Two documents present wide-ranging discussions of some issues in the design and operation of signal-conditioning circuits. The first document focuses on active low-pass filter circuits that contain resistors, capacitors, and operational amplifiers. It describes design and operational problems encountered previously, deficiencies of prior designs, and four design improvements to overcome the deficiencies.

These improvements are as follows:
  1. An offset-calibration feature in which an electronic switch isolates a filter capacitor in order to preserve its voltage during a calibration performed to measure the offset voltage of the operational amplifier;
  2. Configuring a pair of complementary operational amplifiers to prevent latchup and decrease the degree of nonlinearity in overall response;
  3. Minimizing distortion by taking the filter output from the operational-amplifier output nodes instead of from one of the other nodes as in prior designs; and
  4. Providing for switching different feedback resistors to change filter break frequencies.

The second document addresses topics in the architecture of signal-conditioning and multiplexing circuitry. Improvements are described as being made with respect to greater compactness, increased flexibility in accommodating a variety of inputs, improvements in filter performance, simplification of wiring, and reconfigurability of designs.

This work was done by Robert L. Shuler of Johnson Space Center. For further information, contact the Johnson Commercial Technology Office at (281) 483-3809.

This invention is owned by NASA, and a patent application has been filed. Inquiries concerning nonexclusive or exclusive license for its commercial development should be addressed to the Patent Counsel, Johnson Space Center, (281) 483-0837. Refer to MSC-23538/9.

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the July, 2004 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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