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[FAQ] FAQ : Hardware queries related to mmwave devices

Intellectual 2220 points

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"site e2e.ti.com <Your query>"

Here is an example: "site e2e.ti.com Issues in SPI connect"

Here is the list of some commonly asked hardware related questions: 

Q1. Power Supply related queries:

a. What is the Wakeup/Powering sequence of the supplies in the device?

All supplies come from the PMIC without any intervention from the device, so no specific sequence is required as such; users have to just ensure that all supplies are stable before NRST is deasserted.

b. What is the average power consumed by the mmwave devices?

Refer to section 5.6 of the corresponding device data sheet for a summary on power consumed by each supply rail.

c. Under what circumstance is it advisable to use 1.3V internal LDO or an external LDO (1V)?

Bypassing the internal LDO can help with thermal performance as the internal LDO can generate additional heat within the device. But for simultaneous 3TX operation, 1V supply is required. For connecting to the external LDO, user should connect VOUT_PA to the 1V supply. Make sure to disable the internal LDO using the “RFLDO_BYPASS_EN” API for 1V supply. If the user doesn’t plan to use all three TX simultaneously, he/she can use 1.3V and leave VOUT_PA disconnected. 

https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/780461

 

Q: What is the material/specs/finish of the BoosterPack PCB?

Answer: All these specs are available in the section titled Layout and Design Files on the pages for the AWR1443BOOST/IWR1443BOOST, AWR1642BOOST/IWR1443BOOST, AWR1843BOOST/IWR1843BOOST, AWR6843ISK/IWR6843ISK, IWR6443ISK, AWR1243BOOST, AWR2243BOOST devices.

Q2. How can we read GPADC registers?

SetGpAdcConfig() API can be used to read GPADC registers once the BSS is powered up. Other than that, it can be called anytime (frames triggered or not). Once the frames have started, the temperature read will happen only during the inter frame time, and not while an active chirp is ongoing. Also, when frames are started, this API is updated only once a frame.

 

Q3. Documentation related:

a.  What is the operating temperature range of the device? Does it shutdown automatically if temperature exceeds limits?

The Operating junction temperature range of TI mmwave device is -40C to 125C (referenced from device data sheet). Built in temperature sensors could be used to monitor the temperature of the device to ensure it’s operating within limits.

b.  What are DNI Components (referenced to the schematic)?

Refer to the following thread: https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/797821

 

Q3.  CSI/LVDS related queries:

CSI/LVDS interface is basically used to send out the raw ADC data to an external processor. CSI is interface is generally used for all the “front end” devices like AWR1243/AWR2243.

AWR1443/1642/1843 is intended to be used with internal MCU and HWA/DSP where the data processing is done internally, hence the interface is disabled.

a.  How can variable CSI data lanes be configured in mmwwave studio?

CSI lane config  API "AWR_DEV_CSI2_CFG_SET_SB" allows the user to configure this. Appropriate value can be put in the "Lane_pos" field. A value of ‘0’ disables that particular lane.

b.  Is it possible to save some power by disabling the LVDS interface if not in use?

Yes, the LVDS lanes can be disabled if not in use. But even if the user doesn’t use the LVDS interface, it still needs to provide 1.8V supply to the “VIOIN_18DIFF” pin.

 

Q4. Details about DMM interface:

As of now, the mmwave studio does not support HIL. TI doesn’t have a complete tool to demonstrate playback. But details of the DMM interface, which is used for HIL, can be found in the TRM document. Users could use google search or may refer to the following thread for more details:  https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/861828

 

Q5.  General Information:

a.  How to get information about a particular API used in mwave Studio?

Users can refer to the mmwave radar Interface Control document (ICD) to know about the specifications, limitations and the exact structure of all the APIs used in studio.

There’s one other feature available for this in mmwave studio called as “help”.

For the help feature, click on option "lua shell" in the view tab of mmwave Studio and type “help <API>.

For eg. Type "help ar1.FrameConfig()" in the lua shell, and you'll get a detailed description of this API. 

b.  What is the difference in mmwave SDK APIs and mmwave studio APIs?

The APIs used in SDK and mmwave studio are a bit different (because in SDK, they're in the form of a configuration file, while in mmwave studio, it is lua scripting), but overall, both of them are configuring the same parameters just arranged in a different fashion and units to describe them.

c.  Is it possible to capture data without using DCA1000 or TSW1400?

