EEZ Bench Box 3

Modular, open-source test & measurement chassis

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Dec 16, 2019

Project update 5 of 24

Power Output Coupling & Tracking. (And the Announcement of Our First Stretch Goal!)

by Denis

The EEZ BB3 chassis comes with a backplane that distributes data and control signals. That backplane also provides four relays that support easy, firmware-level coupling of power outputs without the need for external wiring. You can select any one of four coupling modes: series, parallel, "split rail," or common ground. This feature includes a number of safety measures: power outputs are securely wired, which helps prevent loose connections and other external wiring mistakes; affected outputs are disabled before coupling is established; and firmware ensures that the coupling itself is performed safely.

When coupling in series or parallel, firmware automatically sets and displays output values in order to simplify usage. There is no need to re-calculate anything, and the measured values are easy to interpret.

Tracking functionality allows you to control two or more channels simultaneously. The output values, protections, and power output states of any channel in a group are kept in sync with changes made to any other channel in that group. This feature simplifies the controlled powering of a device that requires multiple power sources or symmetrical power when used in combination with "split rails" coupling.

The short video below demonstrates how easy it is to use EEZ BB3’s coupling and tracking options.

First Stretch Goal

A few people have commented on the somewhat non-standard position of BB3’s Ethernet and USB connectors, which are located on the front panel of the chassis. Our reason for putting them on the front is simple: to reduce the cost and complexity of the wire harness. Moving these connectors to the rear of the chassis would require two additional patch cables and a revised MCU module, as well as new front and rear panels.

To get a better sense of how much people want this change, we posted a Twitter poll, and it looks like this change is important to you. As a result, we’ve decided to make this our first stretch goal. If we reach $100,000 in crowdfunding, we will have enough to cover the cost of a new prototype and to deliver a modified enclosure with two additional patch cables.

In our next update, we will provide yet another example of how BB3 is more than just a power supply. We will also give you one more reason to care about that color touchscreen. Until then!

Cheers, Denis

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