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ATC-1000 Serial to IP Converter Teardown

Front Cover

Front Cover

Just a quick teardown this month! This is an industrial RS-232/RS-485 to Ethernet serial converter.Not much to say about the outside of the unit, there’s the DB-9 connector for the 232 interface, and Phoenix connector blocks for the 422/485 interface. The main power input, and the Ethernet jack are on the other side.

PCB

PCB

Under the hood, there’s a pretty densely populated board. The brains of the operation is a IP210T Serial to Ethernet SoC with A/D Converter. This is an 8051 based core, wuth 10/100 MAC. No flash memory here either, only 64KB of OTP EPROM. On the left there’s a few bus transceivers to interface the serial ports, along with some glue logic. At the top we have the Ethernet magnetics, configuration EEPROM for the SoC & a trio of indicator LEDs.
Power supplies are dealt with via an LM2576-3.3 DC-DC buck converter, providing the main 3.3v rail for the logic.

Siemens Orthphos 3 X-Ray Head Teardown

X-Ray Filter Carousel

X-Ray Filter Carousel

On the front of the head is the filter carousel. In this case it’s only fitted with a 2.5mm Aluminium filter. These are used to filter out the low-energy X-Rays from the beam, reducing the overall dose to the patient of radiation that does not contribute to the resulting image, as these lower energy rays are totally absorbed.

Top Cover Removed

Top Cover Removed

Removing a lot of cap screws later & the O-Ring sealed cover comes off the head. Unsurprisingly, this is full of dielectric mineral oil for insulation & cooling. There’s not much to see yet, as most of the components are hidden inside the plastic housings. The expansion bellows is at the top left, and the main HV transformer bottom left.

Wiring Feedthrough

Wiring Feedthrough

All the wiring to the head is fed through this plastic plug in the side, which is O-Ring sealed into the casting to prevent oil leaking out.

Tube Assembly

Tube Assembly

A clean bottle, syringe & some oily mess later, I manage to get the core out of the housing. This unit had about 3L of oil! The main HV transformer is hanging off the lower left corner of the plastic frame here, with the rest of the PSU behind it. The X-Ray tube is hiding within a metal shield in the tube to the right. There are no primary drive components present in the head – all of that is in the rest of the X-Ray machine.

X-Ray Tube Sleeve

X-Ray Tube Sleeve

A look down filament end of the X-Ray tube. There’s a shield around this, likely to help stop stray X-Rays, and to provide some electric field strength distribution, as this is connected to centre of the HV PSU’s voltage multiplier, biasing it at around +40kV.

Voltage Multiplier

Voltage Multiplier

Behind the transformer lies the rest of the PSU – a 4-stage voltage multiplier. There are 4 separate secondary windings on the transformer, each feeding a voltage doubler. This is to keep the high-voltage stress on the transformer windings to a minimum, as the windings themselves only see 10kV per section, instead of the full output voltage of 80kV. This is increased to 20kV per section by the full-wave doubler, and as these are all in series the output end has the full 80kV.

Ballast Resistor PCB

Ballast Resistor PCB

Over at the anode end of the X-Ray tube, is this board with 6x 6.8kΩ resistors in a series string for 40.8kΩ total. As this is in series with the tube anode, I presume it’s there for current limiting. At full power of 80kV 10mA, this stack will be dropping almost 500v & 4W of power.

X-Ray Aperture

X-Ray Aperture

At the bottom of the unit is the aperture where the X-Rays emerge. The connection to the centre of the voltage multiplier is also visible here.

Filament Powered

Filament Powered

Here is the view through the side of the tube with the filament powered at 4v. Filament current is about 2.6A. The copper heatsink block surrounding the Tungsten target is visible in the centre of the picture. The target is probably alloyed with Rhenium to give better longevity.

X-Ray Tube

X-Ray Tube

The tube is held into the frame by a single bolt in the middle of the anode spider. Removing this bolt allows the tube to come out, and it’s heavy. This is not that surprising, since the anode of the tube is a solid chunk of Tungsten & copper!

Orthophos 3 Head Schematic

Orthophos 3 Head Schematic

Finally, here is the internal schematic of the head itself, with the pinout marked. The operating frequency of the transformer is 35kHz, and it is my understanding that these are operated in resonant mode. There’s no filament transformer, the drive for this is supplied externally. Output voltage feedback is via an auxiliary winding on the transformer.

Test Equipment Upcycling – Variable Attenuator Module

A while back I found myself in the need of an adjustable RF attenuator capable of high-GHz operation. As luck would have it I had an old Spectrum analyser on the shelf at work, which we had retired quite some time ago.

Spectrum analysers being quite capable test instruments, I knew that the input attenuation would be done with a standalone module that we could recover for reuse without too much trouble.

The attenuator module

Here’s the module itself, with the factory drive PCB removed from the bottom, showing the solenoids that operate the RF switches. There are test wires attached to them here to work out which solenoid switches which attenuation stage. In the case of this module, there are switches for the following:

  • Input select switch
  • AC/DC coupling
  • -5dB
  • -10dB
  • -20dB
  • -40dB

For me this means I have up to -75dB attenuation in 5dB steps, with optional switchable A-B input & either AC or DC coupling.

Drive is easy, requiring a pulse on the solenoid coil to switch over, the polarity depending on which way the switch is going.

Building a Control Board

Now I’ve identified that the module was reusable, it was time to spin up a board to integrate all the features we needed:

  • Onboard battery power
  • Pushbutton operation
  • Indication of current attenuation level

The partially populated board is shown at right, with an Arduino microcontroller for main control, 18650 battery socket on the right, and control buttons in the centre. The OLED display module for showing the current attenuation level & battery voltage level is missing at the moment, but it’s clear where this goes.

As there weren’t enough GPIO pins for everything on the Arduino, a Microchip MC23017 16-Bit I/O expander, which is controlled via an I²C bus. This is convenient since I’m already using I²C for the onboard display.

Driving the Solenoids

A closer view of the board shows the trip of dual H-Bridge drivers on the board, which will soon be hidden underneath the attenuator block. These are LB1836M parts from ON Semiconductor. Each chip drives a pair of solenoids.

Power Supplies

The bottom of the board has all the power control circuitry, which are modularised for ease of production. There’s a Lithium charge & protection module for the 18650 onboard cell, along with a boost converter to give the ~9v rail required to operate the attenuator solenoids. While they would switch at 5v, the results were not reliable.

Finishing off

A bit more time later, some suitable firmware has been written for the Arduino, and the attenuator block is fitted onto the PCB. The onboard OLED nicely shows the current attenuation level, battery level & which input is selected.