1963 , Volume v.15 n.3 , Issue Nov-1963

1963 , Volume v.15 n.3 , Issue Nov-1963
HEWLETT-PACKARD
JOURNAL
T E C H N I C A L
I N F O R M A T I O N
F R O M
T H E
- d p -
l A B O R A i O R I E S
Vol. 15, No. 3
PUBLISHED BY THE HEWLETT-PACKARD COMPANY, 1501 PAGE MILL ROAD, PALO ALTO, CALIFORNIA
NOVEMBER, 1963
A New Multi -Purpose Digital Voltmeter
1 HE accuracy and speed with which digital volt
meters make dc voltage measurements have made
these instruments extremely useful in a variety
of applications. One of their attractive properties
is that the digital readout has greater resolution
than a meter and is less likely to be misread, par
ticularly by unskilled
SEE ALSO:
personnel. Also, data in
Extremely flat response
detector, p. 8
digital form may be
processed or stored without loss of accuracy, a
feature which has made digital voltmeters the
basic element in automatic data acquisition sys
tems.
The high precision, i.e. resolution, attainable
with a digital display is of particular interest to
many users. Precision of readability by itself,
however, is not a guarantee of measurement ac
curacy. There is an analog device behind every
digital voltmeter display, and the voltmeter can
be no more accurate than its associated analog
circuitry.
With this fact in mind, a new digital voltmeter
has been designed whose accuracy has been con
servatively specified to be within ±0.05% of
reading ±1 count. This accuracy holds for long
periods of time under a wide range of environ
mental conditions.
Actually, the calibration of the new voltmeter
is held at the factory within ±0.01% of reading
± 1 count, the maximum precision obtainable with
—648.7
--64.87
6.487
— +10.5
—+10.49
10.487
Decimal
Point
Position
Polarity
or
Overrange
Fig. 1. Front panel plug-ins adapt Model 3440A Digital Volt
meter to manual or automatic ranging for bench use or remote
ranging for systems use. Unit shown in center foreground is
working with -hp- Model 562A Printer to record voltage/tem
perature characteristics of circuit operating in environmental
chamber. New voltmeter measures dc voltages to an accuracy
better than 0.05% of reading ±1 count.
P R I N T E D
I N
Fig. 2. Printed tape sample shows volt
meter output recorded by -hp- Model
562A Printer. Number 9 in polarity
column indicates overrange; blank
means plus. Numeral in decimal point
column is negative exponent of XlO
multiplier. Numbers shown at right in
terpret recorded values.
C O P Y R I G H T
U . S . A .
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
1 9 6 3
H E W L E T T - P A C K A R D
C O
include a basic manual ranging
unit, providing ranges of 10, 100,
and 1000 volts full scale, and an
automatic ranging unit which can
be remotely controlled. Plug-ins
under development include a high
gain preamplifier, allowing 100
millivolts full scale on the most
sensitive range, and a multi-meter
plug-in which will measure current
and resistance in addition to volt
age.
OverRange
Indicator
Fig. 3. Block diagram of -hp- 3440A Digital Voltmeter.
the 4-digit readout. The formal spe
cification of accuracy is relaxed by
a factor of five to 0.05% to allow for
aging of the range attenuator and
/.ener-diode reference and also to
permit use of the voltmeter in a
variety of environmental condi
tions. Any drift associated with the
analog-to-digital conversion system
does not enter into the accuracy
specification since it can be quickly
checked and calibrated out at the
front panel by use of the precision
internal reference voltage.
One source of inaccuracies, of
particular concern with high-resolu
tion voltmeters, is the impedance of
the voltage source being measured.
Since the voltmeter's input imped
ance has been designed to be con
stant regardless of range or sample
rate, the error caused by the 10.2
megohm dc input impedance of the
Model 3440A Voltmeter is predict
able at approximately 0.01% per
1000 ohms in circuits with imped
ances higher than 1000 ohms. The
voltmeter input impedance has neg
ligible effect on the voltage of a
source that has an impedance of less
than 1000 ohms.