Refer to the following thread: https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/880674

 

Q6. Some debug steps to resolve capture issues in mmWave Studi using TSW1400:

Refer to the training material available on ti.com as a start up : https://training.ti.com/mmwave-sensor-raw-data-capture-using-tsw1400-board

Please follow the steps mentioned in the user guide: http://www.ti.com/lit/ug/slwu079d/slwu079d.pdf?ts=1590506036622

  1. Ensure the hardware connection is correct and the drivers are installed correctly on your PC
  2. Ensure that you’re using the correct firmware version. Users may refer to “mmwave_studio_user_guide” for more information on this.
  3. Please remember, TSW doesn’t have the capability to capture for long times, DCA1000 has to be used for that purpose. The capture threshold of TSW1400 is limited by a time of 10 seconds or 1GB memory (whichever fills out first), and this time starts as soon as the User clicks the “TSW1400 ARM” button
  4. The power supply used should be capable of handling the current requirements of TSW1400. TI recommends a supply of > 2.5A load current capability and good cable quality.

 

Q7. Is Real time processing available in DCA1000 or TSW1400?

TSW1400 and DCA1000 only allow for “post” processing. Due to the fast data rates of the LVDS lanes, user would need some other interface to the PC besides the USB to UART to be able to process the data in real time, i.e. Ethernet. TI doesn’t offer any way to enable this on our EVMs.

Users can refer to some related threads: https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/889577

Q8. Issues in JTAG Connectivity: JTAG is common interface across devices, not particular to mmwave devices. Users can find lot of help material in CCS. Please refer to the following link:

http://software-dl.ti.com/ccs/esd/documents/ccsv7_debugging_jtag_connectivity_issues.html

 

Q9. Queries related to Calibrations and Monitoring:

Advantages of using Calibrations and Monitoring: TI’s mmWave radar sensors include an internal processor and hardware architecture to enable self-calibration and monitoring.

Calibration ensures that the performance of the radar front end is maintained across temperature and process variation. Monitoring enables the periodic measurement of RF/analog performance parameters and the detection of potential failures.

User can refer to the following document to understand about Self-calibrations and monitoring in TI mmwave radar devices : http://www.ti.com/lit/an/spracf4/spracf4.pdf?ts=1590579603172

a.  How can calibrations and monitoring be enabled in mmwave studio?

Please refer to chapter 17 and 18 of “mmwave_studio_user_guide” to start up on this.

Internal monitoring helps when the user doesn’t have the required equipment to conduct those measurements. For instance, internal monitors can be used to measure Tx power/Rx gain when conducted waveguides are not available for measurement.

Some threads on this topic:

https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/871267

 

 

Q10. What happens if the board is not starting up or the COM ports are not visible?   

Please follow the below debug steps:

a. The power supply used should be capable of handling the current requirements of the EVM. We recommend a supply of 5V, > 2.5A load current capability and good cable quality.

b. If #1 is ensured and the board still doesn’t work, next step would be to check the individual rails. Try probing the 3.3V, 1.2V, 1.8V, and 1.3V supplies near the device at the decoupling caps to make sure all of the supplies are at the correct voltage (take reference from the schematic)

c. Board might not work if the user applied an over voltage which may have blown out the fuse or damaged the PMIC. To test this please refer to the below thread: 

https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/806623

Q11. What are some of the debug steps that can be followed if there are issues in SPI Connectivity?

a. Users must ensure that they are using the correct firmware version for the device.

b. Use SOP5 (mount jumpers on pins SOP0 and SOP2 on the EVM for this mode) to erase the flash using uniflash tool and try again in mmwave studio.

c.  Please ensure the switch S2 is set to 'SPI' and not “CAN” on the EVM.

 

Q12. What are some of the debug steps if there is problem connecting to RS232?

a. Check if the COM Port is correct.

b. Ensure that the COM port used for RS232 connection is not being used by any other application.

c. If #2 is ensured, try and connect to the same COM port through some serial application like Teraterm, to make sure the port is accessible.

d. Try connecting from a different machine and with a different baud rate. 

e. RS232 connection is required in SOP-2 (development mode) only. Although mmWave Studio can work in SOP-4 (functional mode) as well. This way the user doesn’t need to rely on RS232 connection for their evaluation process.

f.  Users can also use google search to find some answered threads related to this issue.

 

Q13. Device performance related queries:

a. How to change Tx O/P power?

In the “Profile configuration” tab, there is a TX backoff setting. This is used to reduce the Tx power from its maximum value. Default setting (i.e. 0dB backoff) gives around 12dBm Tx O/P, which is the max output power the user can achieve. The antenna gain is beyond that (9dB) . Using the backoff of 1dB, for example, reduces the TX o/p by 1dB and so on.

b. What is the maximum Rx gain setting?

Rx gain Range is 24dB to 48dB. Hence, the maximum value is 48dB. Antenna gain of 9dB is additional to this.

c. How to improve Noise figure and hence SNR?

