bladeRF Accessories

Brian Glod edited this page Sep 17, 2018 · 32 revisions

This page lists accessories, tools, and parts that bladeRF users may find useful. Please feel free to add your favorites!

Table of Contents

External DC Power

The DC barrel jack on the bladeRF requires a 5 V adapter, which should be rated to supply at least 1.5 A. Many supplies will experience significant voltage droop as the current draw approaches as little as 50% of the rated maximum. If the voltage droops too low, it will degrade the performance of the bladeRF.

When selecting a power supply, look for a load current / output voltage plot. For best results, the voltage should remain above 4.5 V at the expected current draw. If such a plot is not available, it is advisable to choose a supply with more output current to compensate. The recommended OMNIHIL supply can source 3 A, which is more than enough for any application. It is also a medical-grade supply and the voltage droop occurs much closer to the rated maximum current draw compared to typical power supplies with similar specifications.

Specifications

  • Voltage: 5 V
  • Current: 1.5 - 3 A
  • Plug inner diameter: 2.5 mm (V+)
  • Plug outer diameter: 5.5 mm (GND)
  • Over-voltage, over-current, short-circuit protection: recommended

Wall Mount AC Adapters

bladeRF Classic Jumper Configuration

Shown on page 14 of the bladeRF schematic, the DC barrel jack is a Switchcraft RAPC712X. Remember that both jumpers on J70 need to be moved when switching between USB power and the DC barrel input.

J70 Pinout:
 4 3
 5 2
 6 1 <| (Pin 1 silkscreen annotation) 

Power from USB Cable

  1. Jumper J70 pins 2 and 3
  2. Jumper J70 pins 4 and 5

Power from External DC supply

  1. Jumper J70 pins 1 and 2
  2. Jumper J70 pins 5 and 6

bladeRF 2.0 Micro

Shown on page 17 of the schematic, the bladeRF 2.0 Micro features a TPS2115A power multiplexer that will automatically select the appropriate voltage source. If 5 V is present on the DC power jack, the power mux will select the DC jack as the voltage source. Otherwise, it will use the 5 V from the USB host. If using, it is recommended to insert and power the DC jack first, followed by the USB plug.

Attenuators and Terminators

You should never transmit without a 50 ohm load attached to the bladeRF's TX port, whether it be an antenna or a terminator. The same goes for the outputs on the XB-200.

Similarly, you should not connect the bladeRF TX port directly to the RX port. If you'd like to externally loop TX into RX, a 30 dB attenuator is recommended.

Cables

SMB (for MIMO synchronization)

Combiners

Combiners provide an excellent means to "hard-wire" multiple devices together for testing and evaluation.

Mounting Hardware

The mounting holes on the bladeRF and the add-on boards are intended for use with 2-56 machine screws.

Programming and Debug Tools

Intel (formerly Altera) FPGAs

Cypress FX3

  • Segger J-Link
    • The J-Link PLUS (or J-Link EDU for students) are recommended
    • See Segger's distributor page for a distributor near you!

RF Test Enclosures

An RF test enclosure is an excellent way to perform testing without causing interference. Use of a well-shielded test enclosure is highly recommended.

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