BLASTbus electronics: general-purpose readout and control for balloon-borne experiments

Stepp, Larry M., Gilmozzi, Roberto, Hall, Helen J., Benton, S. J., Ade, P. A., Amiri, M., Angilè, F. E., Bock, J. J., Bond, J. R. et al (2014) BLASTbus electronics: general-purpose readout and control for balloon-borne experiments. Proceedings of SPIE: Ground-based and Airborne Telescopes, v (91450V). 91450V. ISSN 0277-786X

Full text not available from this repository.

Official URL:


We present the second generation BLASTbus electronics. The primary purposes of this system are detector readout, attitude control, and cryogenic housekeeping, for balloon-borne telescopes. Readout of neutron transmutation doped germanium (NTD-Ge) bolometers requires low noise and parallel acquisition of hundreds of analog signals. Controlling a telescope's attitude requires the capability to interface to a wide variety of sensors and motors, and to use them together in a fast, closed loop. To achieve these different goals, the BLASTbus system employs a flexible motherboard-daughterboard architecture. The programmable motherboard features a digital signal processor (DSP) and field-programmable gate array (FPGA), as well as slots for three daughterboards. The daughterboards provide the interface to the outside world, with versions for analog to digital conversion, and optoisolated digital input/output. With the versatility afforded by this design, the BLASTbus also finds uses in cryogenic, thermometry, and power systems. For accurate timing control to tie everything together, the system operates in a fully synchronous manner. BLASTbus electronics have been successfully deployed to the South Pole, and own on stratospheric balloons.

Repository Staff Only: item control page