I have made many electronic loads in the past. For instance this simple harddrive cooler housed small dummy load, this more sophisticated constant current/constant programmable load and this heavy-duty electronic load that is capable of sinking over 1kW under peak load. In this blog post though, I am going to take a look inside an Array 3711A DC electronic load I recently purchased on eBay. You can find a video of this teardown towards the end of the post.
Typically, a lab power supply can only operate within a single quadrant. Take a positive voltage power supply for example, it can only output or source current. If any attempt is made trying to sink current into the power supply by connecting a voltage source with a higher voltage than the output voltage of the power supply, the power supply would lose regulation since it cannot sink any current and thus is unable to bring down and regulate the voltage at its output terminals.
The Agilent 66312A dynamic measurement DC source however is a two-quadrant power supply, it not only can source up to 2A of current between 0 and 20V, but also can sink up to 1.2A or 60% of its rated output current as well. Although lacking some key functionality of a source measure unit (SMU), Agilent 66312A can nevertheless be used in similar situations where both current sourcing and sinking capabilities are needed.
We recently started restoring a Teletype Model 19, a Navy communication system introduced in the 1940s.14 This Teletype was powered by a bulky DC power supply called the “REC-30 rectifier”. The power supply uses special mercury-vapor thyratron tubes, which give off an eerie blue glow in operation, as you can see below.
The power supply is interesting, since it is an early switching power supply. (I realize it’s controversial to call this a switching power supply, but I don’t see a good reason to exclude it.) While switching power supplies are ubiquitous now (due to cheap high-voltage transistors), they were unusual in the 1940s. The REC-30 is very large—over 100 pounds—compared to about 10 ounces for a MacBook power supply, demonstrating the amazing improvements in power supplies since the 1940s. In this blog post, I take a look inside the power supply, discuss how it works, and contrast it with a MacBook power supply.
Russell Graves did teardown of a Craftsman 19.2V DieHard battery and a Ridgid 12V battery:
It’s time for more tool battery teardowns! This week, I’ve got a Craftsman 19.2V DieHard battery, and a cute little Ridgid 12V battery. They’re both lithium, and I’m going to dig into both of them, because that’s what I do with old batteries I pick up out of junk bins.
If you’re bored of tool battery teardowns, you could always send me more interesting things to mess with! I enjoy poking around tool batteries, and a lot of the ones I pull apart are “new to the internet” in that they haven’t had a detailed teardown before. It’s always interesting to see how different companies approach much the same problem.
Opening the module reveals a series of microwave PCB components and several active devices. A complete analysis of the module is presented. The unit is then measured and the impact of antenna impedance and power supply voltage on the output frequency is measured. The phase noise of the output signal is also measured. Using a series of servo motors, the radiation pattern of the antenna array in both azimuth and elevation is also presented.
IRIG time code generators (not to be confused with the ones used in video and film industry) are often used for clock synchronization among various connected equipment and is commonly used in power generation and distribution industry as well as in the military. In this blog post we will take a look inside a Datum 9300 time code generator from the late 80’s. A video detailing the teardown is linked towards the end of the post.
In the mid 1980’s a company called Dallas Semiconductor was producing a wide range of small RAMs with integrated battery backup. One of the more unusual item was an early attempt at an electronic key: a user would be issued a key which could then be typically used to allow access to equipment and to keep track of usage. Not very secure by today’s standards…. but an interesting data point.
Opening it up shows that it had two major parts: a silicon die and a battery. The amount of ram on the die was very small, 256 bits!
Specification wise, the adapter is rated to provide 2.1A for its USB output. I did some load testing with an electronic load I built before and it appeared that the 2.1A is rated for the combined output from both USB ports. You can see my testing in the video linked towards the end of this post. This means that if you are charging two devices using this adapter, charging time will be lengthened as the 2.1A output current has to be shared between the two channels.
The internal build quality of this MVMT USB adapter is actually quite good. Two PCBs are used in this adapter. One is for surge protection and the other one is for the switching power supply that generates the 5V output rails.
The full teardown of the unit reveals the internal architecture of the instrument, DAC / FPGA interconnect as well as the output amplifier structure. Although the limitations of the FPGA prevents the instrument to operate at full 2.5GSa/s in arb-mode, the instrument is capable of providing complex modulation up to the full 500MHz signal bandwidth.