC4 Settings -- Adding a New PC4 to an Existing System
Adding a New PC4 to an Existing System
To add a new PC4 to a system that already contains one or more PC4s, you need to do the following:
•
Set the board number switches for the PC4 Potentiostat to be added.
•
Add the potentiostat card set to the computer.
•
Add potentiostat information to "GAMRY.INI".
Setting the Board Number Switches on an PC4 Potentiostat
Each potentiostat in a multiple potentiostat system must be set for a unique board number. The board number
is set using a DIP switch on the Controller Card.
To change the board number switch settings on a PC4 proceed as follows:
1.
Determine the desired board number for this PC4. Board numbers should be sequential starting
with board number 1. For example, a two potentiostat system has its cards configured as board
numbers 1 and 2.
2.
Locate S101, the four pole DIP switch in the middle right side of the Controller Card.
3.
The ON position of the switches is marked on the body of the switch.
4.
The order of the switches is S101-1 on the left, S101-4 on the right. This also is marked on the body
of the switch.
5.
Set the switches S101-1 and S101-2 from Table C-1. The switch settings are read across the row
labeled with the desired board number. Do not change the settings of S101-3 and S101-4!
6.
Double check that the change has been made correctly.
7.
Label the outside of the metal bracket with the new board number.
Table C-1
Switch Setting for Different Board Numbers
Board
Number
1
2
3
4
1
ON
OFF
ON
OFF
S1012
ON
ON
OFF
OFF
Installing the PC4 in the Computer
Please follow the instructions in Chapter 2 to install the new card set in the computer. You will need two card
slots for each additional PC4 to be installed.
Adding Potentiostat Information to "GAMRY.INI" using Setup
The easiest way to add the new information to "GAMRY.INI" is to rerun the Gamry Instruments Setup program.
You can skip over the file copy portion of Setup. Enter the new information in the dialog box that asks for
potentiostat information.
6-8
Appendix C -- Changing The Default PC4 Settings -- Removing a Potentiostat from an Existing System
Manually Adding Potentiostat Information to "GAMRY.INI"
Before you can add potentiostat information to "GAMRY.INI", you need to understand how potentiostats are
identified in the file. We will use the sample "GAMRY.INI" file in Figure C-1 as an aid in our discussion.
Look at the [DeviceList] section in Figure C-1. The line "Pstat0=" declares that there is a potentiostat in the
system that is further described in a [Pstat0] section. A field labeled “Pstat1=” would identify a second
potentiostat, “Pstat2” the third potentiostat, and so on.
Suppose you are adding another PC4 Potentiostat to this system. You must add the line:
Pstat1=
to the [DeviceList] section of your "GAMRY.INI" file.
You also must add a [Pstat1] section to the file. In general, you can copy the information in an existing section.
Make sure that you change the BoardNo= field to match the setting on the board.
You also have to add one or more authorization codes to the new [Pstat1] section of "GAMRY.INI". Each
Gamry Instruments program requires a unique 10 digit authorization code before it will use a specific
potentiostat. If the Framework does not find a valid authorization code, it will not take data. See the Gamry
Framework Installation Manual for more information on this topic.
Your original shipping documentation should contain all the authorization codes that you need to operate your
system.
If you do use Notepad to alter "GAMRY.INI", you must restart Windows before you can be sure the change to
"GAMRY.INI" is effective.
Removing a Potentiostat from an Existing System
To remove a potentiostat from a system you need to do two things. The first is to physically remove the card
set from the computer. The second is to remove the potentiostat's PstatX= field from the [DeviceList] section in
the "GAMRY.INI" file (where X stands for the zero based board number of the potentiostat you are removing).
Interrupt Level Setting
Most peripheral devices in an AT compatible computer coordinate I/O (input/output) operations with the
microprocessor by means of hardware interrupts. An interrupt is a request by a device that the computer
suspend the program it's currently running, and perform an I/O operation. The PC4 Potentiostat generates an
interrupt at the end of each data point.
