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Green Arrays Board Level Design

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by rickman, May 25, 2011.

  1. rickman

    rickman Guest

    Green Arrays is building chips of asynchronous processor arrays.

    "Varying capacitor values create impedance peaks as well as nulls in
    the frequency domain and should be avoided."

    This is in the data sheet for the GA144 device. I am sure it is well
    intentioned and I am sure the folks at GA know their chip, but I don't
    think this advice is what I would hear from various board design

    In a class I took some time ago with Lee Ritchey, he showed how using
    multiple values of caps in the power distribution system (PDS) will
    provide a lower impedance across the board... in spite of the
    impedance "peaks" caused by the resonances of the cap and parasitic
    inductance. These peaks are mitigated by the equivalent series
    resistance of the caps. They still exist, but in a well design system
    are lower than the impedance at that frequency if only one value of
    cap is used. Lee never showed an example where he was trying to lower
    the PDS impedance at only specific frequencies.

    The authors of the data sheet seem to feel designing a PDS with a low
    impedance over a broad bandwidth is important for the GA chips moreso
    than in In a system where the noise frequencies appear to be fixed. I
    doubt that anyone targets specific frequencies when they design a
    PDS. After all, most systems use multiple frequencies and a board
    designer isn't going to want to respin a board because someone changed
    the frequency of the oscillator.

    Any comments on the likely validity of the GA recommendation to use a
    single value of ceramic cap rather than multiple values?

    One of the things from Lee Ritchey's course that has stuck with me is
    when he reported a conversation with an FAE where Ritchey was told
    that if he didn't abide by the advice in the app notes (which Lee was
    disagreeing with) that they wouldn't guarantee he board would work. He
    asked if he did abide by the app note advice, would they then
    guarantee that he board would work? I suppose not... eh?

    rickman, May 25, 2011
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  2. rickman

    Didi Guest

    Post this to the si-list (where Lee Ritchie is subscribed) if you
    want to initiate a lengthy discussion on the topic :).

    Most likely you will be advised to buy a $30k+ simulation package
    to simulate your board :D.

    But there are people there who do know interesting details of high
    speed PCB design there, no doubt about that.

    Didi, May 25, 2011
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  3. rickman

    rickman Guest

    Where would I find the "si-list"?

    rickman, May 26, 2011
  4. It sounds a little mangled to me. Half correct.
    Impedances are in PARALLEL, so peaks are naturally removed.

    IIRC Infineon did a good study on this a while back, with measured

    The single most dominant Power Supply Impedance driver is the Ground
    plane, which does most of the High frequency work, then the
    Inductances from the traces to GET to the plane, and then last is the
    capacitor values.
    Physical size matters too, as that can determine lead length, and how
    close you can get a cap to the chip.
    Then if you do Via-In-Smd, you will have even lower inductance...

    If you have an EMC fail, at a specific frequency, then looking for a
    null there could make sense, but otherwise, other factor are much more
    important than Cap Value.

    Jim Granville, May 26, 2011
  5. rickman

    rickman Guest

    I don't think that is quite right. The peaks are there. This is a
    result of the parallel combination of one cap looking capacitive and
    another cap looking inductive. This shows quite clearly in
    simulations as well as measurements. But there is also the effective
    series resistance of the cap which disrupts this resonance and greatly
    reduces the size of the peaks. A theoretical LC circuit will have
    infinite impedance at the peaks. A real LC from power supply caps
    will have peak heights the same order of magnitude as the individual

    My real point is that I have never seen a designer consider the
    specific frequencies of a circuit and try to match the nulls to those
    frequencies. I think there is far too little control over the details
    that determine the locations of the peaks and nulls to be able to do
    that (the parasitic inductance and even the capacitance). So all
    power distribution systems are designed to have low impedance
    broadband, not at specific frequencies. I just found this note to be
    such an odd thing to include. It makes me wonder how well connected
    the author is to mainstream board level design. Or maybe I should
    wonder how well connected I am to mainstream board level design? :^*

    rickman, May 27, 2011
  6. Is that the Signal Integrity list?
    Roberto Waltman, May 28, 2011
  7. rickman

    rickman Guest

    Thanks. I think Lee mentioned this in his class and how every so
    often in that list someone will have a long discussion trying to
    contradict some of the points he was making in the class. I hope I'm
    not the next one...

    rickman, May 28, 2011
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