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What is Passive Intermodulation (PIM)?
Intermodulation is caused when 2 or more RF carriers are mixed in a system and form unwanted signals. When passive components containing non-linear elements are the source of this interference, it is referred to as:
PIM is the result of mixing " 2 carriers can create a mixing product. U fa fb fb-fa fIM2 f! .
PIM is the result of mixing " But this isn’t the only mixing product U fa fb fa-fb+fa fb-fa fIM2 fIM3 fIM3 fb-fa+fb f! .
PIM is the result of mixing " In fact there are many mixing products! U fa fb fIM3 fIM7 fIM5 fIM3 fIM5 fIM7 fIM2 fIM4 fIM6 fIM8 fIM13 fIM11 fIM9 f! .
PIM is the result of mixing " A real spectrum looks like this: U fa fb fa-fb+fa fb-fa fIM2 fIM9 fIM7 fIM3 fIM5 fIM3 fIM5 fIM7 fIM4 fIM6 fIM8 fIM13 fIM11 f! .
) . then there are other IMs as well.PIM is the result of mixing •! Multiple carriers can mix and create multiple intermodulation results. •! The odd order intermodulations are close to carrier frequencies. (That is why the PIM tester checks IM3 results. •! The IM3 is closest to carrier and has strongest IM result. •! If there is a 3rd order intermodulation.
•! Two or more transmitter channels share a common antenna. •! Receiver sensitivity is high. .PIM is the result of mixing PIM is of particular concern when: •! PIM products fall in the receive band. •! Transmitters and receivers are diplexed (share a common antenna). •! Transmitter signal levels are high.
PIM is the result of mixing " PIM multiplies bandwidth: U If bandwidth of fa and fb is 1 MHz then BWIM3 = 3 MHz BWIM5 = 5 MHz BWIM7 = 7 MHz fIM3 fIM7 fIM5 fa fb f! .
Why is PIM important? •! Number of channels per antenna increasing •! Average power per channel increasing •! Digital systems more prone to PIM than analogue systems .
even passive components. modulators and frequency multipliers •! These effects can limit a system’s performance . are active •! Certain physical phenomena cause passive components to become mixers.Causes of PIM •! All components.
Causes of PIM •! Surface Oxides •! Loose metal to metal contacts •! Use of Ferromagnetic materials •! Contaminations. causing rf heating •! Too much or too little torque at connections . eg solder splatters •! Contact between dissimilar metals •! Insufficient thickness of plated metal.
Causes of PIM Non-Linearities take two different forms: •! Contact Non-Linearity •! Material Non-Linearity .
Causes of PIM Causes of Contact Non-Linearities: •! Junction capacitance due to thin oxide layer between conductors. •! Contact resistance caused by two dissimilar metals. . •! Impurities on metal surface •! Semiconductor tunnel/schottky effect at point of contact.
•! Thermal heating due to poor conduction rate (torque. corrosion. cracks).Causes of PIM Causes of Material Non-Linearities: •! Hysteresis effect in ferromagnetic materials (nickel. iron. . steel).
Causes of PIM Non-linearity in Level: •! Diode effect causes PIM –! Corrosion •! Saturation produces PIM –! Bad joints •! Magnetic Hysteresis creates PIM –! Iron. steel. nickel plating Non linear parts in the RF path create PIM Linear components do not create PIM .
.Causes of PIM Antenna showing oxidation within the power divider.
Indicators of PIM in a cellular base station •! Intermodulation products generated by Tx signals can interfere in the Rx band. Calls are dropped or channels are believed to be occupied and not being used by the base station (loss of air time and loss of money). . •!The common result is that these products can “over-power” receive channels.
Dropped calls •! Data transmission rate drops •! RX control loop shows no problem •! Antenna sweep detects no issue •! RX noise level is high •! PIM creates interference in RX band .Indicators of PIM in a cellular base station •! Cell coverage shrinks.
What does a field technician need to fix a PIM problem? •! A PIM problem verification •! A portable field test set •! A PIM strength indicator –!Visual and audible •! Local verification/calibration of PIM test equipment .
feeder cables. connectors. very portable (8kg) Battery operated •! •! •! •! •! •! . diplexers and directional couplers.The Solution – Boonton PIM 20 •! Identifies field PIM problems of passive system components like antennas. Test frequencies from 800 to 2200MHz Adjustable level test frequencies up to 33dBm (2W) Typical PIM measurement sensitivity of -155dBc Self calibrating Small.
Verify PIM •! Portable Go/NoGo check with PIM20 •! Transmission in your licensed band •! Detects 3rd order PIM •! Numeric and bar display •! Acoustic indicator .
switch) •! Audio tone PIM indicator Loudspeaker and Jack •! Continuous or 30 sec measurement signal •! Battery operated •! Rugged. intuitive user interface •! Multiple Measurement Readings: Numerical Display LCD Bar graph Green / Red LED bar •! PIM alarm (LED.PIM 20 . weatherproof case (IP55 – closed lid) .Features •! Easy.
Standard Accessories Power supply / Power cord Accessory pouch Car charger Adaptor 12V Adapter 7/16 (m) – N (f) Test Cable N (m/m) PIM 20 .PIM 20 .
N-type (m) N-type (f/f) Test Cable 3m 7/16(m) -7/16(m) PIM 20 .PIM 20 – Optional Items (recommended) Low PIM cable load (5W) N-type (f) Low PIM cable load (40W) 7/16 (f) – N (f) Low power PIM source 7/16(m) Adaptors 7/16(f) .7/16(f) 7/16(f) .
Can a sweeper detect PIM? •! NO –!A Single signal does not create mixing –!RF Level is too low –!Dynamic range is too low .
Are PIM tester and Sweeper complementary? Yes Issue •! Bad VSWR •! DTF location •! PIM problem •! Detect bad solder •! Detect broken part •! Detect iron in RF path PIM20 •! Yes •! No •! Yes •! Yes •! Yes •! Yes Sweeper •! Yes •! Yes •! No •! No •! Yes •! No .
if you are in R&D or require component compliance test –!Current test standard is 20W –!20 W makes you immobile –!20 W is a potential health risk •! No. to detect and solve a PIM problem –!PIM problems on 20 W are present on 2W –!2 W tester is battery powered –!2 W tester is portable and easy to carry –!2 W has reduced radiation exposure .Do I need 20W carrier power? •! Yes.
.Can I test PIM on other frequencies? •! Yes. •! Other parts in TX path can be frequency dependent like diplexer. frequency has a negligible effect on PIM. combiner and antenna. filter. BUT •! You should not transmit outside of your licensed band.