An IBM AT compatible computer allows for 16 levels of hardware interrupts. In a Gamry Instruments system,
all the potentiostats use the same interrupt level. This interrupt level cannot be used by other system functions
or expansion cards.
6-9
Appendix C -- Changing The Default PC4 Settings -- Changing your I/O Register Address
Unfortunately, very few of the 16 interrupt levels are not used by AT compatible system functions or the
"common" expansion cards (e.g. video cards, serial ports, disk controllers, etc.). The interrupt levels available to
the PC4 card set were chosen as those most likely to be free for PC4 use in a normal computer configuration.
Table C-2 lists these levels along with any conflicts with levels assigned in the IBM AT Technical Reference
Manual.
Table C-2
Interrupt Level Selection
Interrupt
Level
IRQ5
IRQ10
IRQ11
IRQ15
Also
used for
LPT2
----
NOTE: All the Gamry potentiostats in a computer are generally set for the same interrupt level.
To change the interrupt level used by the potentiostats in your system, you simply change a setting in the
"GAMRY.INI" software initialization file.
If you have any uncommon expansion cards in your computer, you should consult their documentation to
determine if they can generate system interrupts. If they can, you should determine their interrupt level
setting(s), and select an Interrupt Level for your PC4(s) that does not conflict with these cards.
For example, if you determine that your computer contains a ethernet card that generates interrupts on level
10 , the interrupt level you choose for your PC4(s) cannot be 10. Assume that you choose interrupt level 11.
Follow these instructions to change the level.
1. Edit "GAMRY.INI" in the Windows directory. Windows Notepad is a convenient ASCII editor.
2. In this file, locate the [InterruptList] section.
3. Add an entry for the new level (if its not already present). The entry has the form “IRQXX=” where
XX is the level to be used. For the default IRQ setting the entry is "IRQ10=”.
4. Make sure that every [PstatN] section in the “GAMRY.INI” file has its IRQLevel field set to the new
value. In the default file, each [PstatN] section should contain the line “IRQLevel=10”.
5. Save the edited file.
The information in the altered "GAMRY.INI" file is not effective until you exit and restart the Framework. If you
have unsuccessfully attempted to run an experiment on the wrong level, you may have to power down and
restart your computer before interrupts will occur normally.
Changing your I/O Register Address
The PC4 Potentiostat card set, like virtually all IBM compatible expansion cards, has hardware registers that the
computer must be able to access. These registers are located at a specific address in the I/O (input/output)
address space of the computer's microprocessor. Addresses are expressed in the hexadecimal numbering
system where the digits are 1,2,3,4...8,9,A,B,C,D,E,F. We will always precede a hexadecimal number with the
prefix 0x, e.g. 0x22F.
6-10
Appendix C -- Changing The Default PC4 Settings -- Changing your I/O Register Address
The PC4 requires 32 I/O register addresses. Unlike most expansion cards, which cannot share I/O addresses,
all of the PC4's in a system normally are set up to use the same I/O register addresses. The board number
assigned to each PC4 prevents harmful address clashes among PC4s. However, the I/O address range used by
the PC4(s) still must not overlap with the I/O addresses used by any other device in your computer.
The 32 I/O addresses of the PC4 card can be selected to appear at a variety of locations in the I/O address
space of the computer. Table C-3 is a list of the locations that can be set using the DIP switch on the Controller
Card. Addresses are given as a base (starting) address of the 32 byte I/O address range.
Table C-3
I/O Address Selection
Base
Address
0x220
0x120
0x240
0x140
S1013
S101
4
ON
ON
ON
OFF
OFF
ON
OFF
OFF
Address Range
hex
decimal
0x220-0x23F
544-575
0x120-0x13F
288-319
0x240-0x25F
576-607
0x140-0x15F
320-351
If you have any uncommon expansion cards in your computer, you should consult their documentation to
determine the location of their I/O registers. If their register locations conflict with the default address range of
0x120-0x13F, determine a new base address from Table C-3 that does not conflict with any of your cards.
