However well your project seems to be going, an informed second opinion from someone not too "close" to the project - someone with a different perspective - can be valuable. If your project isn't going well, or is heading for disaster, that second opinion can make the difference between success and failure.
Giastar's multi-disciplinary skills and more than twenty years of design experience enable us to rapidly identify and fix problems, and draw attention to potential problems that may not yet have revealed themselves (e.g. low production yield, poor reliability).
Examples of design reviews undertaken by Giastar include:
- Synthesiser for multi-channel receiver. A board containing several L-band synthesisers covering the same band suffered from high levels of crosstalk. The crosstalk was due to several mechanisms, and the causes were therefore difficult to track down. Giastar identified the mechanisms and provided recommendations for the next PCB layout, which cured the problems.
- Microwave antenna distribution system. This was part of an avionics test system for analysing complex high-level multi-carrier signals. The original amplifiers had been specified without modelling intermodulation products - the resulting system failed to meet the specification and was unusable. During the redesign it was necessary to re-use as much of the original system as possible, due to time and cost constraints. The original architecture was therefore retained, the system noise and intermodulation performance were modelled, and the gain distribution was optimised to allow the specification to be met with standard amplifier modules.
- Multi-output satcomms frequency synthesiser. Designed and built in an academic environment, this had fundamental problems related to phase noise, spurious outputs and crosstalk. The sources of these problems were identified (based on circuit diagrams and PCB data only, no hardware was available), and a formal report was produced giving recommendations for the next version.
- Receiver system for narrowband digital modulation (excluding demodulator). The client had produced an initial prototype that had many problems related to synthesiser performance, gain distribution, AGC, and IF filter characteristics. The problems seriously affected receiver dynamic range, and caused interactions with the demodulator which affected acquisition and bit error rates. The initial design review identified the major weaknesses, and this led to further work on redesign of the critical areas, liaison with the demodulator designer, assistance with system integration and field trials, and finally design and manufacture of an automatic test system for use in production.
- Satcomms data terminal. Identified the sources of several spurious transmitter outputs. Recommended circuit and PCB modifications which cured the problems.
- Synthesiser used in a 402MHz satellite telemetry uplink. Numerous spurious signals were present at the transmitter output. These were caused by poor circuit design, PCB layout and mechanical design. They were all identified and eliminated.
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