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Sherlock Ohms

The Case of the Unexpected FM Transmitter Turnoff

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William K.
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Unexpected interactions
William K.   9/19/2011 6:50:23 PM
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In years past we needed to do similar things with PLC input modules that were driven by solid-state proximity-type limit switches. The fault was that the off-state current draw of the switch was enough to convince the sensitive input module that it had a valid input. 7500 ohm, 5-watt resistors across each input solved the problem.

But it was good detective work that found the problem with the transmitter shutoffs.

Thinking_J
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Platinum
similar problem
Thinking_J   9/20/2011 5:54:39 PM
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I have resolved several situations with same root cause.. inputs with not enough protection from RF sources.

First...

A CPLD IC (22v10) on a failsaft circuit. It's inputs would pick up enough RF energy from relay contacts (equ. spark gap transmitter) loaded with inductive load. Actually erased the device!.. required 1000pf caps across all inputs for this environment (couldn't put a snubber across the contacts - leaked enough to hold the smart magnetic contactor load "on" , even when contacts opened).. and we couldn't move the relay farther away from the electronics.

Always keep mechical relays / large inductive loads away from the rest of the electronics (if possible)... just asking for trouble when close to each other.

Second...

Battery powered device with GSM transceiver/processor monitoring an external device via a simple contact closure. Reduced the pull up on the contact closure in effort to reduce battery drain (resistor array - 100K) , contact was normally closed drawing current across the pullup. The external circuit - no problem. However, the other three inputs (membrane push buttons with flex cable) would normally be "open". These inputs would close when the GSM transciever transmitted. The RF energy (not that much) would be rectified by the silicon junction on the processor input and pull the input low (randomly).... net result: it "pushed" it's own buttons when transmitting (occasionally)!

Next time , will use ferrite beads on these inputs. This time , changed pull up resistor array to 10K.

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Sherlock Ohms highlights stories told by engineers who have used their deductive reasoning and technical prowess to troubleshoot and solve the most perplexing engineering mysteries.
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Sherlock Ohms highlights stories told by engineers who have used their deductive reasoning and technical prowess to troubleshoot and solve the most perplexing engineering mysteries.
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