For example, suppose you determine that your computer contains a tape backup controller that uses I/O
registers at addresses 0x130-0x13F. These clash with the default PC4 I/O addresses 0x120-0x13F. Therefore,
the PC4 base I/O address must be changed. Assume that you choose a new base I/O address of 0x140. This
base I/O address level and its associated S101 switch settings should be entered into the PC4 DIP switches and
the "GAMRY.INI" file.
6-11
Appendix C -- Changing The Default PC4 Settings -- Changing your I/O Register Address
To change the I/O Address on your PC4s, proceed as follows:
1.
Determine the desired I/O address. See above discussion.
2.
Locate S101, the four pole DIP switch in the middle right side of the Controller Card.
3.
The ON position of the switches is marked on the body of the switch.
4.
The order of the switches is S101-1 on the left, S101-4 on the right. This also is marked on the body
of the switch.
5.
Set the switches S101-3 and S101-4 from Table C-3. The switch settings are read across the row
labeled with the desired I/O address. Do not change the settings of S101-1 and S101-2!
6.
Double check that the change has been made correctly.
7.
Repeat 1-6 for any other PC4s Potentiostats in your system.
The procedure for manually changing "GAMRY.INI" to reflect the new I/O address setting is:
1.
Edit "GAMRY.INI" in the Windows directory. Windows Notepad is a convenient ASCII editor.
2.
In each [PstatN] section, locate the line BaseAddress=0xYYY, where YYY is the old I/O base address.
For the default "GAMRY.INI" YYY is 120.
3.
Enter the new base address in place of the YYY in this line. For example, if the new base address is
0x140, the line should read BaseAddress=0x140.
4.
Save the edited file.
The information in the altered "GAMRY.INI" file is not effective until you exit and restart the Framework.
6-12
Appendix C -- Changing The Default PC4 Settings -- Changing the Auxiliary Analog Output Scaling
Changing the Auxiliary Analog Output Scaling
A setting in the "GAMRY.INI" file allows you to change the scaling of the D/A converter used to generate the
auxiliary analog output.
The default setting configures this D/A converter for a bipolar output of ± 5 volts with a bit resolution of 2.5
mV/bit. You can switch to a unipolar output of 0 to 10 volts, still with a bit resolution of 2.5 mV/bit.
The D/A scaling is controlled by a field in the [PStat#] section of the "GAMRY.INI" file. This field has the form:
AUXDACRES=2.5E-3,0
The final 0 indicates that the scaling is bipolar. If this digit was a 1, the scaling would be unipolar.
6-13
Appendix C -- Changing The Default PC4 Settings -- Changing the Auxiliary Analog Output Scaling
6-14
Appendix D -- I/O Connections for the PC4 -- CE Compliance, EMI and Cable Shielding
Appendix D -- I/O Connections for the PC4
The PC4 Potentiostat has a number of connectors that allow it to communicate electronically with the world
outside of the computer. This appendix describes these connectors and the signals available on their pins.
CE Compliance, EMI and Cable Shielding
The European Community has instituted standards limiting radio frequency interference (EMI) from electronic
devices. Compliance with these standards requires that special shielded cell cable connections are used in all
CE compliant systems.
The PC4 is electrically floating. Its connections to the electrochemical cell under test are not connected in any
way to earth ground. While this is advantageous for testing many types of electrochemical systems, it can result
in significant radio frequency (RF) interference.
The interior of a personal computer is filled with RF energy. The computer's earth grounded enclosure
prevents the escape of this energy.
Now consider the case of the PC4. It is a floating potentiostat built on a board that mounts inside the
computer. The floating circuits inside the computer act as an antenna, picking up RF energy. The
potentiostat's cables can then radiate this energy outside of the enclosure, generating RF emissions.
The cell cable supplied with your PC4 has an overall shield that is connected to the computer’s chassis ground.
This shield acts as an extension of the computer’s chassis, keeping the RF emission level lower than the limits in
the regulations. Note that use of cell cables not designed and sold by Gamry Instruments can result in
excessive RF radiation.
