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TSP #220 - Detailed Reverse Engineering & ASIC Analysis of the Infineon 24GHz Doppler Radar Module

37.3K views January 15, 2023 2:47 PM

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In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at the Infineon 24GHz doppler radar module in the spirit of the upcoming IEEE ISSCC 2023 Conference:

The 24GHz radar module block diagram and its principle of operation is presented in details as well as the X-Ray of the PCB. Various design techniques and architectures are also explained. The RFIC ASIC is then extracted from the QFN package and examined under the microscope. The internal ASIC elements are correlated to the block diagram with discussions about various mm-wave layout techniques & high-frequency circuit design.​​​

TNP #27 - Design of a Custom Control Board & Software for a Broken NordicTrack S15i Exercise Bike

10K views January 6, 2023 11:08 PM

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In this episode Shahriar resurrects a broken NoridTrack S15i stationary exercise bike. The brain of the bike resides inside a custom Android table at the front console of the unit. The software & hardware of the bike are not publicly available and a replacement unit costs upwards of $1000.
Despite the consumer-unfriendly approach of NordicTrack, it would be a huge waste to dispose of the bike. Instead, we will design a custom hardware and software to control the bike's resistance as well as read RPM numbers to calculate wattage and calories. Although much simpler than the original hardware, the new system is sufficient to use the bike and achieve a satisfactory exercise routine.​​​

TNP #26 - Magic of Mechanical Timekeeping & Measuring the Accuracy of a Raymond-Weil Skeleton Watch

11.2K views December 24, 2022 8:01 PM

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In this episode Shahriar takes a look at the Raymond-Weil Blue Skeleton Freelancer wristwatch. The watch runs a little too fast. But before measuring its accuracy the internal structure of the watch as well as a few unique imaging of the watch mechanism are presented.
The teardown, theory of operation & measurements using a Multifunction Time Grapher No. 1000 is also presented. By using an external speaker in the place of the watch, the 8GHz oscillation of the watch can be emulated. It appears that the wristwatch runs 1mHz too fast resulting in gaining of about 12 seconds per day.

Make sure you check out @WristwatchRevival also!​​​

TSP #219 - Teardown & Repair of an Agilent 81101A 50MHz 20Vpp Pulse Generator

13.4K views December 18, 2022 6:17 PM

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In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at an Agilent pulse generator which does not produce any output signal. The generator has an output ON/OFF function which can disconnect the unit using a microwave relay. The output spectrum of the faulty unit shows the presence of the desired spectrum and residue of the square wave signal.
The teardown shows that the output relay is not being engaged with the output is enabled. The fault is traced to the relay switch transistor (NPN) which does not respond to the control signal. The replacement NPN corrects the problem and the unit produces the correct output. The unit's maximum output swing as well as frequency accuracy are verified using a R&S MXO-4 Series & a Rubidium frequency counter.​​​

TNP #25 - Teardown & Repair of a Keysight E36313A Triple Output Programmable DC Power Supply

13.6K views December 11, 2022 4:56 PM

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In this episode Shahriar repairs a broken Keysight E36313A with a blown fuse and burnt smell coming from the unit. The teardown shows the dual-board design of the unit as well as the large toroidal transformer. The magic smoke has escaped from a dual Schottky diode power device with a Vf = 0.45V at If = 5A. The replacement eBay component is first verified to meet the specifications and installed in the power supply. The Keysight unit is then tested at a few output voltages and current to ensure proper functionality.​​​

TSP #218 - JouleScope JS220 Precision Energy Analyzer Scope Review, Teardown & Experiments

15.6K views December 4, 2022 10:18 PM

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In this episode Shahriar takes a close look at the new JouleScope JS220 dynamic energy analyzer:

The USB-C instrument architecture and details teardown is presented alongside the main PCB X-Ray images. The instrument's unique six orders of magnitude current measurement and switching networks is also described and analyzed. The measurements confirm the six unique shunt resistors (alongside pairing CMOS devices) which can be chosen both manually and automatically by the autorunning software.
The GUI multimeter view is used to verify the accuracy of the unit across all current ranges and voltage ranges using a pair of Keithley 2450 SMUs. The dynamic behavior of the instrument is presented using a wide dynamic range load using various excitation waveforms and frequencies. Finally, a Z-Wave IoT motion sensor characteristics and communication patters is analyzed.​​​

TSP #217 - Teardown, Repair & Analysis of an Agilent E8267C 20GHz PSG RF Vector Signal Generator

12.2K views November 28, 2022 10:07 PM

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In this episode Shahriar attempts the repair of an Agilent PSG Vector Signal Generator. Aside from excellent RF performance, the PSG series generators are also equipped with built-in baseband generators allowing for a wide range complex RF modulations. The instrument has been loaned to The Signal Path by AllTest:

This particular unit fails the internal I/Q Calibration routines. This routine calibrates for image rejection, LO rejection as well as a wide range of I/Q routing, offsets, gain/phase corrections. The calibration errors points of the I/Q MUX board and the summing nodes inside that assembly. The measurements confirms that the Q signal exhibits large distortion.