PLUG-IN ADAPTABILITY
The voltmeter is designed for use
with front-panel plug-ins, thus per
mitting the basic instrument to be
adapted to a large variety of appli
cations. Presently available plug-ins
Fig. rectangular Model 3440 A Digital Voltmeter uses closely-spaced rectangular
Nixie- Readout to achieve numerical display with readable span. Readout
system has display storage which retains previous reading while new
measurement cycle is in process, insuring steady, flickerless display that
changes only when input voltage changes. Front panel calibrate button
furnishes quick operational check of voltmeter accuracy.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
READOUT SYSTEM
The 4-digit display uses closespaced, rectangular Nixie® tubes in
addition to polarity, decimal point,
and function indicators. A display
storage feature, as on the — hp— solidstate counters, retains the reading
from the previous sample while a
new measurement is being made;
the displayed numerals therefore
remain steady, changing only if the
new reading differs from the pre
vious one.
The measurement (sample) rate
may be varied by a front panel con
trol from greater than 5 per second
to less than 1 per 5 seconds. The
voltmeter makes accurate measure
ments quickly, achieving the rated
0.05% accuracy within 450 milli
seconds after a step change of input
voltage. A HOLD position on the
SAMPLE RATE control retains any
given measurement on display in
definitely. The HOLD position also
enables a measurement to be ini
tiated by external control.
The voltmeter makes measure
ments to 5% above full scale with
full accuracy on any range, thus ob
taining 5-digit resolution just above
the decade range switching points.
In effect, this amounts to a range
overlap. An overrange measurement
is indicated as such by the illumi
nated OVERRANGE indicator on the
front panel.
Full overload protection to 1100
volts is provided on all ranges. The
input circuit is floating and can
ence between these two pulses is a
direct analog of the difference be
tween the unknown signal voltage
and signal ground.
The time difference is converted
to digital form by the counting of
clock pulses. The first-occurring
comparator coincidence pulse opens
a count gate, enabling the counters
DESIGN APPROACH
The Model 3440A Digital Volt to operate, and the second pulse
meter uses a voltage-to-time-interval closes the gate to terminate the
conversion system as outlined in count. The first comparator pulse
Fig. 3. The time interval is evalu also starts a Colpitts oscillator
ated by digital counter techniques which provides the clock pulses.
By appropriate choice of ramp
to obtain the digital display.
The unknown voltage, appropri slope (400 v/sec) and clock pulse
ately attenuated, is applied to a repetition rate (400 kc) the total
comparator to which a linearly-de count displayed corresponds to in
creasing ramp is also applied. When put millivolts. Range switching
the ramp voltage becomes equal to operates an input attenuator and
the unknown voltage, a coincidence places the decimal point so that the
pulse is generated, as shown by the display reads directly in volts.
Input polarity is determined by a
timing diagram in Fig. 5. The ramp
voltage is also applied to a zero circuit that detects which compara
reference comparator which has sig tor pulse occurred last and displays
nal ground for its other input. a plus or minus sign accordingly.
Again, when the ramp voltage be When readings are taken above full
comes equal to signal ground, a scale, an overflow pulse from the
coincidence pulse is generated by decade counters (the 10,000th pulse
this comparator. The time differ counted) operates an overrange bin-
measure voltage sources that are up
to ±400 volts off ground.
The instrument is completely
transistorized with no electricalmechanical moving parts other than
reed relays for attenuator switching
and two non-signal relays in the
automatic ranging plug-in.
Fig. 5. Timing diagram of 3440A Digi
tal Voltmeter. Solid lines show opera
tion when input voltage is positive and
dotted lines show operation with nega
tive input voltage. Polarity-sensing
circuit determines whether input coin
cidence pulse or zero-reference coinci
dence pulse occurs last, and switches
plus-minus Nixie indicator accordingly.
ary which in turn illuminates the
OVERRANGE indicator.
THE VOLTAGE COMPARATORS
The all-solid-state voltage com
parators of the new digital volt
meter are of special interest. The
basic design requirements for the
comparator circuits were: sensing
level considerably less than one mil-
VOLTMETER
PLUG-INS
&
©
MODEL 3441A
MANUAL SELECTOR PLUG-IN
The two plug-in units presently avail
able for the 3440A Digital Voltmeter
are the 3441A Manual Range Selector
and the 3442A Automatic Range Selec
tor. In addition to range selection, both
plug-ins provide the decimal point in
dication for the voltmeter and gather
the necessary polarity, overrange, and
decimal information for the digital re
corder input.