Grounds and the PC4 Potentiostat
The PC4 has been specially designed for operation with cells in which one of the electrodes is connected to
earth ground. Earthed electrodes often occur in field experiments, because metal pipelines and structures are
generally earth grounded. In the lab, experiments involving either autoclaves or stress apparatus often have
earth grounded electrodes. Conventional potentiostats do not work properly or safely in these experiments. In
the typical glass or plastic test cell, none of the electrodes are earth grounded, so no grounding problems arise.
The PC4 analog circuits are electrically isolated from the computer's chassis which is at earth ground. Another
name for circuits that are isolated is "floating". The isolation is accomplished by means of optical isolators and
transformers.
Extraordinary measures were taken in the design of the PC4 to maximize the degree of isolation. However,
you can still measure higher impedances and smaller currents on cells that are not earth grounded than you
can on earth grounded cells.
If you are working with earth grounded electrodes, ground connections for your potentiostat are critical. You
must be careful that the floating ground connection on all PC4 connectors does not get connected to earth
ground.
6-15
Appendix D -- I/O Connections for the PC4 -- The Cell Connector
We strongly recommend that you use an earth grounded Faraday shield whenever you are measuring small
currents. See Chapter 5 for a discussion of Faraday shields.
The Cell Connector
The Cell Connector is a 9 pin female D shaped connector on the Potentiostat Card. This connector is used to
connect the PC4 to the electrochemical cell being tested. Normally you make your cell connections using the
cell cable that Gamry provides you. See Chapter 3 for a description of how the cell connections are made
using the standard cell cable.
The metal shell of this D connector is connected to the computer’s chassis (earth) ground. This is the source of
the chassis ground (earth ground) contact in the cable.
In a few cases, you will find the standard cell cable is inadequate for your needs. You may find that you need
to modify a cell cable or make a special purpose cable. By far, the easiest changes involve modifying a
standard cell cable. We can sell you an extra cell cable for this purpose. If you do need to make a completely
new cable, the pin out of the cell connector is given in Table D-1. We recommend that you use shielded
cables for all the cell connections. Coax cable is preferred. Connect the shield of the coax to the pin shown in
Table D-1 on the PC4 end, and leave the shield open on the cell end. Make sure that all pins are isolated from
each other.
Cell cables longer than 3 meters may result in degraded instrument performance. Increased noise and
decreased stability both can occur. However, with most cells, the instrument will work acceptably with an
extended cell cable, so our advice is go ahead and try it. As a rule, you should not attempt to use current
interrupt IR compensation with cell cables longer than 5 meters.
6-16
Appendix D -- I/O Connections for the PC4 -- Control Signal Input
Table D-1
Cell Connector
Pin
1
Signal Name
Working Sense
2
WS Shield
3
Working Electrode
4
WE Shield
5
Ground
6
Ref Electrode
7
Ref Shield
8
Counter Sense
9
Counter Electrode
Use
Normally connected to the working electrode. This is the
high impedance negative input of the differential
electrometer.
A driven shield for the working sense input. Normally
connected to the outer shield of a coax cable on pin 1.
Do not ground this pin!
The input to the PC4 current measurement circuit. The
voltage on this point can be ±1.5 volt with respect to
floating ground.
A driven shield for the working electrode input. Normally
connected to the outer shield of a coax cable on pin 3.
Do not ground this pin!
The PC4's floating ground. Should also be used to provide
a shield for the counter electrode if one is used.
Normally connected to the reference electrode. High
impedance positive input of the differential electrometer.
A driven shield for the reference electrode input.
Normally connected to the outer shield of a coax cable on
pin 6. Do not ground this pin!
Input to a voltage follower. Normally connected to the
cell’s counter electrode. Used in ZRA mode to develop a
feedback signal.
The output of the PC4 control amplifier. Normally
connected to the counter electrode of the electrochemical
cell being tested.
Control Signal Input
The Control Signal Input allows you to inject a signal into the PC4's potential or current control circuits. One
use for this input is modulation of the applied voltage or current.
