Next Generation System Monitoring and Control (GUI)
Because we live in an increasingly complex digital waveform environment we designed in flexibility to provide you with a futureproof and digitally reconfigurable rack amplifier and since the System Engineer usually has to wrap external control and intelligence around the typical amplifier we opted to design in hardware and software to shorten system integration time and reduce cost by providing features that would otherwise burden your engineering staff with building out extra hardware and software. These features include user selectable input and output detectors, Automatic Gain Control (AGC), Automatic Level Control (ALC), and advanced protection schemes that also maximize output efficiency for a variety of modulations. These software controlled modes are summarized here:
- AGC (you set the gain of the amplifier)
- ALC (you set the output power level regardless of input)
- MGC (Manual Gain Control- typical amplifier open loop)
- FM, AM, Pulsed, CDMA, FSK, QPSK, OFDM, Multi-tone, Pulsed, Frequency Hopping, and more in a single amplifier
Output Power Management
Input Signal Modulation
Detectors on Input and Output
Touch-Screen Front Panel
Empower's Next Gen Amplifiers include a touch screen LCD with full access to all the same system controls, sensors, and alarms that are available when connected with your laptop/Web browser or remotely through your LAN/PC/Web browser. All remote control can be locked out via the front panel or if the amplifier is controlled remotely, the on-site user is free to navigate through the front panel and to monitor the amplifiers real time status without ability to set controls.
The Dashboard is your quick at-a-glance system status showing output power, reflected power, input power, internal temperature, transistor drain current, and transistor drain voltage.
System monitoring shows all the at-a-glance status shown on the Dashboard and goes further with a display of major system component alarms. These include power supply health, input power detection, shut down, driver pallet health, and whether the amplifier is in transmit mode or receive mode (optional). The input power mains is also monitored and if a interrupt is detected or a brown out, this alarm will turn red notifying you a problem with your mains occurred that may have effected operation of your mission or test even in cases where the amplifier stayed “online”.
On any screen a swipe to the right or left takes you to the next sub tab screen and shown here on the System Mon screen a swipe to the right displays several high level alarms (red if fault occurred) for each individual palette, excessive VSWR , internal temperature, and duty cycle error (when in pulsed mode).
Notice the left side navigation where further drilling down of internal system functions can be viewed. This level of monitoring is a world’s first providing the system engineer with a debug capability that quickly tells you where in your overall system does the problem reside- upstream on the exciter side, downstream on your load side, or a problem with the amplifier. Once your system is fielded, you will use this ability monitor and debug remotely so when a system issue arises, you will know what spares to bring and where to complete your debug efforts.
At A Glance
Next Generation System Monitoring and Control
Web Browser Interface
Our GUI provides the user with the flexibility to operate the amplifier in modes specific to your application and is written in HTML and delivered via the internal web server so no software installation is required on any pc since you simply open your web browser with the amplifiers IP address, whether a peer to peer direct connection or accessed via LAN. SCPI commands have also been implemented and all alarms are pushed out the LXI interface so no polling software is required.
Configuration: Mode Settings
The pull down menu on the Configuration page makes it quick and easy to set the proper input modulation scheme to ensure both the input power and output power metering is accurate and not “for indication purposes only”. More importantly this setting, in conjunction with the Detector Mode setting, ensures the amplifier protection techniques are accurate in measuring precisely the actual power being seen by the transistors so the amplifier protection and limit control is not falsely thinking more power (or less power) is being seen by the RF output stage. Without this ability your industry standard dumb amplifier has to be operated at power levels less than its rated power because the detector gets fooled, causing the amplifier to trip/alarm for non-obvious reasons. Empower’s technology actually lowers your cost/watt because maximum output power capability and operational efficiency are ensured for your particular waveform.
The detector settings available include Peak Fast, Peak Slow, and RMS and set to both the input detector and the output detector. Peak Slow allows modulation as low as 60Hz so for example you can transmit audio in AGC or ALC mode at maximum efficiency.
Because of our real time closed loop feedback control and detector architecture you can set the amplifier to work as a fixed gain block to your desired gain either through the front panel or LAN. This is called AGC mode and in many cases the gain is flat enough across the band that you won’t need external DDC’s with external power sensors/meter in your own external control loop to adjust the exciter. Great for embedded applications where size, weight, cost, and reliability are key. Time to market will also be greatly reduced. Product testing applications setups are also greatly simplified when using this mode. ALC mode is ideally suited for applications where the amplifier output power must maintain a set output power level regardless of variations of the input signal level. When the operator sets the desired RF output level (Operator sets for example 1000 watts) the exceptionally fast control loop will automatically vary the gain in order to maintain that 1000 watts. The output will then remain at a fixed desired output power across the band. ALC best used where you desire a constant output power and prefer to tell the amplifier your desired power level rather than use calibrated exciters and an external feedback loop. MGC or Manual Gain Control is also a selectable mode and is merely the open loop mode of your typical amplifier.
Here is the GUI Overview page seen through the web browser of a peer connected PC or via Lan. Its more than just a block diagram graphic since each block is click-able to drill down to system health parameters. A very useful screen to quickly verify if application issues reside outside the amplifier i.e. other test equipment in the application or within the amplifier. These diagnostic features saves the system engineer time in the development phase and when the equipment is fielded you can use these same features remotely to debug and identify issues upstream, downstream, mains (line power), or within the amp.
If you would like to play with this capability you can launch our interactive demo clicking HERE
All these features are available on our Next Generation including remote management and diagnostics via an embedded web server, enabling network managed site status and control simply by connecting the unit’s Ethernet port to a LAN or via Wi-Fi by adding a wireless router. For machine to machine interface (M2M), these system amplifiers offers TCP/IP or UDP protocol sockets accessed through the Ethernet port. To learn more about specific models available click here: https://www.empowerrf.com/download/NextGenSystems.pdf