Choice of range with the Manual
Range Selector is made from the plugin front panel by a switch which selects
the 10 volt, 100 volt, or 1000 volt range.
Since the new digital voltmeter has an
overrange indicator and cannot be dam
aged by overloads to 1100 volts on any
range, the correct range for an un
known voltage is found easily.
The Automatic Range Selector plugin uses signals and control voltages
from the digital voltmeter to place the
instrument on the proper voltage range
automatically. If the selected range is
too low, the OVERRANGE signal immedi
ately causes an automatic uprange. If
the range is too high (no count regis
tered in the leading significant digit),
the plug-in downranges. A built-in hys
teresis, however, prevents downranging
unless the voltage drops to less than
90% of full scale of the lower range.
This prevents slight input voltage per
turbations or attenuator tolerance over
lap from causing erratic range shifting
at the decade range change points.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
MODEL 3442A
AUTOMATIC RANGE SELECTOR
PLUG-IN
As an aid in general purpose meas
urements, the sample rate is automatic
ally increased to the maximum rate
when a range change is initiated. This
speed-up lasts for less than one second
but insures that the voltmeter quickly
switches to the correct range and ac
curately displays the input voltage
without delay.
The Automatic Range Selector also
has manual range selection to allow use
of the new digital voltmeter's overrange capabilities.
CR4,
Back- biasing
Diode
Extreme care has been exercised
in selection of the components that
determine the ramp slope to ensure
ramp stability with respect to time
Fig. 6. Input volt and temperature. The temperature
age comparator
circuit. Zero refer coefficient of ramp reference zener
ence comparator diode CR6 matches that of the basecircuit is similar
except that circuit emitter junction of ramp generator
ground is used as input transistor Ql . Likewise, ramp
input voltage.
charging resistor R5 has a positive
temperature coefficient which can
cels the negative temperature coeffi
cient of precision polystyrene ramp
capacitor C3.
THE GATED OSCILLATOR
livolt (i.e., circuit noise and equiva
lent time jitter approximately 100
microvolts); high input impedance
(in excess of 10,000 megohms); low
leakage currents (less than one
nanoampere); and good tempera
ture stability (less than one millivolt
drift in sensing level from 0°C to
55°C).
These needs were met by an un
usual voltage comparator. As shown
in Fig. 6, a matched pair of diodes
(CR1 and CR2) with common cath
odes is ac-coupled to a gain-stable
current amplifier which in turn is
coupled to a high-level voltage com
parator. The anode of diode CR1 is
connected to the source of the ramp
voltage while the other anode (CR2)
is connected to the unknown input
signal voltage. A constant current is
supplied to the common cathodes.
The ramp, originating at a poten
tial greater than full scale input
voltage, initially forward-biases
diode CR1, thereby reverse-biasing
diode CR2.
When the linearly decreasing
ramp voltage approaches the input
voltage, diode CR2 begins to con
duct. This current change is capacitively-coupled to the current ampli
fier and converted to an equivalent
voltage. When this voltage reaches
a fixed level, which was chosen to
correspond to a current in CR2
equal to that being drawn by ramp
diode CR1, it triggers the. high-level
voltage comparator, a bistable cir
cuit. The diode pair immediately
is reverse-biased through diode CR3
so that no further energy is removed
from the input circuit. Also, a small
amount of charge is transferred
back through CR4 into input capaci
tor Cl to replace the charge (about
500 pico-coulombs) which was re
moved during the act of compari
son. This removes any loading of
the input attenuator circuit by the
comparator and eliminates offsets
caused by source impedance varia
tions.
RAMP LINEARITY
One of the fundamental accuracy
limits of any digital system is the
resolution of the least significant
digit. Since the time interval being
measured in the new digital volt
meter is between two pulses which
occur at arbitrary points in time,
clock pulse ambiguities can exist
around both the first and second
comparator pulses.
To reduce this effect, the clock
pulse oscillator is turned on by the
first pulse so that the clock pulses
are synchronized with respect to the
first comparator pulse. This is made
possible by holding the Colpitts LC
oscillator with tank capacitors fully
charged but with no current in the
tank inductance. The current path
through the inductance is closed by
saturation of a series transistor,
thereby starting the oscillator im
mediately at full amplitude from a
predicted state.