This input is the lowest SMC connector on the Controller Card minipanel. See Figure D-1 for the identity of all
the SMC connectors on this minipanel.
Note that the shell of this SMC connector is connected to the PC4's floating ground. Connecting an earth
ground referenced signal source to this input will cause problems if you are using the PC4 with a cell that has
an earth grounded electrode.
6-17
Appendix D -- I/O Connections for the PC4 -- Aux A/D Input
Figure D-1
SMC Connectors on the PC4 Controller Card Minipanel
Aux A/D Input
I Channel Output
V Channel Output
Control Signal Input
In controlled potential mode (and ZRA mode), the potential applied to the cell is the sum of the applied
potential and the control input voltage. For example, if the programmed voltage is +2 volts, and +1 volt is
applied to the control input, the cell voltage (Ework - Eref) will be +3 volt. The input impedance of this input is
10 kΩ. Adding a control resistor, Rext, in series with the input allows you to alter the scaling factors. The
equation describing the relationship is:
Vcell = Vsig x 10 kΩ/ (Rext + 10 kΩ)
Vsig is the signal applied to the resistor and Vcell is the resulting cell voltage. If 90 kΩ is added in series, a 1 volt
signal will be attenuated to cause only a 100 mV cell voltage.
In controlled current mode, you will get full scale current for 3 volts applied to this connector. The current will
vary with the current range. For example, on the 30 mA range, 1.5 volts will give you 15 mA of cell current.
The sign is such that a positive input gives you a cathodic current.
Aux A/D Input
This input allows you to measure an externally generated voltage signal. The Aux A/D input is the upper of the
SMC connectors on the PC4 Controller Card's minipanel. See Figure D-1 for the identity of all the SMC
connectors on this minipanel.
Uses of this input include the measurement of temperature, strain, or other non-electrochemical parameters.
This input is fully differential, with about 80 dB of common mode rejection. Be careful though, the allowed
common mode voltage range is only ± 11 volts with respect to the floating ground. Voltages outside this range
should not damage the instrument but they cannot be measured.
The scaling on this signal is ± 3 volts full scale, resulting in ± 30,000 counts on the A/D converter.
The signal conditioning circuitry on this input changed significantly between revision E and revision F of the
PC4 Controller Card. The circuitry on revision E and lower had a fixed 25 kΩ input impedence and did not
allow for input filtering. Higher revision boards include jumpers to select both input impedence and
bandwidth.
See Appendix E for a description of these changes.
6-18
Appendix D -- I/O Connections for the PC4 -- V Channel Output
V Channel Output
This output reflects the cell voltage signal as seen by the PC4 A/D converter. The V Channel output is the
lower-middle SMC connector on the PC4 Controller Card's minipanel. See Figure D-1 for the identity of all the
SMC connectors on this minipanel.
The signal on this connector has been through a long and complex analog signal processing chain. It may have
been filtered, offset by a DC voltage, and gained. All of these functions are under computer control. The
meaning of the signal on this connector is therefore highly dependent on the program controlling the PC4 and
cannot be described simply here. The one thing that can be said concerns polarity. If this signal becomes
more positive as a result of changes in the cell potential, the cell voltage has become more anodic.
Note that the shell of this SMC connector is connected to the PC4's floating ground. Connecting an earth
ground referenced measurement device to this output can cause problems if you are using the PC4 with a cell
that has an earth grounded electrode.
I Channel Output
This output reflects the cell current signal as seen by the PC4 A/D converter. The I Channel output is the
upper-middle SMC connector on the PC4 Controller Card's minipanel. See Figure D-1 for the identity of all
the SMC connectors on this minipanel.
The signal on this connector has been through a long and complex analog signal processing chain. It may have
been filtered, offset by a DC voltage, and gained. All of these functions are under computer control. The
meaning of the signal on this connector is therefore highly dependent on the program controlling the PC4 and
cannot be described simply here. The one thing that can be said concerns polarity. If this signal becomes
more positive as a result of changes in the cell potential, the cell current has become more cathodic.
