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SGregory 27th November 2010 04:10 AM

Wacky Hum and Harmonics
3 Attachment(s)
I am trying to troubleshoot my 12b4 Test bed and measurement system. I am finding a hum/noise problem that I can't track down. The test bed is currently a 12b4 with DC filament at 6.3V. Ripple is <1mV. I am running 300V from my Kepco 400B bench supply into a Simplistic HV shunt reg dropping to 280V B+. The shunt is passing 62mA. The Gain stage is a Waveborn Gyrator with the anode voltage set to 140V. Bias Current is 18.1mA. With no signal applied I get the FFT seen in the first attachment. Switching to scope mode the harmonic is clearly seen. The vertical scale is 200uV/div and the timescale is 10mS/div. I couldn't see this before with my Tek2430A scope as it is below the resolution of it.

What do you think would cause this kind of waveform?

FYI The soundcard is a EMU 1616m and the software is audio tester. The baseline curve with the input cable disconnected from the testbed is seen in the third attachment.

I am thinking that it is an artifact from the incoming power I have here. On a scope my AC line looks like a square wave.

rotaspec 27th November 2010 04:45 AM

Might want to ping TheGimp. He was having noise problems in his measurement setup a while back. There is a thread somewhere here.

SGregory 27th November 2010 05:25 AM

Thanks Rotospec. P.M'd him and read the thread. Alot of work to do to clean this up. I have been lucky (more or less) a couple of times and made some very good clean measurements on my RIAA, but this one is kicking my butt. Making matters worse is that this is to be my test bench for my new preamp.

Sch3mat1c 27th November 2010 05:42 AM

What are you doing, hooking it up to a microphone amp?

No? Then don't worry yourself, it's less than anyone could care. Salute yourself for achieving such low hum -- at least, once you put in your own power supply :)


SGregory 27th November 2010 05:57 AM

Nope, Just trying to make the pretty measurements that I see posted here without all the grass. Most importantly I am trying to understand what is causing it so I have confidence in the data I am getting on the DUT.
As it stands now the best I have been able to measure is a 73 S/N ratio as a result of the grass.

DF96 27th November 2010 01:08 PM

A mixture of normal hum and reservoir charging pulses? My guess is grounding and/or magnetic induction.

johnjohanjoe 27th November 2010 04:35 PM

Hi, I just build a preamp 12au7 PSU runing at 150v , but the problem I encountered was no hum on the sets of preamp me, please explain and thank you for its support

tomchr 27th November 2010 04:57 PM

I'm assuming your Y axis is calibrated in dBV - i.e. 0 dB = 1 V rms. Since you mention lab supplies, I'm also assuming that you're dealing with a prototype setup.

-80 dBV hum/ripple on a prototype setup is actually quite good. Recall that some lab supplies switch the rectifiers on/off at 60 Hz when deriving low output voltages. My HP 6209B supply is an example of such a supply. No regulator is perfect and there will be some ripple components present on the output of the supply.

Without having a circuit layout or schematic to look at, it's hard to come up with a qualified guess. But a ground loop could cause hum. In case of a ground loop, the induced hum would drop if the loop is broken or if the loop area is reduced.


SGregory 27th November 2010 05:21 PM

More Info
4 Attachment(s)
After reading TheGimp's thread I have started to implement some of the suggestions with some decent results.

First 0dB=1V. Attached is a couple of photo's of my bench set-up. In the second photo you can see the steel sheet that I placed under the test set-up. I will post a schematic of the system in a minute since it is on another computer.

The harmonic grass is certainly coming from noise and/or some ground loops. I get the same grass as my first post even with the system turned off. The first FFT on this post shows the noise spectrum (power off) when the ground of the lab power supply is lifted by a ying/yang diode. The second is a marked improvement when the steel sheet is bonded to the power supply ground. Getting Closer but still not there yet.

In both of these fft's the test equipment is fully hooked up. I also turn the monitor that is close to the test off when making measurements even though it doesn't seem to impact it.

SGregory 27th November 2010 05:39 PM

Further Progress
2 Attachment(s)
For grins and giggles, I took another piece of sheet steel and loosly bent it over part of the circuit, clipped an aligator clip to it and the plate ground and then measured. In the photo you can see the sheet and the FFT snap shot shows even further improvement. Almost there.

FYI, the filament power is on for these tests.

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