You need to test, we're here to help.

You need to test, we're here to help.

19 October 2020

Which Virtual Probing Method to Use?


Virtual probing lets you "probe" where a probe
can't reach, or compensate signals by deembedding
or simulating devices and channels.
A great feature of Teledyne LeCroy oscilloscopes is the ability to apply virtual probing to compensate an input signal, whether by deembedding fixtures from the signal path, or simulating a “missing” component. It is especially helpful in cases where the signal is difficult to probe at the ideal location, hence the concept of “virtual” probing.

For example, because the JEDEC electrical specifications are defined at the balls of the DDR DRAM, it is often necessary to use the virtual probing capabilities of the oscilloscope to get the best representations of DDR signals to be analyzed with DDR Debug Toolkit or QualiPHY compliance software.

Here, we’ll give an overview of the virtual probing methods that become available with the installation of the SDAIII-CompleteLinQ or VirtualProbe software options, and some guidance as to which method is best to use in which case. And although we’ll show examples drawn from DDR analysis, the benefits of virtual probing are by no means limited to DDR signals.

21 September 2020

Fundamentals of Power Integrity: Board Pollution

Figure 1. "Pollution" occurring on PDN traces.
Board pollution is noise occurring on the packages and interconnects (traces and planes) that carry current from the VRMs to the consumer devices.
One place it can originate is from the VRM itself, for example, with the switching noise the VRM generates (Figure 1). That can be a real concern if the board capacitance means you have a resonance around the switching frequency that would act as an amplifier for the switching noise and cause all kinds of problems with other devices on the board.

14 September 2020

Fundamentals of Power Integrity: Self-aggression Noise

Fig. 1: VRM-switching noise is a self aggressor that can be
identified because it is synchronous 
with the PWM clock. 
Self-aggression noise is so-called because it is inflicted by a component onto itself through its normal operation; nothing else in the system is affecting it. When we look for this, we want to ensure the system is in a steady state, in a place where the noise environment is fairly clear (e.g., the device is on an evaluation board).

An example of self-aggression would be VRM-switching noise. Figure 1 shows ripple on a 900 millivolt rail (yellow trace) at a time when no load is present. One of the things that tells us this is switching noise is that it is synchronous to the PWM clock (red trace). Ripple that is synchronous with the switching clock is a typical figure of merit for identifying switching noise.

31 August 2020

Fundamentals of Power Integrity: Characterizing PDN Noise

Figure 1. Noise tolerances for embedded system
components are becoming ever tighter.
Power integrity concerns maintaining the quality of power from generation to consumption in an embedded system. “Good” power integrity could be defined as having noise levels that are within tolerance. This short series will focus on characterizing noise on your power delivery network (PDN), with the goal of knowing where you must adjust your design to meet those tolerances.

Why do we care about voltage rail noise? As electronic designs strive for ever lower power consumption, power rails already carry very low voltages, often 1 V or less. Components like RF receivers, ADCs and DACs can be affected by noise of less than 1% of the rail value (Figure 1). This means noise tolerances can be as tight as single-digit millivolts, which is why power integrity takes up considerable validation time in labs.

24 August 2020

How to Connect the Returns to an Unshielded Twisted Pair

Figure 1. Three options for connecting a TDR to a UTP.
During a Dec 4, 2019 webinar, Dr. Eric Bogatin was asked several questions about how to measure unshielded twisted pairs (UTPs), which are differential pairs with no return path. Here is his answer to one of the questions. For more information, check out the whole webinar on Differential Pairs with No Return Paths.

Q: For the UTP measurement, do you need to connect the SMA connector shield grounds together?

A: Yes. It’s very important to make sure the grounds are connected at the cable connectors.

There are really three ways the connections can be made from a differential TDR to the UTP cable. These three options are shown clockwise from left to right in Figure 1.

03 August 2020

How to Choose Between the 50 Ohm Input and the 1 Mega-ohm Input

Dr. Eric Bogatin

Fast buffered signal over a 1 megaohm input, and same signal over 50 ohm input
Figure 1. The same signal from a fast-buffer driver
measured with a 1-meter, 50 ohm cable with
1 megaohm input to the scope, and
same cable with 50 ohm input to the scope.
When every oscilloscope has both a 50 ohm input and a 1 megaohm input, how do you choose which one to use? Here are my recommendations for when each input should be used. 

For additional information on this topic, check out my webinar on What Every Oscilloscope User Needs to Know About Transmission Lines.  

27 July 2020

Fundamentals of 100Base-T1 Ethernet

100Base-T1 toplogy
100Base-T1 Topology
The term Automotive Ethernet can be used to refer to any Ethernet-based network for in-vehicle electrical systems. It encompasses 100Base-T1, as well as several other variants/speeds of Ethernet (e.g., 10Base-T1, 1000Base-T1). Here, we’ll describe 100 Mb/s Automotive Ethernet as defined by the IEEE in its 802.3bp specification, which is nearly identical to BroadCom’s variant, BroadR-Reach.