"Get on the Grid"

Modular RF and Microwave is Possible

RF and Microwave Design and Product Development is an incredibly interesting and challenging field.  The “Craft is Truly an Art” and it takes years to learn and hone the required skills.  First Pass Design Success is challenging even for experienced designers.

Higher frequencies, lower power consumption, smaller size requirements and lower cost are constant pressures.  Despite the challenges, we “Analog Geeks” love our jobs because we love to solve challenging problems.

Every now and then it is good to take a step back and consider a different approach:

The X-MWsystem is built around Two Key Concepts:


Complete Modular Eco-System for RF and Microwave Components:

  • Called “X-MWsystem”
  • Everything Designed “On the Grid”
  • Broad Selection of RF and Microwave Components
  • Component Simulation Models
  • Free On-Line Simulation
  • Prototype Station
  • Custom RF Probes
  • All Assembly Accessories
  • Standard Machined Housings

Hundreds of X-MWsystem Compatible Components:

  • Called “X-MWblocks”
  • Many component Categories (Amplifiers, Mixers, Multipliers, Filters etc.)
  • All Components have Common Launch Geometries and Mounting Provisions
  • “On the Grid” Power and Control Provisions

Prototype Station:

  • Called “X-MWprotostation”
  • Rugged Stainless Steel Construction Plate (X-MWprotoplate)
  • High Performance RF Probes (X-MWprobes)
  • Standard Hole Pattern for all X-MWblocks and X-cessories
  • Modular Wall Pieces (X-MWwalls) and Modular Lid Pieces (X-MWlids) to Construct Arbitrary Shaped Enclosures
  • X-MWcables to Adapt to Your Test Equipment

Custom RF Probe:

  • Called “X-MWprobe”
  • High Frequency Performance to 67 GHz
  • Connect to any X-MWblock as a gsg Probe
  • Quick and Easy to Connect
  • Rugged Construction
  • 1.85mm Female Connector

Custom End Launch Connectors:

  • Called “X-MWendlaunch”
  • High Frequency Performance to 50 GHz
  • Solderless Bolt-On Construction (Designed in Cooperation with Southwest Microwave)
  • Multiple Connector Types
  • Eliminates the need for Custom EVAL boards… the X-MWblocks Serve as the EVAL Boards and then as Production Components

Models for all X-MWblocks:

  • X-Parameter Models of  Non-Linear Devices
  • S-Parameter Modes of  Linear Devices
  • Models extracted at the launch of the System Block…Not of a Piece Part Whose Performance Changes with Bias and Layout
  • Models are Free for use on the On-Line Simulator (X-MWsimulator)

FREE Online System Simulator:

  • Called X-MWsimulator
  • Powered by Keysight’s Genesys Spectrasys Engine
  • Intuitive Graphical User Interface
  • X-Parameters and S-Parameters and Behavioral Models
  • Quickly Iterate to the Optimum Design Topology
  • Optimize for Power Consumption and Cost
  • Easy to use Parts Selector
  • Handy Parts List for eCommerce Purchases

Simple 4 or 5 Step
Product Development Process

Step 1: Conceive / Simulate / Optimize the Design Topology

  • Build the Block Diagram
  • Simulate and Optimize the Topology
  • Optimize Component Selection for Power Consumption and Cost

Step 2: Procure the X-MWblocks

Step 3: Validate the Design with X-MWblocks on the X-MWprotoplate

  • Simply Bolt-On the X-MWblocks and X-MWprobes
  • Interconnect the X-MWblocks with Solderless X-MWgsganchors
  • Align/Configure by Probing with the X-MWprobe Choosing Pads or other Optional Parts like Low Pass Filters
  • Add X-MWwall and X-MWlid Pieces to Simulate Cavity Effects as Desired
  • Test/Validate the Performance

Step 4: Build / Test the Final Production Hardware

  • Simply Move the X-MWblocks from the X-MWprotoplate into a standard X-MWhousing or into your custom housing
  • Confirm Performance by Probing with the X-MWprobe
  • Perform any Required Pre-ATP Testing
  • Pre-Cap Inspection
  • Final Housing Assembly and Move to Acceptance Test

Step 5 (Optional): Combine X-MWblocks for Volume Production

  • Cascaded X-MWblocks May be Quickly Combined Into One Board
  • The Geometries all Stay the Same so there is No Risk of Performance Creep by Combining
  • X-Microwave Provides this Service at a Very Reasonable Rate 
  • X-Microwave will Build and Test Your Combined Product 

Design Approach Comparison

Design/Production StepsConventional ApproachX-MWsystem Approach
Block Diagram / SimulationDifficult (Rely on Experience, Spreadsheet Analysis and Partial Simulations)Straight Forward (Complete On-Line Simulation with X-Parameter and S-Parameter Models of actual X-MWblocks)
Parts SelectionTedious (Multiple Manufacturers...Wade Thru Data Sheet Charts and Tabular Data)Already Done (The Models on the Simulator are the Data Sheets...With Data at Your Operating Point...of Real Parts)
PrototypeExpensive and Time Consuming (Use combination of purchased and custom built EVAL boards)Purchase and build with the actual X-MWblocks used on the Simulation
Circuit Board Designs (PCBs)Many (Most...if not all... Custom)Typically Not Required (Most already exist). Any new PCB becomes future standard X-MWblock…adding to the portfolio
Housing DesignCompletely CustomUse Standard X-MWhousing or (Semi-Custom...easy to modify...X-MWblock Compatible Housing)
Individual Block Testing Prior to InstallationDifficult and Costly (Requires Multiple Special Fixtures)Simple (Test on the X-MWprotostation with one Probe Design...X-MWprobe)
PCB Integration into HousingDifficult (Combination of Bolt-In and Sweat Solder or Silver Epoxy)Simple (Bolt In the very same X-MWblocks used on the Protoype)
PCB InterconnectSoldered Ribbon2 Options (Soldered Ribbon or Solderless X-MWanchor and X-MWgsgjumper Interconnects)
AlignmentVery Difficult: Multiple Boards are Soldered in or Epoxied in SimultaneouslySimple (Align as You Go: Adding one X-MWblock at a time moving the X-MWprobe)
ReworkVery Difficult (Removing one of many Soldered or Epoxied Components)Simple (Easy to Remove and Replace X-MWblocks)
Test Final AssemblyStandardStandard
Combine for High VolumeExpensive and Time ConsumingSimple (the modular X-MWblocks are designed for easy combining) X-Microwave will combine on request with no NRE charge