Tonight I built a simpler version of what will be the new general-purpose precision temperature controller. This one is built on a breadboard and will be used for RFAM testing at the 40m until a better version is made. Some differences between this version and the final one:
So, how it works:
I have tested the circuit using a spare resistive heater and a potentiometer to simulate the RTD. First I tested the sensing and drive circuits separately, then I connected the sensor output to the drive input and modulated the potentiometer resistance while monitoring the current. The circuit behaved as expected.
When I got to the 40m, it struck me that the resistance I had chosen (115 ohms) corresponded to 40 C, which I realized might be above what we could reach with the current we can provide. I used the Newport 6000 via telnet to drive the heater at several current values and see what the resistance became. I found that with I = Imax/2 ~ 0.6, the resistance was around 113 ohms (it was ~111 at room temp). So, I switched the reference resistor in the leg above the PT100 from 115 -> 113.
I then plugged everything in while monitoring the heater current and AD620 output (error signal), and it seemed not to do anything. I was tired so I figured I'd leave it for tomorrow.
Here is a sketch of the schematic, as well as some pictures: