Otii as a smart lab power supply

September 19, 2018

When we embarked on the journey to bring Otii to the market, we really wanted to offer an all-in-one tool for working with device current consumption. We are happy to see the many different ways our customers are using Otii, getting the best out of its multi-functionality.

So we thought we’d highlight some of these cases, starting with one of the most basic, yet powerful features: Otii as a really smart lab power supply.

Don’t let Otii’s good looks fool you, the tool has all the necessary controls that an ordinary lab power supply has, like setting voltage level and current limit control, and other features that you usually only find on very expensive programmable power supplies.

Unlike a conventional power supply with its controls and meters on the front panel, all the settings and monitoring is done from the Otii UI on your computer.

Fig 1. Otii supply settings.

You can see Otii as a combination of a lab power supply, a current probe and an oscilloscope.

When testing new functionality of your device/module/chipset, it’s always a good idea to monitor the current to make sure the circuits behaviour is as expected. This is especially important at the power up of the device. Different parts of the device power up with different timings, there are delays between different activities, and software needs to boot up, so it’s important to distinguish any anomalies in this process. Unexpected current transients that would not have been visible on an ordinary slower current meter, are easily spotted in the current plot of Otii. The high dynamic range (24 bits) of the current measurement makes even small anomalies visible.

Fig 2. Powering up of a device that need high dynamic range.

Additionally, the logging of current and voltage, and possibly lots of other things thanks to the I/O interface, gives the user the opportunity to get more details in what draws the current and eventually affects the battery life of the device being developed.

Fig 3. Logging of current and voltage simultaneously.

Finally an example from the real world: In an early stage of product development of an IoT device with a very small PCB and with ultra-small components mounted, there was an error during the power down sequence.

Commonly, one would need to solder small wires to different ultra-tiny pads on the PCB and then try to catch the behaviour on the oscilloscope. Most likely it’s not even possible to put a probe on the wanted signal when the signal travels from one BGA to another BGA well buried in a multilayer PCB. By monitoring the behaviour of the current with Otii, it was possible to track down the error. After correction, the behaviour was easily verified using the same method, and compared to the original measurement to visualise this as future reference for the developer team.

Let us know your challenges and see how Otii can help you overcome them. Ping us at our forum or support!

The Qoitech Team

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