The initial calibration accuracy
of 0.01% of reading ±one count
includes allowances for the input
attenuator, comparator drift, and
ramp linearity. (Oscillator fre
quency drift and ramp slope varia
tions do not limit rated instrument
accuracy since these may be cor
rected simultaneously by front
panel calibration against the inter
nal reference.) To permit this accu
racy, the ramp must be extremely
linear.
The ramp is generated by a boot
strap circuit which has high loop
gain and feedback to the internal
ramp amplifier. The feedback cir
cuit ensures that the ramp capacitor
charging current is constant for
the duration of the ramp and that Fig. 7. Ramp generator circuit achieves
variations in transistor parameters exceptional linearity with feedback
amplifier having input impedance of
have no effect.
nearly 1,000 megohms.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
RESOLUTION AND ACCURACY
The numerical resolution on the
lowest range (10 v) is 1 millivolt.
Actually, the instrument may be
calibrated to within a fraction of a
millivolt by observing the voltage
levels at which the least significant
digit flickers to the next higher or
lower number. The flicker, or un
certainty, turns out to be about 0.3
microsecond of ramp or 100 micro
volts of the measured voltage.
The specification of accuracy al
lows for aging and for the tempera
ture coefficients of the reference
zener diode and the input range re
sistors. The nine-volt reference di
ode has a maximum temperature
coefficient of ±0.001% per degree C
over the instrument operational
temperature range. A precision volt
age divider across the diode is ad
justed at the factory to provide a
— 8.000 volt input reference for cal
ibrating the voltmeter.
The input range resistors are ad
justed at the factory to better than
0.005% accuracy. These have a max
imum temperature coefficient of ±5
ppm per degree and a long term
stability of ±100 ppm per year. By
proper readjustment of the trim
mers associated with the reference
diode and range resistors, the in
strument may be reset to its original
factory accuracy of ±0.01% of read
ing ±1 count in the event of any
detectable long term resistance drift.
DIGITAL OR ANALOG RECORDING
The new voltmeter is designed to
drive directly the -hp- Model 562A
Digital Recorder or Model 580A
Digital-Analog Converter. Each of
the four digits, together with polar
ity, decimal, and overrange infor
mation, is represented by four-line,
binary-coded decimal voltages in
the 1-2-2* -4 weighted code, avail
able at a rear-panel connector.
The voltmeter-recorder combina
tion operates at a sampling rate de
termined by the voltmeter SAMPLE
RATE control, or by an external
Fig. 8. Specified
accuracy limits of
Model 3440 A Dig
ital Voltmeter
show maximum
possible errors.
Digital error
arises from finite
resolution of digi
tal readout and
vanishes when
ever digitized
value coincides
exactly with ac
tual input voltage.
trigger when the SAMPLE RATE con
trol is in the HOLD position. Printer
action is initiated by a print com
mand pulse from the sample rate
multivibrator. When the 3442A
Automatic Range Selector plug-in
unit is being used, the print com
mand pulse is held off for approxi
mately 500 ms after the start of an
automatic range change. This pre
vents the recorder from printing er
roneous voltage information while
the voltmeter is settling down on a
new range.
REMOTE CONTROL
A 36-pin remote control jack on
the rear panel of the new voltmeter
permits a range change on remote
SPECIFICATIONS
-fipMODEL 3440A
DC DIGITAL VOLTMETER
Voltage Range: 4-digit presentation of
9.999, 99.99 and 999.9 volts full scale;
5% overrange capability with indicator.
Full overload protection on all ranges.
Accuracy: ±0.05% of reading ±1 digit
with line voltage variations of ±10%
from nominal throughout temperature
range between +15°C and +40°C;
±0.1% of reading ±1 digit for tem
perature range of 0°C to +55°C.
Sample Rate: Greater than 5 samples per
second to less than 1 sample per 5 sec
onds with display storage between sam
ples. HOLD position displays single
measurement indefinitely or permits ex
ternal initiation of samples by applica
tion of +10 volt pulse.
Range Selection:
WITH 3441A: Manual.
