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

14 December 2020

Removing Reflections from DDR Signals Probed Mid-Bus

Figure 1. Virtual probing methods like VP@Rcvr can help
remove reflections from signals probed mid-bus.
Probing DDR signals can present some interesting challenges. The JEDEC specification indicates that all measurements should be made at the output pins of the memory chip. The challenge comes because sometimes the pins of the memory chip are not accessible. You may be able to use an interposer, but even that requires some spatial displacement from the probing point to the Ball Grid Array (BGA) pins of the memory chip. 

If the board has already been populated, there is an even greater problem because the interposer can’t be used, so probes may have to be placed in the middle of the bus in order to make a measurement. In this situation, the probe picks up signals reflected from the memory controller and the memory chip, as well as the desired signals. Reflections appear as non-monotonic ripples on the edges of DQ and DQS signals, as shown in Figure 2.

07 December 2020

Isolating DDR Read and Write Operations

Figure 1. DDR DQ and DQS signals are
in phase during a Read operation and
out of phase during a Write operation.
Whether you are debugging or running compliance tests on Double Data Rate (DDR) or Low Power Double Data Rate (LPDDR) memory, the analysis process requires the separation of Read and Write operations to enable measurements on each distinct operational mode. 

The phase relationship between the Data (DQ) signal and the Data Strobe (DQS) signal indicates the type of operation, as shown in Figure 1.

The DQ and DQS signals are phase aligned with edges overlapping in Read mode. In Write mode, they are out of phase, and the DQS edge overlaps the center of the DQ eye.  In the lower speed versions of DDR memory devices, the measuring instrument could be triggered on this phase difference, enabling the isolation of the desired operation for testing.