MEP EP#293: Tom Anderson, the Gold Ear Sympathetic

Podcast Notes

Tom Anderson

  • An old-timer engineer working from HP/Agilent/Keysight
  • Currently still employed at Keysight
  • Volunteering at Alembic, where he designs electronics for bass guitars
  • Career includes:
    • Design of firmware
    • Digital
    • Analog
    • Microwave
    • Optical
    • Power supplies
    • Software
    • Information systems

Metrology and You

  • Do I need to worry about all of this? (as a hobbyist, is accuracy important?)-
  • Measure with micrometer…
  • Taking Measurements
    • voltage, current, resistance, inductance, capacitance, Q, frequency, time, noise, RF/microwave
    • Measurement Uncertainty
      • +/- 0.1dB specification – what can go wrong?
  • How do you make things more accurate?
    • System engineering – when the boards are put together, does the system work?
    • Testing the idea that multiple resistors are tighter tolerance than single
      • Are the values random?
    • Sources of errors – narrow things down to the path between a sensor and an ADC
      • Temperature
      • Noise, thermal
      • Noise, switching power supply, rectifier diodes
      • Noise, clock, data, address
      • DC shift – where does the ground current flow? Screws, contact resistance, and X-Acto blades.
    • Offset voltage and current
  • Connector Repeatability
  • Temperature¬†
    • Repeatability/Skid
    • Controlling temperature (room air, coffee cup, fingers, oven proportional control)


Special thanks to whixr over at Tymkrs for the intro and outro!