onsdag 2. august 2017

DCO: Switching to JFET to try to improve low frequency amplitude

To try to fix the issue I'm having where the saw wave amplitude is too low at low frequencies, I decided to redesign the core using a JFET in place of the BJT that resets the integrator.

I found no p-channel JFET in my parts box, but I had plenty of the J112 n-channel JFETs, so to make things easier I decided to go with the yusynth design.

The Yusynth design however, has a 0-5V saw wave, whereas mine is 0 to -10V. To make sure things would still work, I changed the core ever so slightly to get a 0-10V:

instead of tapping the charge voltage directly from the DAC using a positive opamp buffer, I switched to a unity gain negative amplifier. This would sink current instead of sourcing it, changing the charging direction. To make this works one also have to replace the 2n3906 PNP transistor with a 2n3904 NPN (One should also switch the polarity of the timer output, but as both a positive and negative going spike are generated, just slightly offset in time, this was not required for testing).

But testing this, I got a big surprise - the low frequency amplitude was no longer too low - it was too high! Previously I had to increase the DAC value from 60 to 80-something, now I had to reduce it from 60 to 48 (steps times 5V/65536).

This made me less certain that switching to a JFET would improve anything, but I still decided to try it.

I added an LM311 comparator, and set its negative input to 0.118V using a 120k and a 4k7 resistor. This would assure that when the positive input was just slightly higher than 0V, the output would spike up to 15V, and when the input was 0V the output would be -15V - similarly to the yusynth circuit, where the comparator outputs a negative voltage to turn off the JFET. The circuit worked instantly (!), but as suspected, nothing changed.

So, now I guess I've ruled out the reset transistor as the cause of the offset. Also, the fact that the amplitude error changes when I swap the charging polarity, makes me believe that the cap is not at fault either (though I will still check this).

That leaves either the DAC (which is unlikely for the same reason as the CAP) or the opamp buffer.

It could also be that a small difference in the power lines (measured to +15.01 and -15.00 volts) could cause this, I don't know. I will try recalibrating and also try different opamps to see if that changes anything.

For reference: Here is the original breadboarded circuit with the 0 to -10V output. I have since added the missing 2R2 resistor, however, that changed nothing. The DAC is connected where the 20k pot is in this drawing

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