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Message ID: 5984     Entry time: Wed Nov 23 00:30:14 2011
Author: Zach 
Type: Update 
Category: RF System 
Subject: EOM temperature controller trials 

[Jenne, Zach]

We did some testing of the prototype temperature controller. When I left it late last night, it was not working in conjunction with the real heater and PT100 mounted to the EOM, but had been tested using simulated loads (a spare heater and a potentiometer for the RTD).

We measured each of the reference resistors carefully, as I should have done in the first place since they are only 1% tolerance (I am using 100-ohm ones in series with ~15-ohm ones, so they have a variation of +/- an ohm or so, which is consequential). We calculated the estimated zero-signal resistance of the RTD, then used a trimpot to verify that the AD620 output behaved as expected. We realized that I didn't tie the 620's reference to ground, so the output was floating around by a lot. Once we did that, the readout was still not working properly, but eventually magic happened and we got an appropriate signal. I did find that there was a discrepancy between the estimated zero-signal resistance and that measured across the trimpot with the readout nulled---this may be caused by a small offset in the 620, but is not important so long as the output still scales properly.

Before trying it out again on the real McCoy, I tested the whole, closed-loop circuit with the spare EOM on Jenne's desk. The temperature oscillated at first, but a reduction of gain at the input stage of the driver allowed it to stabilize. The temperature of the EOM (sitting on the electronics bench) was kept constant with a control current that varied from ~40 - 70 mA, depending on how many people were around it, etc. This is pretty much perfect for the quiescent level, but that means that we might have to increase the baseline operating resistance of the PT100 (by changing the reference resistors) once it is sitting in a hot foam box. Otherwise, we will have no gain on the cooling side. I tested the circuit response by cupping my hands over the EOM to increase the temperature and ensuring that the current dropped so as to null the error signal. It worked pretty well, with a thermally-limited bandwidth of I would estimate around 0.1 Hz. 

I went to try it out on the PSL table, but again it didn't work. It turned out that this time I had broken one of the soldered connections from the broken-out D-sub cable to the (tiny) wires going to the PT100, so there was no temperature signal. I resoldered it, but I forgot that there is a thin insulating layer on the wire, so no connection was made. Frank tutored Jenne on how to properly strip these wires without damaging the core, but alas I didn't pay attention.

The RTD/heater/D-sub package lies in wait on Jenne's desk, where I have left an apologetic note. Once it is fixed, we should be able to finally hook it up for realz.

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