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Smart lab power supply

Smart lab power supply

September 19, 2018

When we embarked on the journey to bring Otii solution 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 Arc Pro and Otii Ace Pro, getting the best out of their multi-functionality. So let’s highlight some of these cases, starting with one of the most basic, yet powerful features: Otii Arc/Ace Pro as a really smart lab power supply.

Programmable power supply

Despite their sleek appearance, Arc and Ace feature all essential controls of a typical lab power supply, such as voltage level and current limit control. They even include features found in high-end programmable power supplies.

Contrary to standard power supplies with front panel controls, all adjustments and monitoring in Arc and Ace are performed via the Otii UI on your computer.

Fig 1. Otii supply settings.

Power and measure simultaneously

You can see Otii as a combination of a lab power supply, a current probe and an oscilloscope. When testing a new device/module/chipset feature, monitoring the current to verify the circuit’s behavior is a must. 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. Hence, it’s important to distinguish any anomalies in this process. Unexpected current transients that would not have been visible on an ordinary current meter, are easily spotted with Otii Arc/Ace. 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 other metrics thanks to the I/O interface, gives the user the opportunity to understand what draws the current and affects the battery life of the device being developed.

Fig 3. Logging of current and voltage simultaneously.

When oscilloscope is not enough

Let’s look at an example from our customer. In an early stage of product development of an IoT device featuring a very small PCB and ultra-small components, there was an error during the power down sequence.

Commonly, one would solder small wires to ultra-tiny pads on the PCB and then try to catch the behaviour on the oscilloscope. Most of the times, it’s not 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 Arc, it was possible to track down the error. After correction, the behaviour was easily verified using the same method. It was also compared to the original measurement to visualise it as a 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!

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