WITH 3442A: Manual, automatic, and
programmed. Range Change Speed —
Automatic: achieves accurate reading
within 500 ms after new voltage is ap
plied. Programmed: changes range with
in 40 ms.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
Possible Digital Error
L (±1 Count Ambiguity)
4
0
6
0
8
0
(1 OF FULL SCALE)
command when the voltmeter is
used with the 3442A Automatic
Range Selector plug-in unit. The
desired range may be selected either
by a contact closure or by a transis
tor switch, enabling the new volt
meter to be used in digital data
acquisition systems.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The design group for the new
voltmeter included Donald E. Barkley, Charles W. Near, and project
leader David S. Cochran. Paul G.
Baird and Peter Kertesz developed
the plug-ins and the mechanical de
sign was by Tor Larsen.
—David S. Cochran
and Charles W. Near
Input Impedance: 10.2 megohms (dc) on
all ranges.
Input Filter:
AC REJECTION: 30 db at 60 cps in
creasing at 12 db per octave.
RESPONSE TIME: Less than 450 ms to
a step input.
Polarity: Automatic indication.
DC Isolation: Signal pair may be operated
up to 400 volts dc from chassis ground.
Electrical Readout: 6 columns consisting
of 4 digits, polarity, and decimal posi
tion; 4-line BCD with l-2-2*-4 weighting.
"0" is —24 volts and "1" is —1 volt;
120 k£i output impedance.
Print Command: +25 volt peak pulse at
completion of each sample except dur
ing automatic range change (including
short settling time). 100 ohm source
impedance ac-coupled.
Power: 115 or 230 volts ±10%, 50 to 1000
cps; approximately 20 watts.
Weight (including 3441A Manual plug-in):
19 Ibs. net; shipping weight 24 Ibs.
Price: 3440A Digital Voltmeter
(requires plug-in): $1,160.00.
3441A Manual Selector Unit: $40.00.
3442A Automatic Range Selector:
$135.00.
Prices f.o.b. factory
Data subject to change without notice
FLAT-RESPONSE DETECTOR
(continued from p. 8)
tors. Reflection coefficient measure
ments and such measurements as
coupling and directivity of direc
tional couplers can readily be made
on a swept-frequency basis and dis
played on an oscilloscope for instant
analysis of the effects of changes
and adjustments. One Model 423A
is used to level the sweep oscillator
(with its internal amplifier) and a
second Model 423A is used to detect
the signal to be measured.
FREQUENCY (GO
Fig. 4. Frequency response of two typical Model 423 A
Crystal Detectors. Ordinate represents RF power re
quired to produce 100 millwolts output.
Detector is a result of HewlettPackard's ability to integrate semi
conductor technology and micro
wave technique in solving measure
ment problems. The crystal diode
itself was developed by —hp— to meet
performance goals unattainable
with presently available diodes. A
point contact microwave diode
alone is an extremely poor match to
50 ohm transmission line. The us
ual technique for reducing the
VSWR of broadband crystal detec
tor mounts is to place shunt and
series resistors of about 70 ohms
each ahead of the diode.
By contrast this problem is solved
in the new detector by placing a
50-ohm resistive film on the dielec
tric cyclinder which constitutes the
case of the diode. Thus, the physical
separation between rectifying con
tact and shunt resistor is minimized.
The 50-ohm film resistor is a good
match to coaxial line, and the crys
tal diode is essentially a high im
pedance shunting the resistor.
The RF bypass capacitor across
the output is an integral part of the
crystal capsule. The bypass capaci
tance is purposely kept small (about
10 pf) so that the rise and fall times
of the detected envelopes of fast RF
pulses would not be unnecessarily
degraded. If the RF bypassing is in
sufficient in a given situation, an
external low pass filter can be used.
Another factor involved in the
design of a crystal detector for level
PULSE RESPONSE
ling applications is the output re
sistance of the detector. The RC
time constant formed by the output
resistance and the bypass plus out
put cable capacitances limits the
response to fast power fluctuations.
The output resistance of the Model
423 A is less than 15,000 ohms.
The crystal capsule can be readilyreplaced in the field. The capsule
includes the 50-ohm film resistor
and RF bypass capacitor as well as
the crystal diode itself. The critical
components are supplied as a unit,
the mount playing only a minor
role in determining frequency re
sponse and VSWR.
