This version (13 Oct 2023 17:54) was approved by Brandon Bushey.

EVAL-CN0523-EBZ User Guide


The EVAL-CN0523-EBZ is a USB-powered, RF power amplifier that is optimized for transmitting signal chains in the 5.8 GHz ISM band. Using two HMC407 amplifiers cascaded together, the design provides a gain of 28 dB and return losses of more than 10 dB throughout its RF band of operation.

An overtemperature management feature is implemented on the EVAL-CN0523-EBZ wherein the amplifiers are automatically disabled when the board temperature reaches a preset threshold, and it automatically returns to normal operation once the temperature falls below the hysteresis point.

Designed to be used with the ADALM-PLUTO, or other software defined radio platform, the board features a small form factor, with dimensions of 25.4 mm × 50.8 mm x 1.5748 mm (PCB only). The RF input and output are designed with a 50 Ω impedance, enabling direct connection between the circuit and standard 50 Ω systems.

A micro-USB connector is used for the input power, allowing the evaluation board to use most +5 V wall wart power supplies available in the market.

Figure 1. EVAL-CN0523-EBZ Block Diagram

Reference Design Hardware

Primary Side

top_temp.jpg Figure 2. CN0523 Primary Side

SMA Connectors

  • The SMA connectors are used for the RF input and output connections:
    • J1 is the RF Input SMA male connector that would be connected to a radio or piece of RF equipment. The maximum RF input level of the EVAL-CN0523-EBZ is +10 dBm. Do not use a higher input level to avoid damaging the circuit.
    • J2 is the RF Output SMA FEmale connector that would be connected to an antenna. The saturated output power (Psat) of EVAL-CN0523-EBZ is +27 dBm. Ensure that the RF load can handle the amplified RF signal. Use an RF attenuator if necessary to avoid damage.

LED Indicators

  • The reference design uses two LEDs to indicate its current status:
LED Indications of Board Status
DS1 DS2 Board Status
Off Off No power
Off On Normal operation
On On Overtemperature

Secondary Side

bot_temp.jpg Figure 3. CN0523 Secondary Side

Power Supply Connector

  • P1 is the micro-USB port used to provide 5 V power to the board. The total typical supply current of the on-board RF amplifiers is 230 mA.

Changing the Temperature Switch Trip Point (JP1, JP2, JP3)

  • The trip point of the temperature switch can be set using the solder jumpers JP1, JP2, and JP3 as shown in the table below. When the board temperature reaches the trip point, the ADT6401 will disable the two RF amplifiers.

 Figure 4. ADT6401 Jumper Setting

Selecting a Trip Point for the ADT6401
JP1 Setting JP2 Setting JP3 Setting Trip Point Hysteresis
2 & 3 2 & 3 2 & 3 +45°C 2°C
1 & 2 2 & 3 2 & 3 +55°C 2°C
No solder jumper 2 & 3 2 & 3 +65°C 2°C
2 & 3 1 & 2 2 & 3 +75°C 2°C
1 & 2 1 & 2 2 & 3 +85°C 2°C
No solder jumper 1 & 2 2 & 3 +95°C 2°C
2 & 3 2 & 3 1 & 2 +65°C 10°C
1 & 2 2 & 3 1 & 2 +75°C 10°C
No solder jumper 2 & 3 1 & 2 +85°C 10°C
2 & 3 1 & 2 1 & 2 +95°C 10°C
2 & 3 No solder jumper 2 & 3 +105°C 2°C
1 & 2 No solder jumper 2 & 3 +115°C 2°C
No solder jumper No solder jumper 2 & 3 +55°C 10°C

Due to the considerable thermal dissipation of the RF amplifiers, the last three options should not be used.

Getting Started

Required Equipment



  • For the step-by-step procedure on how to update the Pluto Firmware, you can use this user guide link. The latest firmware version for the ADALM-PLUTO can be found here:


  • In order to properly operate the ADALM PLUTO, you need to setup and configure it. Follow the procedure through this link.

Test Setup

  1. Connect directly the TX port of ADALM-PLUTO to the RF Input (J1) of the EVAL-CN0523-EBZ.
  2. Connect directly the RX port of the ADALM-PLUTO to a 30 dB attenuator.
  3. Connect RF Output (J2) of the EVAL-CN0523-EBZ to a 30 dB attenuator using a male-to-male SMA cable.
  4. Connect P1 (micro-USB) connector of the EVAL-CN0523-EBZ into a PC USB port or a 5 V USB charger.
  5. Connect the micro-USB to USB cable to a PC/laptop and the other end to the ADALM-PLUTO data port.
  6. The DS2 LED of EVAL-CN0523-EBZ will automatically turn on, indicating that the board is powered on and is in operation.
  7. Refer to the image below for the full hardware setup.

Figure 5. EVAL-CN0523-EBZ Test Setup

Warning: Connecting the CN0523 directly to the PlutoSDR input (Rx) may result in an exceedance of its absolute maximum ratings of +2.5 dBm. Such an action may lead to permanent damage to the PlutoSDR. It is strongly recommended to use a 30 dB or 40 dB attenuator at the RX input of the ADALM PLUTO to avoid incurring damage.

Schematic, PCB Layout, Bill of Materials

EVAL-CN0523-EBZ Design & Integration Files

  • Schematics
  • PCB Layout
  • Bill of Materials
  • Gerber Files
  • Allegro Board File


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End of Document

resources/eval/user-guides/circuits-from-the-lab/cn0523.txt · Last modified: 09 Oct 2023 06:52 by Zuedmar Arceo