Note that the shell of this SMC connector is connected to the PC4's floating ground. Connecting an earth
ground referenced measurement device to this output can cause problems if you are using the PC4 with a cell
that has an earth grounded electrode.
6-19
Appendix D -- I/O Connections for the PC4 -- Miscellaneous I/O Connector
Miscellaneous I/O Connector
This connector contains a number of chassis ground related signals. It is the miniature 15 pin female D shaped
connector on the PC4 Controller Card. Be careful, the ground on this connector is not the PC4 floating
ground. Connecting the two grounds may lead to problems if you are using the PC4 in a floating mode.
The auxiliary analog output, derived from a D/A converter, is on this connector. The scaling is normally 2.5 mV
per bit, for a ± 5 volt full scale range. These ranges can be altered via the AUXDACRES field in the
"GAMRY.INI" file.
The pin out of this connector is shown in Table D-3.
Table D-3
Miscellaneous I/O Connector
Pin
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
Name
Analog Output Low
Analog Output High
no connection
Start of Point
End Of Point
Ground
Digital Out 0
Digital Out 1
Digital Out 2
Digital Out 3
Digital In 0
Digital In 1
Digital In 2
Digital In 3
+5 Volts
Use
The auxiliary output ground connection.
The auxiliary output signal.
A TTL pulse before the start of a data point
A 1 µsec TTL pulse at the end of each data point
Digital ground
A CMOS digital output- 330 Ω output impedance
A CMOS digital output- 330Ω output impedance
A CMOS digital output- 330Ω output impedance
A CMOS digital output- 330Ω output impedance
A TTL digital input- 2.2 kΩ input impedance
A TTL digital input- 2.2 kΩ input impedance
A TTL digital input- 2.2 kΩ input impedance
A TTL digital input- 2.2 kΩ input impedance
Power- 100 mA maximum current
6-20
Appendix E – Auxilary A/D Input Characteristics -- Overview
Appendix E – Auxilary A/D Input Characteristics
Overview
The Controller Card used in the Gamry Instruments PC4 Potentiostat and the FAS1 Femtostat has undergone a
number of changes over its lifetime.
One of the changes was a major modification of the input circuitry used for the Aux A/D function. Early
revisions of the Controller Card only allowed connection of low impedance, quiet signals to this input. Revision
F (and higher) cards allow for connection of higher impedance signals and for filtering of noisy input signals
prior to A/D conversion. Three new jumpers added to the board control access to these features.
Identifying Your Controller Card Revision
A label on the lower left side of your Controller Card will identify the revision of the card. The revision
generally consists of a capital letter followed by a number. The letter identifies the printed circuit board
revision. For example, revision F1 uses a revision F printed circuit board. The bulk of the descriptions in this
document do not apply if you have a board revision lower than Rev F.
Revision E and Lower – Characteristics
Revision E (and lower) boards have an Aux A/D input with fixed characteristics. The input impedence is 25 kΩ
and the bandwidth is not limited by a filter. If your board is earlier than revision F, disregard the rest of this
appendix because it does not apply to your instrument.
Jumper Identification
J604 J603
J602
The three jumpers that configure the Aux A/D input are
in a cluster located at the left side of the Controller
Card. The four coax cables that route analog I/O to
the card enter the card just above these jumpers. J603
and J604 are located immediately below the cables.
J602 is lower and perpendicular to J603 and J604. See
the figure to the right for jumper locations.
Input Impedance Selection
Two jumpers are associated with the input impedance – J603 and J604. With J603 and J604 installed, the Aux
A/D inputs have a 100 kΩ input impedance. This is the default setting. With the jumpers installed, the
potentiostat can be calibrated without a cable on the input SMC connector.
6-21
Appendix E – Auxilary A/D Input Characteristics -- Filter Selection
With both J603 and J604 removed, the Aux A/D input impedance is 10 GΩ (typically). This setting is suitable
for use with a high impedance source such as a reference electrode. If you have removed these jumpers, do
not calibrate the potentiostat unless you have a cable connecting both Aux A/D inputs to floating ground.
