microPulser Programmable Pulse Generator

The Bladewerx microPulser™ is a small lightweight programmable pulse generator designed to assist in testing and calibrating radiation monitoring instruments.  It supports precision control of pulse rate and pulse amplitude, as well as one of three user-defined pulse shape profiles.  In addition, the microPulser can measure and display the connected instrument high voltage output.  The microPulser has an ABS housing designed to take abuse in the field.

The microPulser provides both analog and digital displays.  The analog meter provides visual feedback for adjustments of count rate or pulse amplitude, while the digital meter displays the actual setting values, giving accurate values of the current settings.  The digital display is also used for setup and calibration of the pulser through a user-friendly menu system.

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uPulser portable programmable pulse generator for calibrating radiation detection instruments

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Display and Control

Four controls, on the front face of the microPulser, are grouped in two pairs.  The Count Rate pair consists of a rotary switch to select the count rate range, and a linear potentiometer to adjust the rate within the selected range.  Through an integrated push/pull switch in the potentiometer, the user can toggle between a ‘snap’ mode—stepping readings by fixed increments—or a continuously-adjustable rate mode.  A front panel LED indicates when the analog meter is displaying the count rate while being adjusted.

 

The other pair of knobs control the pulse Amplitude and operate in a similar manner.  The rotary switch selects the amplitude range, and the potentiometer adjusts the amplitude within the selected range.  A ‘snap’ and fine amplitude adjustment is available on the Amplitude setting as well.  Like the Count Rate LED, an Amplitude LED indicates that the meter is showing the amplitude setting.

 

A Menu/Select rocker switch in the upper right corner of the microPulser cycles through the simple list of user menu options and selections.  A momentary power button on the side of the case turns the unit on or off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Theory of Operation

Output pulses are generated digitally by a dedicated pulse processor in the microPulser.  Each pulse consists of a sequence of up to sixteen values which define the pulse shape or ‘profile’ to be output.  These values are output through a digital-to-analog converter and additional shaping circuitry before being scaled down to the appropriate amplitude range and output to the coax connectors.  Both positive- and negative-going pulses are possible.

 

The use of the digital pulse profile also allows the creation of fast double-pulses for determining instrument dead-time behavior.  Three pulse profiles are stored in the microPulser and the active profile can be chosen through the user-menu.

 

Ranges

The Count Rate ranges run from 0.5, 5, 50, 500, 5K, 50K, 500K, and 5M counts per minute.  The upper 5M range is limited to 3,000,000 cpm by design.  The Amplitude ranges are 5, 50, 500, and 5000 millivolts.

microPulser user interface with options, Pulse profile programs, and procedural scripts displayd

Outputs

Pulse output is duplicated on three different coax connectors on the side of the case: a BNC, an MHV, and a Type-C connector preventing the need to search for cable adapters constantly.   Each signal is isolated from the other two pulse output signals to prevent unintended loading of the signal.

 

The connected instrument high voltage output is also measured on each of the connectors—choosing the highest voltage found to display.  This circuitry is utilized only when measuring the high voltage from the user menu.  During normal pulse output mode, the high voltage measurement circuitry is switched off to prevent loading of the signal through the high impedance voltage divider.

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microPulser Spec Sheet

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