The Model 4 23 A complements
the new line of — hp- sweep oscilla
The Model 423A is an ideal de
tector for displaying the envelopes
of fast RF pulses on an oscilloscope.
The technique is to shunt the out
put of the detector with a resistor
(usually 50 to 1000 ohms) to speed
up the response to pulses. The ob
ject is to make the RC time con
stant (shunt resistance times the
sum of RF bypass, cable and oscil
loscope input capacitances) short
compared with the pulse-envelope
buildup and decay times. Of course,
output voltage is considerably re
duced by heavy loading; conse
quently, a compromise has to be
effected between output voltage and
response time. For example, with
short cables, an output load resist
ance of 50 ohms and a peak pulse
INPUT POWER (DBM)
Fig. 5. Square-law response of typical Model 423A
Detector with and without load. Load indicated is
-hp- 11 523 A matched video load.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
4
e
FREQUENCY (GO
FREQUENCY (GO
Fig. 6. Frequency response of one
Model 423 A when another Model 423 A
was used to level the sweeper. Second
trace has Model 423 A' s reversed to em
phasize response differences between
units. This randomly-selected pair is
matched within 0.1 db. Vertical scale is
50 mv/div.
power of 50 mw, pulse buildup and
decay times down to about 5 nano
seconds can be measured with oscil
loscopes having sensitivities of 50
mv/cm or better.
The Model 423A is normally sup
plied with negative output polarity
and without a video load. Positive
SPECIFICATIONS
-hpMODEL 423A
CRYSTAL DETECTOR
Frequency Range: 10 Me to 12.4 Gc.
Frequency Response: Within ±0.5 db from
lOMc to 12.4 Gc as read on an -hpModel 416 Ratio Meter or -hp- Model
415 SWR Meter calibrated for square
law detectors.
SWR: <1.2 from 10 Me to 4.5 Gc.
<1.35 from 4.5 to 7 Gc.
<1.5 from 7 to 12.4 Gc.
Sensitivity:
HIGH LEVEL: <0.35 mw produces 100
mv output.
LOW LEVEL: >0.4 mv dc/^w cw.
Output Impedance: 15 k maximum,
shunted by 10 pf.
Detector Element: Supplied.
Maximum Input: 100 mw.
Noise: <200 ¡i\i pk-pk, with cw power ap
plied to produce 100 mv output.
Output Polarity: Negative is standard; see
Option 03 below.
Input Connector: Type N male.
Output Connector: BNC female.
Dimensions: % in. (2.2 cm) diameter, 2'/2
in. (6.4 cm) long.
Weight: Net, 4 oz. (110 gm).
Price: $125.00.
Option 02: Furnished with -hp- 11523A
video load for optimum square law char
acteristics, < ± 0.5 db variation from
square law from low level up to 50 mv
dc output. (75 k min. load, cw input.)
11523A length, 2ft6 in. (6.5 cm). Add
$20.00.
Option 03: Positive polarity output. No
extra charge. (Replacement crystal:
-hp- 00423-801, $75.00.)
Prices f.o.b. factory
Data subject to change without notice
Fig. 7. Measured VSWR of two typical -tip- Model
423A Crystal Detectors.
output polarity can be supplied as
option 03. If square-law behavior is
needed over the widest possible dy
namic range, then option 02, which
includes a selected video load resis
tor, should be specified.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The writer wishes to acknowledge
the assistance of Harold E. Hiner,
who made many valuable contribu
tions to this project.
—Russell B. Riley
APPENDIX
Tangential Sensitivity
of the
Model 423A Detector
While not designed for maximum
tangential sensitivity (the 50-ohm
RF resistor actually absorbs most of
the incident power), there may still
be applications requiring a wellmatched, broadband detector where
a knowledge of the tangential sensi
tivity of the new Model 423A De
tector would be useful. At low levels
without bias the crystal diode gen
erates no excess noise. Its noise is
simply that of a resistor equal in
value to the output resistance of the
diode. Thus the signal-to-noise ratio
at the output of the video amplifier
is given by
Signal power available
from source 1
\ Noise power available F
from source
kTBF
where y is open-circuit voltage sen
sitivity, P is RF power, Rd is crystal
diode output resistance, k is Boltzmann's constant, T is absolute tem
perature, B is bandwidth of the
video amplifier and F is the noise
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
figure (expressed as a ratio) of the
video amplifier when connected to
a source with resistance equal to Rd.