Filter Selection
J602 controls filtering of the Aux A/D input. With J602 removed, there is no filtering on this input. With J602
in place (the default setting), a single pole RC filter is used to limit noise into the A/D. The nominal cutoff
frequency of this filter is 20 Hz.
Note that source impedances greater than 1 kΩ will appreciably lower this cutoff frequency. When the Aux
A/D input is driven by a source with an output impedance of 1 MΩ, the frequency cutoff will be less than 0.25
Hz.
Revision F or Higher- Aux A/D Specifications
These specifications for the Aux A/D apply to revision F or higher boards:
Range
±3.276 volts
Input Impedance
100 kΩ (approx)
or
J603 & J604 installed
10 GΩ (typical)
J603 & J604 removed
Input Bias Current
< 10 nA
J603 & J604 removed
Filter Cutoff
20 Hz ± 20%
J602 in place with
Zsource < 1 kΩ
6-22
Comprehensive Index --
Comprehensive Index
GAMRY.INI, 2-5, 6-5, 6-6, 6-9, 6-10
green cell lead, 3-1
grounds, 6-15
[Framework] Section in GAMRY.INI, 6-6
hexadecimal numbers, 1-5
high frequency shunt, 4-3
hints, 5-5
0x for Hexadecimal Numbers, 1-5
alligator clip, 3-2
ancillary apparatus, 5-8
autoclave, 6-15
Aux A/D Input, 6-18
auxiliary electrode, 3-1
I Channel Output, 6-19
I/O address, 2-3, 6-10
I/O connections, 6-15
input capacitance, 5-1
input current, 5-1
input impedance, 5-1
input leakage current, 5-4
installation
card set, 6-8
Controller Card, 2-4
interrupt level, 2-3
changing, 6-9
IRQLevel, 6-10
black banana
longer, 3-2
blue cell lead, 3-1
board number, 2-3, 6-8
calibration, 2-5
data, 6-6
capacitive cells, 4-1
CE Compliance, 6-15
cell cable, 3-1
replacements and specials, 3-2
ZRA connections, 3-2
cell connector
pinout, 6-16
cell construction materials, 5-6
computer requirements, 2-1
computers - noise, 5-5
Control Signal Input, 6-17
conventions
notational, 1-5
positional, 2-2
counter electrode, 3-1
Johnson noise, 5-2
lead capacitance, 5-6
lead placement, 5-6
longer black banana plug, 3-2
Lugin capillaries, 5-7
Lugin capillary, 4-2
materials, 5-6
measurement system model, 5-1
membrane cell connections, 3-3
miscellaneous I/O connector, 6-20
motors, 5-5
noise, 5-4
Notepad, 6-6, 6-7
DIP switch, 6-8
DIP switches, 2-3, 6-5, 6-11
orange lead, 3-1
Orange lead, 3-1
oscillation, 4-1
earth ground, 3-2, 5-5, 5-7
EIS speed, 5-7
electrical noise, 5-5
electrons per second, 5-1
EMI, 6-15
PC4, 1-1, 6-8
floating ground, 6-15, 6-17, 6-19
installing, 6-8
PC4/300, 1-1
PC4/750, 1-1
Faraday shield, 3-2, 5-5
floating card, 1-2
floating ground, 3-2
floating operation, 5-7
fluorescent lights, 5-5
radio transmitters, 5-5
red cell lead, 3-1
reference electrode, 3-1
Gamry Framework, 1-1
7-1
Comprehensive Index -reference electrode impedance, 5-7
reference electrodes, 5-7
removing a card set, 6-9
ringing, 4-1
schematic, 1-2
shorter black lead, 3-2
small signals, 5-1
stability, 4-1
static discharges, 2-2
stress apparatus, 6-15
turn-key system, 2-1
V Channel Output, 6-19
voltage noise, 5-4
white cell lead, 3-1
working electrode, 3-1
ZRA
cell connections, 3-2
7-2
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