RF gain improves the Noise figure (NF). So for the best NF, use the highest RF gain. But this will degrade the P1dB point. SNR is mostly limited by the noise figure of the RX chain. Using higher RF gain can improve the SNR slightly if the NF improves.

Note: RX gain does not improve SNR (it is just a ratio of signal and noise).es come from the PMIC without any intervention from the device, so no specific sequence is required as such; users have to just ensure that all supplies are stable before NRST is deasserted.

b. What is the average power consumed by the mmwave devices?

Refer to section 5.6 of the corresponding device data sheet for a summary on power consumed by each supply rail.

c. Under what circumstance is it advisable to use 1.3V internal LDO or an external LDO (1V)?

Bypassing the internal LDO can help with thermal performance as the internal LDO can generate additional heat within the device. But for simultaneous 3TX operation, 1V supply is required. For connecting to the external LDO, user should connect VOUT_PA to the 1V supply. Make sure to disable the internal LDO using the “RFLDO_BYPASS_EN” API for 1V supply. If the user doesn’t plan to use all three TX simultaneously, he/she can use 1.3V and leave VOUT_PA disconnected. 

https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/780461

 

Q2. How can we read GPADC registers?

SetGpAdcConfig() API can be used to read GPADC registers once the BSS is powered up. Other than that, it can be called anytime (frames triggered or not). Once the frames have started, the temperature read will happen only during the inter frame time, and not while an active chirp is ongoing. Also, when frames are started, this API is updated only once a frame.

 

Q3. Documentation related:

a.  What is the operating temperature range of the device? Does it shutdown automatically if temperature exceeds limits?

The Operating junction temperature range of TI mmwave device is -40C to 125C (referenced from device data sheet). Built in temperature sensors could be used to monitor the temperature of the device to ensure it’s operating within limits.

b.  What are DNI Components (referenced to the schematic)?

Refer to the following thread: https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/797821

 

Q3.  CSI/LVDS related queries:

CSI/LVDS interface is basically used to send out the raw ADC data to an external processor. CSI is interface is generally used for all the “front end” devices like AWR1243/AWR2243.

AWR1443/1642/1843 is intended to be used with internal MCU and HWA/DSP where the data processing is done internally, hence the interface is disabled.

a.  How can variable CSI data lanes be configured in mmwwave studio?

CSI lane config  API "AWR_DEV_CSI2_CFG_SET_SB" allows the user to configure this. Appropriate value can be put in the "Lane_pos" field. A value of ‘0’ disables that particular lane.

b.  Is it possible to save some power by disabling the LVDS interface if not in use?

Yes, the LVDS lanes can be disabled if not in use. But even if the user doesn’t use the LVDS interface, it still needs to provide 1.8V supply to the “VIOIN_18DIFF” pin.

 

Q4. Details about DMM interface:

As of now, the mmwave studio does not support HIL. TI doesn’t have a complete tool to demonstrate playback. But details of the DMM interface, which is used for HIL, can be found in the TRM document. Users could use google search or may refer to the following thread for more details:  https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/861828

 

Q5.  General Information:

a.  How to get information about a particular API used in mwave Studio?

Users can refer to the mmwave radar Interface Control document (ICD) to know about the specifications, limitations and the exact structure of all the APIs used in studio.

There’s one other feature available for this in mmwave studio called as “help”.

For the help feature, click on option "lua shell" in the view tab of mmwave Studio and type “help <API>.

For eg. Type "help ar1.FrameConfig()" in the lua shell, and you'll get a detailed description of this API. 

b.  What is the difference in mmwave SDK APIs and mmwave studio APIs?

The APIs used in SDK and mmwave studio are a bit different (because in SDK, they're in the form of a configuration file, while in mmwave studio, it is lua scripting), but overall, both of them are configuring the same parameters just arranged in a different fashion and units to describe them.

c.  Is it possible to capture data without using DCA1000 or TSW1400?

Refer to the following thread: https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/880674

 

Q6. Some debug steps to resolve capture issues in mmWave Studi using TSW1400:

Refer to the training material available on ti.com as a start up : https://training.ti.com/mmwave-sensor-raw-data-capture-using-tsw1400-board

Please follow the steps mentioned in the user guide: http://www.ti.com/lit/ug/slwu079d/slwu079d.pdf?ts=1590506036622

  1. Ensure the hardware connection is correct and the drivers are installed correctly on your PC
  2. Ensure that you’re using the correct firmware version. Users may refer to “mmwave_studio_user_guide” for more information on this.
  3. Please remember, TSW doesn’t have the capability to capture for long times, DCA1000 has to be used for that purpose. The capture threshold of TSW1400 is limited by a time of 10 seconds or 1GB memory (whichever fills out first), and this time starts as soon as the User clicks the “TSW1400 ARM” button
  4. The power supply used should be capable of handling the current requirements of TSW1400. TI recommends a supply of > 2.5A load current capability and good cable quality.

