Steve.Picotest

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Managing Director

Steve Sandler is the founder and former CEO of Analytical Engineering, Inc., the predecessor of AEi Systems. He has over 30 years experience in the design and analysis of power conversion equipment for military and space applications. Mr. Sandler is also the CEO of Picotest.com, a company that distributes test equipment including the Signal Injector product line designed for testing linear and switching power supplies, a Test & Measurement World "Best in Test" Finalist.


Steve.Picotest

's contributions
  • 02.10.2016
  • Optimizing Arduino and the AD9851 DDS signal generator
  • I believe you see the sum and differences of the clock and the the output, so 125MHz-2*50MHz is 25MHz and 125MHz+2*50MHz is 250MHz. I dont know much about the internals of this DDS generatir I just wanted to correct the misconceptions about the fikter and who screwed up. I also wanted to provide a fikter that worked for this synthesizer. If you have more questions email me at steve@picotest.com. that way I can send you images and equations.
  • 12.08.2016
  • How to select a space-grade switching regulator
  • Thanks for another good article. You really need to kick the tires of these yourselves. Many have stability issues and cannot meet the satellite design guidelines. Others have very poor PSRR and yet others have lots of ceramic caps making them difficulty to connect to high speed devices. We have a few sessions on VRM's and VRM modeling coming up soon. One next week in Haifa at Globespace and a 40 min session and a 3-hr session at DesignCon 2017.
  • 11.15.2016
  • Capacitor self-diagnostics
  • This is an interesting thought, despite the negative comments. Most aliminum caps are only rated between 2000 and 8000hrs. As such they are short lived in many applications that operate most of the time. In high reliability systems such capacitors are not allowed due to their dhort life, but we do strive for "graceful degradation". I see this in much the same way as tire oressure indicators, not perfect, but helpful. Kudos for the interesting thought Peter.
  • 11.01.2016
  • 8 tips for effective power-integrity probing
  • DC rail probes are interesting and definitely do have a place. They are also manufacturer keyed, unidirectional and generally bandwidth limited to about 2GHz. 1-port and 2-port 50Ohm probes are even lower noise and with our 500Hz-8GHz DC block provide low frequency response as well as high frequency response. These are standard 50Ohm probes and so van be used with signal source analyzers, noise generators, pulse generators and our harmonic combs to transmit signals to the PCB as well as receiving signals from the PCB. These are also currently near 2GHz, but we hope to offer even wider bandwidth probes next year and with selectable attenuations between 1:1 and 5:1 to optimize the bandwidth and the SNR. You can find more information here https://www.picotest.com/products_PDN_Probe.html Demo probes are available to try before you buy
  • 05.03.2016
  • Eliminating the power integrity analysis bottleneck from PCB design: Product how-to
  • I know you didn't ask me, but since John didn't answer, I'll give it a shot. It isn't so much about the clock rate as the edge speed and the suscpeptibility of the IC's being powered. It also isn't really just about IR drop, its much more complex. There are a few simple answers: One is at the point that having the simulation in front of the PCB design completion simulation software makes sense. Another is that if optimum performance is desired than simulation software makes sense. Yet a third is that all critical circuits should be evaluated for worst case performance (tolerance and operation condition inclusive). This requires software, not only for the PCB itself, but also for the impact of the load demands, peak impedance conditions, etc. One consideration in choosing software is whether you need to simulate only the PDN or the complete end to end system. There are lots of solutions and they have different strengths and weaknesses. You might look at my newest video which addresses a little bit of this in more detail. You can find it here: https://youtu.be/ejAApIv1cR8?list=PLtq84kH8xZ9HIYgBYDsP7TbqBpftidzI8 Steve
  • 03.18.2014
  • Measure PDN on a budget
  • The low cost analyzers can work fine, they are noisier, don't generally offer low RBW and have limited dynamic range. This device says it has 90dB below 500MHz and 50 dB above 500Mz. At 90 dB it should be possible to measure a few milliOhms ok. At 50 dB you can measure as low as about 1 Ohm. 90dB range is better than most scope FFT, but not close to the 120dB range of the Bode 100 or E5061B. I would be interested to hear how well these even lower cost devices perform this measurement. If someone tries it, please let me know.
  • 11.08.2013
  • PDN issues occur in the simplest of circuits
  • Ken, Yes, there are 3 of these buffers on our VRTS3 demo board. They are a good intro to high speed circuits and PDN. At 300ps edge speed, they are quite difficult to tame, but MUCH easier than at 50ps ;) With a preamp the E-field probe should work well, though I don't think I have tried it. We also just got this board imported into ADS, so it might be fun to see if we can correlate measured and simulated results. For sure a faster scope is more fun, especially if you want to see the edge. You should see good harmonics to a few GHz.