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Class D Switching Power Amplifiers and Power D/A conversion

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Old 18th December 2015, 03:26 PM   #1
jojip is offline jojip  United States
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Default Tools when designing an Amplifier

To go about studying/designing/testing modern amplifiers class A to class D, what are the recommended tools?

Tools for
1. Circuit/schematic entry

Tools for
2. Detailed circuit simulation and performance estimation
a. Are accurate models for devices used readily available?
b. Are modern PCs powerful enough to run these simulations

Tools for
1. PCB designing
a. Do these come with signal integrity simulation and analysis
b. How is EMI/RFI tolerance tested?

Tools for prototype testing
1. Oscilloscopes
2. Signal generators
What else

Do these help to measure THD/IMD/SNR and other important performance metrics?
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Old 18th December 2015, 04:46 PM   #2
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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1/ I would use LTspice for drawing most circuits.
2/ LTspice.
a. Most engineers seem to manage OK with what is available.
b. Yes.

3/ PCB layout is a real skill. You can not rely on an auto router to get the best. Diptrace is a great Freeware offering.
a. They can very the layout against a netlist of the circuit.
b. By building a prototype and then measuring the performance.

4/ A good analogue is probably preferable to a digital model imo.
5/ A good function generator givine sine/triangal and square waves from around 0.1Hz to at least 2Mhz is worthwhile. For low distortion audio sine testing, a CD player and test disc takes some beating. Very easy to make your own test signals using Audacity.

What else... experience You have to build things and understand how they work, make the mistakes and learn from it.

Current limited variable power supplies are a must.
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Old 18th December 2015, 05:54 PM   #3
jojip is offline jojip  United States
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Thanks Mooly.
Yes no substitute for experience and learning from errors.

Are more advanced measurement gear like AP audio analyzers and HP signal analyzer required
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Old 18th December 2015, 06:38 PM   #4
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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Well it depends how seriously you take the design of your circuits. To verify new designs perform as expected, or to prove that existing designs meet their specifications does mean investing in high end test gear.

That said, there is a lot you can do with a PC and soundcard. It all depends on what your goals are.
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Old 18th December 2015, 07:57 PM   #5
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marce's posts and the links therein are a good starting point for 3/.

A measurement option to consider is Neurochrome's low cost APx525 services (for perspective, the kit one's hiring starts around USD 12k and the labour for accurate, precision work is highly skilled).
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Old 18th December 2015, 08:18 PM   #6
jojip is offline jojip  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twest820 View Post
marce's posts and the links therein are a good starting point for 3/.

A measurement option to consider is Neurochrome's low cost APx525 services (for perspective, the kit one's hiring starts around USD 12k and the labour for accurate, precision work is highly skilled).
I imagined AP gear was expensive, but that's very steep.
I had come across Tom's measurement service. A very nice idea to offer this service.
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Old 20th December 2015, 10:59 PM   #7
abetir is offline abetir  Philippines
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jojip View Post
To go about studying/designing/testing modern amplifiers class A to class D,
You should also be equipped with tons of patience and when stuck, never lose your passion..
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Old 21st December 2015, 07:19 AM   #8
jojip is offline jojip  United States
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agreed
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