 

Q7. Is Real time processing available in DCA1000 or TSW1400?

TSW1400 and DCA1000 only allow for “post” processing. Due to the fast data rates of the LVDS lanes, user would need some other interface to the PC besides the USB to UART to be able to process the data in real time, i.e. Ethernet. TI doesn’t offer any way to enable this on our EVMs.

Users can refer to some related threads: https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/889577

Q8. Issues in JTAG Connectivity: JTAG is common interface across devices, not particular to mmwave devices. Users can find lot of help material in CCS. Please refer to the following link:

http://software-dl.ti.com/ccs/esd/documents/ccsv7_debugging_jtag_connectivity_issues.html

 

Q9. Queries related to Calibrations and Monitoring:

Advantages of using Calibrations and Monitoring: TI’s mmWave radar sensors include an internal processor and hardware architecture to enable self-calibration and monitoring.

Calibration ensures that the performance of the radar front end is maintained across temperature and process variation. Monitoring enables the periodic measurement of RF/analog performance parameters and the detection of potential failures.

User can refer to the following document to understand about Self-calibrations and monitoring in TI mmwave radar devices : http://www.ti.com/lit/an/spracf4/spracf4.pdf?ts=1590579603172

a.  How can calibrations and monitoring be enabled in mmwave studio?

Please refer to chapter 17 and 18 of “mmwave_studio_user_guide” to start up on this.

Internal monitoring helps when the user doesn’t have the required equipment to conduct those measurements. For instance, internal monitors can be used to measure Tx power/Rx gain when conducted waveguides are not available for measurement.

Some threads on this topic:

https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/871267

 

 

Q10. What happens if the board is not starting up or the COM ports are not visible?   

Please follow the below debug steps:

a. The power supply used should be capable of handling the current requirements of the EVM. We recommend a supply of 5V, > 2.5A load current capability and good cable quality.

b. If #1 is ensured and the board still doesn’t work, next step would be to check the individual rails. Try probing the 3.3V, 1.2V, 1.8V, and 1.3V supplies near the device at the decoupling caps to make sure all of the supplies are at the correct voltage (take reference from the schematic)

c. Board might not work if the user applied an over voltage which may have blown out the fuse or damaged the PMIC. To test this please refer to the below thread: 

https://e2e.ti.com/support/sensors/f/1023/t/806623

Q11. What are some of the debug steps that can be followed if there are issues in SPI Connectivity?

a. Users must ensure that they are using the correct firmware version for the device.

b. Use SOP5 (mount jumpers on pins SOP0 and SOP2 on the EVM for this mode) to erase the flash using uniflash tool and try again in mmwave studio.

c.  Please ensure the switch S2 is set to 'SPI' and not “CAN” on the EVM.

 

Q12. What are some of the debug steps if there is problem connecting to RS232?

a. Check if the COM Port is correct.

b. Ensure that the COM port used for RS232 connection is not being used by any other application.

c. If #2 is ensured, try and connect to the same COM port through some serial application like Teraterm, to make sure the port is accessible.

d. Try connecting from a different machine and with a different baud rate. 

e. RS232 connection is required in SOP-2 (development mode) only. Although mmWave Studio can work in SOP-4 (functional mode) as well. This way the user doesn’t need to rely on RS232 connection for their evaluation process.

f.  Users can also use google search to find some answered threads related to this issue.

 

Q13. Device performance related queries:

a. How to change Tx O/P power?

In the “Profile configuration” tab, there is a TX backoff setting. This is used to reduce the Tx power from its maximum value. Default setting (i.e. 0dB backoff) gives around 12dBm Tx O/P, which is the max output power the user can achieve. The antenna gain is beyond that (9dB) . Using the backoff of 1dB, for example, reduces the TX o/p by 1dB and so on.

b. What is the maximum Rx gain setting?

Rx gain Range is 24dB to 48dB. Hence, the maximum value is 48dB. Antenna gain of 9dB is additional to this.

c. How to improve Noise figure and hence SNR?

RF gain improves the Noise figure (NF). So for the best NF, use the highest RF gain. But this will degrade the P1dB point. SNR is mostly limited by the noise figure of the RX chain. Using higher RF gain can improve the SNR slightly if the NF improves.

Note: RX gain does not improve SNR (it is just a ratio of signal and noise).

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Please check TI mmWave FAQs before posting a new query
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1 Reply

  • Thank you Ishita for posting it.

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    Please check TI mmWave FAQs before posting a new query
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