2013-05-03 20.44.48

A correct calibration of the power bus phases can easily be seen with an oscilloscope: The sine wave is in sync with the saturation of the ferrocore.

Calibration, in the field of VX modules, is the adjustment of amplification, signal processing and sanitation coefficients, mainly done in the controller. Some VX engineers also include main axis alignment in the calibration process, incorrectly referring to the process as calibration.

The purpose of this article is to clarify what calibration is, why it should be done, and when it should be done. The precise nature of the calibration procedure is highly dependent on the box setup and the controller used. Writing a guide for each controller is impractical, as a wide variety of controller types and models are available. Orbit Industrial, for instance, has produced over 7 generations of controllers, with as many as three controller variants per generation.

What is Calibration?Edit

As stated above, the act of calibration includes, but is not limited to, the following procedures:

  • Realignment of the flux emitter(s), to avoid quark flips,
  • X, Y and ζ axis corrections, to maintain linear polarity,
  • Phase adjustment, in both the power and communication buses.

The process may be automated by the use of an auto-calibration ('autocal') module. Calibration of such devices can be fully automatic (on-the-fly calibration during runs) or semi-automated (point-by-point calibration, triggered by the engineer or operator).

Why should I Calibrate?Edit

A VX system can perform well without calibration, although most VX engineers prefer the clean and resilient output machines tend to produce when frequently calibrated. A beginner may want to avoid calibration, to avoid any overload and/or balance problems between singularities. More often than not, beginners will immediately blame failure on calibration and attempt manual compensation by adjusting settings and coefficients. This approach can lead to a bricked controller, which often means a system unable to boot. Maintenance mode can very rarely be used to rectify the problem, but in almost all cases even booting into this mode fails, resulting in an infinite preload-circuit loop and an unusable system.

When should I Calibrate?Edit

When a system is correctly calibrated, the output should be:

  • Clean: No ghosting or odd harmonics,
  • Resilient: Any random pseudo-event happening inside the Baltovsky chamber should not, in a calibrated system, have any effect on the main output,
  • Quick: Any modification on the main bus controller should have an effect on the output, in a relatively short amount of time (most of the time under 10µs) except for some newer Correla models, having a relatively large passive buffer.

If, for any reason, your VX system does not respond to calibration as described above, investigation should be done on the source of the problem. More often than not, the calibration is not to blame. It's very rare for calibration settings to 'drift' over time, especially with the magnetic synapse shield many modern systems use. Usually, damage to equipment is to blame. 

If you need to calibrate more than twice a year on a production VX, there is a defect somewhere. The system should be examined by an engineer to avoid further damage on existing modules.

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