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Message ID: 1708     Entry time: Sat Jun 27 03:16:16 2009
Author: Clara 
Type: Update 
Category: PEM 
Subject: Exciting microphone things! 

So, I'm double-posting, but I figured the last post was long enough as it was, and this is about something different. After double and triple checking the XLR cables, I hooked up the microphone setup (mic---preamp---output) to the oscilloscope to figure out what kind of voltage would register with loud noises. So, I clapped and shouted and forgot to warn the other people in the lab what I was doing (sorry guys) and discovered that, even on the lowest gain setting, my loud noises were generation 2-3 times as much voltage as the ADC can handle (2V). And, since our XLR cables are so freaking long, we probably want to go for a higher gain, which puts us at something like 20 times too much voltage. I doubt this is really necessary, but it's late (early) and I got camera-happy, so I'm going to share anyway:

mic_voltage_out.png

So, to deal with this issue, I made some nifty voltage dividers. Hopefully they are small enough to fit side-by-side in the ports without needing extra cableage. Anyway, they should prevent the voltage from getting larger than 2V at the output even if the mic setup is producing 50V. Seeing as my screaming as loud as I could about 2mm away from the mic at full gain could only produce 45V, I think this should be pretty safe. I put the ADC in parallel with a 25.5 kOhm resistor, which should have a noise like 10^-8 V/rHz. This is a lot smaller than 1 uV/rHz (the noise in the ADC, if I understood Rana's explanation correctly), so the voltage dividers should pose a noise issue. Now for pictures.

voltage_dividers.png

I opened one so you can see its innards.

voltage_divider_sketch.png

In case the diagram on the box was too small to decipher...

And finally, I came up with a name scheme for the mics and pre-amps. We now have two Bluebird (bacteriophage) mics named Bonnie and Butch Cassidy. Their preamps are, naturally, Clyde and The Sundance Kid. Sadly, no photos. I know it's disappointing. Also, before anyone gives me crap for putting the labels on the mics upside-down, they are meant to be hung or mounted from high things, and the location (and stiffness) of the cable prevents us from simply standing them up. So they will more than likely be in some kind of upsidedownish position.

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