The teardown reveals the complexity of the I/Q MUX board which comprises numerous op-amps, selectors, amplifiers & multiplexers. The block diagram of the I/Q mux is presented in details along with various measurements. The fault on the I/Q MUX board is traced to one multiplexer on the Q path. The IC is replaced and the waveforms return to their linear forms. The instrument passes the internal I/Q Calibration routine after the repair. The RF output of the unit is also verified and presented showing the correct operation of the vector modulation path.​​​

TNP #24 - Teardown & Experiments with the Melles-Griot Triple-Channel Piezoelectric Controller

10.3K views November 19, 2022 11:16 PM

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In this episode Shahriar presents a three channel Melles-Griot piezoelectric controller which can be used in conjunction with piezoelectric actuator for exceptionally precise movements. The instrument is capable of producing three independent voltages up to 75V per channel. In addition, the unit can use external SUM/DIFF analog signals and adjust the output voltages accordingly.
The instrument is used with a Thor Labs XYZ stage to achieve sub-micron movement accuracy and control. The reverse effects also shown where a mechanical shock to to the XYZ stage produces pulses of voltage.​​​

TSP #216 - Detailed RFIC Analysis of the Analog Devices GaAs 81-86GHz I/Q Direct Down-Converter MMIC

12.3K views November 12, 2022 10:02 PM

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In this episode Shahriar reverse engineers an ADI GaAs 81-86GHz I/Q Down-Converter MMIC. The receiver includes a x6 LO multiplier chain and direct-down-conversion architecture based on pHEMPT single-balanced mixers using fundamental LO frequency.
The RFIC block diagram & die are examined in detailed. The live microscope images are annotated with signal flow drawings to describe various implemented blocks and IC functions.​​​

TSP #215 - R&S NRP Triple-Diode, NRQ6 Frequency Selective Power Sensor & NRX Power Meter Review/Exp.

9.6K views November 6, 2022 9:29 PM

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In this episode Shahriar looks at the ecosystem of R&S power sensors & power meter. In particular, the NRP Triple-Diode Path Power Sensor & the unique NRQ6 Frequency Selective Power Sensor:

The R&S NRX Power Meter can be used to interface with a wide range of power sensors as well:

This review is organized as follows:
00:00 – Introductions.
00:40 – NRP40SN 3-Path Diode Power Sensor hardware overview.
01:21 – Triple-Diode sensor architecture, benefits, principle of operation.
05:59 – Experiment setup, AM modulation glitch, web interface design, power measurements, high-sampling rate, trigger setup, trace view, R&S Power Viewer windows software.
16:17 – NRQ6 Frequency Selective Power Sensor hardware overview.
17:10 – NRQ architecture, principle of operation, advantages & disadvantages, DSP functions.
21:51 – Experiment setup, multi-frequency signal generation & interference, blocker signals.
23:33 – Web GUI interface, Signal Check function, auto-set, IF BW setup, I/Q, trace view, attenuation & averaging, blocker signal impact, catching frequency hopping events, ACLR measurements, additional features.
37:19 – NRX Power Meter overview & teardown.
40:49 – Experiment setup, input VSWR & power amplifier output power measurement.
40:01 – NRX GUI, multi-sensor measurement, sensor setups & measurement features.
45:48 – Concluding remarks.​​​

TNP #23 - Teardown, Repair & Analysis of a Tektronix THDP0200 ±1.5kV High Voltage Differential Probe

12.6K views October 17, 2022 10:24 PM

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In this episode Shahriar repair a Tektronix high voltage probe. The probe is incorrectly identified when plugged into a TekVPI interface and causes the scope to freeze and fail communication with the probe firmware.
With the help of the firmware of the probe is compared with a known good probe.

The probe contains two different microprocessors to handle various probe functions and configurations. The new EEPROM content corrects the problem and points to some interesting conclusions on how the probe is identified by the scope. Measurements confirm the probe is now functional.​​​

TNP #22 - Carl-Zeiss Axioskop 2 LED Retrofit Revisited & Bright/Dark Field, Polarization Microscopy

8.7K views October 8, 2022 4:53 PM

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In this episode Shahriar returns to the microscope LED upgrade challenge. The highest light density LED is used as a point source to improve Kohler illumination. Both transmission & reflected light sources are upgraded while maintaining the control purely through the microscope controls. The LED used can be found here:

Several images are also presented using bright field, dark field as well as polarization manipulation.​​​