The RF power P1 required for a
signal-to-noise ratio of unity is then
P1 = Y l/kTBRdF
With a typical Model 423A (y = 0.5
mv/^w = 500 volts/watt, Rd = 5000
ohms) and a video amplifier with a
bandwidth of 1 megacycle and noise
figure of 3 db (F = 2), we have
P, = 5(50 ^(1.38xlO-=')(300)(10«)(5000)(2)
s 2.5 x 10-8 watts = 2.5 x 10-" milliwatts
s —46 (ibni
Tangential sensitivity, which is
often taken to be an RF power level
4 db more than that required for a
signal-to-noise ratio of unity, is then
— 42 dbm. A bandwidth of one meg
acycle has been assumed for this
example. Much weaker signals can
be detected with narrow-band am
plifiers of the kind used in VSWR
and reflectometer measurements.
* Since the output impedance of the 423A
is relatively low compared with other
point-contact silicon diodes, bias is usu
ally not required.
A NEW COAXIAL CRYSTAL DETECTOR
WITH EXTREMELY FLAT
FREQUENCY RESPONSE
NEW coaxial crystal detector has
been developed by the -4ip— labora
tories for such applications as level
ing microwave sources and meas
uring reflection coefficients, as well
as other uses where improved stand
ing wave ratio and flatness of fre
quency response are needed. The
state of the art has also been ad
vanced with respect to sensitivity
for broadband detectors.
The frequency range of the new
detector is 10 Me to 12.4 Gc (kMc)
with less than ±0.5 db variation in
sensitivity over the entire range.
The sensitivity is a slowly varying
function of frequency with little
"fine structure," as shown in Fig. 4.
Over narrower bandwidths (for ex
ample, over 4 to 8 Gc, or over
X-band) the performance is typi
cally much better than ±0.5 db.
Thus, any two crystal detectors can
serve as a "matched pair" for reflectometer and other similar appli
cations. The standing wave ratio is
less than 1.5 up to 12.4 Gc and is
even less at lower frequencies (see
specifications).
Fig 1. New -hp- Model 423A Crystal Detector has so
constant a frequency response over the 1240:1 range
from 10 megacycles to 12.4 gigacycles that any two of
the Detectors constitute a well-matched pair. Illustra
tion also shows optional video load which is selected
for optimum Detector square-law response.
The crystal detector is also avail
able with an external load resistor
(-hp- 1 1 523 A) selected for maxi
mum dynamic range with good
square-law response (Fig. 5). When
highest sensitivity is needed, the de
tector is simply operated without
the load resistor. Without the load,
the sensitivity is nearly three times
better than previously available
broadband crystal detectors.
The detector is also unusual in
that a noise output specification has
been added to the others normally
listed for broadband crystal detec
tors. Low noise is important, for
example, when a crystal detector is
used in a closed-loop system to level
the power output of an RF source,
since a noisy crystal causes the lev
eled RF amplitude to be "noisy!"
The — hp— production noise test sim-
ulates operation of the detector as
a leveling device. The noise voltage
is approximately proportional to
output voltage.
CONSTRUCTION
The advance in performance rep
resented by the Model 423A Crystal
(continued inside on p. 6)
FREQUENCY (GC)
Fig. 3 (a). Reflection coefficient of typi
cal Model 423A Detector. Measure
ment was made using setup of Fig. 2.
Maximum value indicated is 7.5%.
FREQUENCY (GC)
Fig. 2. Two Model 423 A Crystal Detectors used as a
matched pair with an -hp- Model 692A 2-4 Gc
Sweeper and an -hp- Model 777D Coaxial Dual
Directional Coupler to form a swept reflectometer.
© Copr. 1949-1998 Hewlett-Packard Co.
Fig. 3(b). Reflection coefficient of
broadband detector typical of the state
of the art prior to development of
Model 423 A. Maximum value indicated
exceeds 20%.
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