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Noise on power supply net

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Charlie E., May 28, 2010.

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  1. Charlie E.

    Charlie E. Guest

    Hi All,
    Ok, more on the dreaded color reader problems... ;-)

    Now that I have the scope, been troubleshooting this thing a bit. One
    thing I am seeing is that there is a lot of noise on my power net.
    While the chip's specs say it should have a ripple of around 40mVs, I
    am also seeing a noise signal around every 100ns of 200mV p-p. I
    haven't been able to figure out what is causing it. It is there even
    when the mcu is in break or asleep, so it doesn't seem to be from
    therre. The LED power supply is shut down, so it shouldn't be from
    there. The only things power up are the opamps and the digital pot.

    I have a 10uF next to the PSU chip, another 10uF on the same rail by
    the other PSU chip. I have a full copper pour for both ground and
    Vcc, and 1uF bypasses next to each chip (and two by the MCU.)

    So, any ideas? That noise pulse is only around 100us wide, but fairly
    regular. If it was the opamp oscilating, I would have expected more
    of either a square or sine wave, instead of just regular pulses...

  2. D Yuniskis

    D Yuniskis Guest

    Hi Charlie,

    Hmmm... units error? "100us" pulse occurring every "100ns"
    Perhaps you meant 100us occurring every 100ms?
  3. Charlie E.

    Charlie E. Guest

    Actually, they are every .1ms, and only 100ns wide...
  4. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Since you had clarified that it's 100usec repetion rate and 100nsec
    pulse width a suspicion arises: The charge pump in idle mode, and you've
    got one in there that supplies the board (U7).

    Those things are hysteretic and theoretically should have more than one
    pulse but who knows. Oh, did I mention that I don't like charge pumps?
    .... :)

    One trick to figure this out is to make two probes. One a coax with
    about 1/4" center conductor exposed and BNC on the other side. Wrap some
    tape around the tip so you can't touch and bzzzt anything. The other is
    the same but 3-4 turns soldered to the tip, maybe 1/4" diameter. You can
    take a 6ft-8ft BNC cable, cut it in the middle and make those two
    probes. Now plug them into your scope and hunt. Once you found the
    culprit keep those probes, Murphy says you'll need them again. At least
    I do, so I bought some rugged commercial ones.

    Sometimes the results are rather surprising. Once at a client I found
    the source of similar stuff to be <gasp> a Tektronix TDS220 scope. In
    another it was an unmarked huge building across the street, with armed
    guards and lots of antennas on the roof.
  5. Charlie E.

    Charlie E. Guest

    Good ideas. My scope has these little springy thingies that go on the
    end of the probe for that. Using those, the noise is down to only
    100mA at all the chips, and I don't see the big, regular spikes

    Wonder if I was picking up my laptop sitting next to it...

  6. Charlie E.

    Charlie E. Guest

    What do you prefer to do a little boost like this? Do you just roll
    your own?

  7. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    When it has to be very cheap and it's for a mass product I often roll my
    own but that costs a lot of engineering time. Otherwise I try to find
    something reasonable that can be simulated and that generally boils it
    down to a chip from LTC. Not sure about your requirements and I haven't
    looked in detail, maybe this one:,C1,C1003,C1042,C1031,C1060,P2130,D3957

    Two things are important in a noise-sensitive application:

    a. It should not have hysteretic control, causes too much ripple and
    thus noise.

    b. Should ideally not have burst mode. While that reduces idle power it
    does increase noise, often big time.

    So in the example you should prefer the B version because that does not
    have burst mode. Beats me why they called it "B" :)
  8. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    100mV? That would still be a lot. In your application a whole lot.
  9. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Most annoying was an Agilent spectrum analyzer of noble heritage and
    corresponding price, for EMC analysis, that produced ... you guessed it
    .... EMI. Lots of it, from its display. I had to ask a client engineer
    where the next hardware store was. Bought some chimney spark screen and
    draped it over the whole thing.
  10. Joerg

    Joerg Guest

    Just curious, did you get this noise issue fixed?

  11. Charlie E.

    Charlie E. Guest

    Hi Joerg,
    Not yet. I at present have put a .1uF cap on the net, and just now
    tried replacing one of the 1uF bypasses by the MCU with a 47uF tant.
    It reduces the noise to what appears to be a 20-30KHz sawtooth about
    60mVs high. I think I will probably redesign to a chip like the one
    you suggested using an inductor for the next version.

    My next effort is to try averaging a lot of samples (maybe 20-30) to
    see if that stabilizes the measurerd value.

  12. JosephKK

    JosephKK Guest

    Sounds like the MCU to me. Try adding one or two 1000 pF (yes picofarad)
    caps just as close to the MCU power/ground pins as possible.
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