The kit consists of three devices. A simultaneous volt-ampere meter, 6 mA current source and the mystery Black Box.
Objective of the experiment is to characterize non-linear components inside the Black Box by using the supplied devices.
While the Black box is in the centre of the experiment, most complex part is the birch-wood encased IPhO-measure device. It has voltage input, output and ground connection providing simultaneous voltage and current measurement to the experimenter. Internal data logging capability provides dataset based sample storage that can be either browsed via LCD screen and capacitive-touch buttons or a connected computer via built-in USB port. The device also includes comprehensive self-test routine auto-calibrated to the specific Black Box, which enables swift verification of the kit. Device was interfaced to MATLAB and GNU Octave for more comprehensive data analysis.
During the IPhO 2012 competition, 12 laptop computers were used to acquire the data from the IPhO-measure devices. For every kit, self-test routine was executed before and after the experiment. Data was then synchronised over WiFi connection to the analysis server. GNU Octave was used to analyse the data in the server and generate the characterization plots. During the competition, ability to erase stored data was intentionally disabled by the firmware.
The full schematics and source code along with programming instructions for the kit will be available here shortly. The device is programmable over the USB connection and can be customised if the need shall arise. This will allow anyone hearted enough to modify the device, implement new test routines and experiments. We will also publish user guides here and IPhO will publish details about the experiment.
If you wish to be notified when the updates are available, please e-mail us at the address IPhO@hedgehog.ee.
IPhO-measure is a measuring device with +/- 2V voltage range, 2A momentary and 1A fused current range, 30h run-time rechargeable battery, USB connection and flash storage.
Black Box is a non-linear device to be characterized.
Current source is a linear, thermally stable, 6 mA current limited and 600 mV voltage limited power supply. uses 2 AA batteries. Consumes no power when switched off. Runs for 80 days in the voltage limit mode and 11 days in the current limit mode.
While transporting the devices, keep them away from extreme conditions. Wooden housing is rather sensitive to the humidity and may bow or twist when exposed to liquids. The electronics are not protected against the shock, so please do not drop any devices.