Questions and Answers About the Power Handling Capacity of Splitters

Before you add a power splitter/combiner to your electronics setup, you need to be sure you’ve chosen the component with the proper power-handling capacity. This is pretty much determined by the transformer and the wiring. The transformer core, for example, must saturate at the right frequency for the operating band without going over the determined power rating. The answers to the following questions may help you determine which component is right for you.

Power Handling Capacity of Splitters

Is it possible to exceed the power rating from a popular combiner model?

If your project needs an internal resistor with a power rating higher than found in standard combiners, you can consider using a unit that doesn’t have an internal resistor. Before going this route, talk to IT or equipment experts who have experience. You may find that it’s possible to outboard the resistor. Most of the time, making adaptations such as this shouldn’t be a problem.

Can I combine the output of two amplifiers?

The critical spec in this type of output combination is the insertion loss. You’ll notice that the maximum power output is reduced during combination so keep an eye on those levels. Isolation shouldn’t be a problem, however.

How can I test the isolation of a power splitter?

It isn’t unusual for splitters and similar components to develop poor isolation issues between the input and output sources. You can test high power dividers and similar components for isolation levels by using a Frequency Selective Voltmeter, an RF signal source, or a termination resistor. Begin testing at the signal source by measuring and recording the level of the signal. Next, terminate the output terminals one-by-one. Finally, determine the distance between the output signal and the applied signal. Compare the resulting number against the listed specifications for the splitter in question.

If you have the wrong splitter or combiner for your electronics setup, it’s possible that you won’t experience much performance degradation. However, if the wrong port is mismatched, you could find that your entire system is shorted.

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