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NOAO Torrent Power Supply board

The National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) has relied on an image sensor controller package called MONSOON for years. Recently, NOAO has undertaken a development project to design a second generation of the MONSOON architecture with a prime focus on cost, performance, and maintainability of the system. That project has been code-named TORRENT.

Fishcamp Engineering had previously worked on the MONSOON project with the NOAO team. Follow this IBM link for information about that work. Furthering that relationship, the NOAO development team invited us to participate in the TORRENT development. We were contracted to be responsible for the TORRENT Power Supply module. The picture of the circuit card assembly above is the result of that work.

The TORRENT Power Supply module required 8 different supply voltages to be generated from the input power rail. Not only did it need to supply the voltages for the digital and analog sections of the rest of the TORRENT package, but it had to be programmable in order to support the diverse set of detectors that the TORRENT System would need to support. Of particular challenge was the requirement to keep supply line noise to an absolute minimum in order not to degrade the performance of the Analog Front End section of the system.

A total of 5 TORRENT Power Supply Cards were delivered to NOAO in May, 2009. They are currently being tested and used to support on-going development of the rest of the TORRENT Electronics package.

Four IBM circuit cards were delivered to NOAO in Tucson, AZ this past August. Testing in underway with the NEWFIRM image sensor at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Future deployments will be made at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.



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