HD PPM ‘Plus’ – Major update!

Andy Norrie

Posted: 2nd June 2023



The latest update to our HD PPM range is here


The HD Programmable Power module was first released in 2016. We aim to support our products for many years, and HD is no exception.

The more advanced Power Analysis Module (PAM) range launched in 2021 and made many architectural improvements to our original power designs. Now we are announcing a major update to the HD range that will bring the benefits of the PAM back to our older product line.



Internally called HD ‘Plus’, this is a major firmware and FPGA update both to the QTL1999 and QTL1995 product range. I would recommend you plan an upgrade for all existing PPM units, as the benefits are significant. Local resellers can provide an eval unit to trial before committing to the upgrade.


Upgrade process

The update can be applied to all existing QTL1999 / QTL1995 hardware, BUT requires a calibration cycle. It makes major changes to the data capture.

Calibration can be done in Quarch or in conjunction with a Quarch-certified calibration house (Simco in the US) Modules returned to Quarch also have the benefit of a full test cycle, and we also apply hardware reworks if there are any that can improve your existing unit. We will apply the upgrade free of charge when done alongside a standard calibration request. Contact your local reseller or support@quarch.com to get started!


The benefits

  • Alignment with the PAM product range for better long-term support
    Upgrading the core code of the product allows us to maintain it better and share new features and fixes between the HD and PAM range
  • Faster streaming (Recording at 4uS is now possible for several minutes)
    The new block-based streaming is more advanced, flexible, and faster, so you can capture much more data than was possible before. A simple update to the latest version of Quarchpy and/or Quarch Power Studio will be all you need to to get it working

  • Better accuracy at low power levels
    HD modules worked with unsigned current values, and the product spec for current was from 100uA and up. At very low currents, some drives have an inductive profile, and brief negative current spikes are seen.

    The HD Plus firmware would not account for these, resulting in a higher power measurement. The new HD Plus firmware uses signed values all the way through the processing, so we can improve our accuracy spec.

  • Additional triggers now exist, including more trigger-out options.


Things to be aware of

No upgrade as major as this is perfect; there are a small number of points to be aware of:

  • Customers who wrote their own packet decode for HD (‘very’ few) will have to extend it. Or move to using QIS if they want to benefit from the upgrade

  • Testmonkey (our older windows only app) does not support HD Plus. As Testmonkey it does not support many features of even the original HD, we do not think this will be a major issue. Quarch Power Studio can do everything Testmonkey did, and vastly more. Please consider Testmonkey as obsolete for power testing going forwards.

  • Power trigger thresholds are not available in HD Plus, though both current and voltage triggers are. The resolution of the triggers has also slightly changed due to the move to the PAM architecture. This is unlikely to affect many customers

  • The response of measure commands now match the PAM format.  They have a space between the number and the unit
    PPM = “692mV“ PPM Plus = “692 mV“
    This makes parsing more consistent.  It can be handled in custom scripts very easily.

  • The response of measure command can now have a wider range of units. A command that always responded in ‘mA’ before may now be in ‘uA’, again custom scripts can check for this easily if not already done.

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