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ADF5902 PLL not locking


after following the instructions of another post of mine (, I tried to get the ADF5902 running this week. Im trying to lock the ADF5902 to a single frequency (no ramps), but cant get it to work. When using a spectrum analyzer I see the signal over a wide bandwith:

Im using the initialization sequence (via SPI) mentioned in the datasheet (slighty modified, by neglecting the writes to register R13-R16 as mentioned here: and setting the frequency to 24.1 GHz with the following:

  • 20 MHz Oscillator
  • Reference Doubler D=1
  • Reference division factor R= 1
  • Reference divide by 2 bit T=0
  • N=301
  • F_MSB =1024
  • F_LSB=0

Here ist the sequence:

0x02000007	// R7
0x0000002B	// R11
0x0000000B	// R11
0x1D32A64A	// R10
0x2A20B929	// R9
0x40003E88	// R8
0x800FE520	// R0

// delay of 10 microseconds

0x01800827	// R7
0x00000006	// R6
0x01E38005	// R5
0x00000004	// R4
0x01897803	// R3
0x00020642	// R2
0xFFF7FFE1	// R1
0x800FE720	// R0

// delay of 1200 microseconds

0x800FE560	// R0
0x800FED60	// R0

// delay of 500 microseconds

0x800FE5A0	// R0
0x800FF5A0	// R0

// delay of 500 microseconds

0x00000011	// R17
0x004F000C	// R12
0x2800B929	// R9
0x01800427	// R7; here i deploy my pll settings
0x00000006	// R6
0x025A8005	// R5
0x00002004	// R4
0x0189F803	// R3

// delay of 100 microseconds

0x0000010B	// R11

The used loop-filter:

What I tried so far:

  • using a different ADF5902 Chip
  • using a recalibration sequence
  • changing the pfd frequency by disabling the referncy doubler
  • setting the center frequency to a different frequency
  • measured the 20 MHz Oscillator (works fine)

So far, nothing helped. I would really appreciate if someone could help me with this issue.

If you need any other information, please let me know!

  • You still need to write to R13 during the VCO calibration setup to enable the clock divider (step 4 in datasheet init sequence). You should omit the later writes to setup the ramp divider (steps 31 - 34 in datasheet init sequence) and replace with a write to R13 to turn the clock divider off (0x0000000D).

    I have edited my post in the other thread to clarify this.

  • Thanks for the quick reply. Im going to test this on monday and will report on the the outcome!

  • I'm no expert in loop filter design, but I had a look at your file and changed some settings:

    • Changed PFD frequency to 40 MHz
    • Changed loop filter bandwidth to 100 kHz

    This generated the filter below:

    ADIsimPLL file in ZIP below:

    However, before you go changing loop filter components on your board, there are a couple of things to try.

    • Init sequence is setup to output on TXout2, but I noticed that you are only using TXout1. You can skip the TXout2 amplitude calibration and replace with a write to power up TXout1 and power down the TXout2 & LOout outputs
      • See updated init sequence below.
    • Try increasing or decreasing the charge pump current setting (bits[DB20:DB17] in R12 - see page 26 of datasheet)
      • Note that R5 must be written after R12 for the charge pump settings to take effect (refer to page 12 of datasheet)
    • Try disabling the doubler when locking the PLL after running the VCO and TXout1 calibrations
      • The INT and FRAC values in R5 & R6 will need to be updated if you do this, as fPFD will now be equal to fREF = 20 MHz
      • Note: keep the doubler enabled during the VCO frequency calibration

    0x02000007	// R7
    0x0000002B	// R11
    0x0000000B	// R11
    0x0018000D	// R13	// clock divider enabled for vco calibration
    0x1D32A64A	// R10
    0x2A20B929	// R9
    0x40003E88	// R8
    0x800FE520	// R0 
    // delay of 10 microseconds
    0x01640427	// R7	// clk1 = 1600; rdoubler = 1 (fpfd = 40 MHz) => fpfd/clk1 = 25 kHz
    0x00000006	// R6	// frac_lsb = 0
    0x025C6005	// R5	// int = 302; frac_msb = 768
    0x00000004	// R4
    0x01897803	// R3
    0x00020502	// R2	// adc clk div = 40
    0xFFF7FFE1	// R1
    0x800FE720	// R0 	// start VCO calibration
    // delay of 1200 microseconds
    0x800FE540	// R0	// power up TXout1; power down TXout2 & LOout
    0x800FED40	// R0 	// start TXout1 amplitude calibration
    // delay of 500 microseconds
    0x800FE540	// R0	// disable TXout1 amplitude calibration (optional write)
    0x00000011	// R17
    0x0000000D	// R13	// clock divider off
    0x004F000C	// R12	// charge pump current setting 7 = 2.24mA
    0x2800B929	// R9
    0x01000427	// R7	// rdoubler = 1 (fpfd = 40 MHz); clk1 = 0 (ramp mode not used)
    0x00000006	// R6	// frac_lsb = 0
    0x025A8005	// R5	// int = 301; frac_msb = 1024
    0x0189C803	// R3 	// muxout = ndiv/2 (optional write - may be useful for debug)

    What decoupling do you have on the supply pins? Ideally there should be 10pF, 1nF and 100nF decoupling caps close to the pins. See page 13 of the eval board user guide.

    Is your reference source AC coupled? i.e. DC blocking cap in series

  • Thanks for your effort!

    Let me first answer your questions from the post before:

    • V(R_set) = 0.632 V
    • V(V_reg) = 1.884 V
    • Value of R_set on my board is 5.088 kOhm
    • Values of capacitors should be within 1% of desired value

    Now your last post:

    • altering the Chargepump current had no major impact
    • i tried the PLL with PFD=20MHz and the issue unfortunately persisted (also changed the values of R6 & R5)
    • i have the 10pf, 1nF and 100 nF decoupling caps on my board (each set ist close to the respected pins)
    • my reference source doesnt have dc blocking caps in series

  • Did you try the updated init sequence I provided to enable output on TXout1?

    What are the details of your reference source?

  • Oh, i forgot to answer this. I did try this though.

    My Ref-Source:

    (with 20 MHz)

  • When you ran the latest sequence, has the output on TXout1 improved? You should see an output, even if the frequency is not locked.

    Could you try looking at the R divider and N divider signals on the MUXOUT pin? Refer to page 19 of the datasheet for the truth table for programming R3. The MUXOUT setting may require a write to R5 to take effect.

  • I havent really paid attention to the amplitude, but I can check this tomorrow. Same goes for the R-Divider. Nevertheless I took a look on the N-Divider-Output today:

    This was for a PFD of 20 MHz.

  • Okay, so I did some more testings today:

    Spectrum with Power Up Tx1 (your latest sequence):

    Spectrum without Power Up Tx1 (old sequence):

    Its clear that the latest sequence increased the power of the transmitted signal.

    Now N-Divider Output via MUX (all done with PFD=20 MHz):

    N-Divider /2 :


    R-Divider /2:

    I hope that this helps in any way. Thanks again for your time!

  • The N & R divider plots look more or less as expected. I am not sure why your Tx1 output is not locked.

    I tested the sequence I gave you on our customer eval board today with a 20 MHz external reference. The Tx1 output was locked to 24.1 GHz as expected.

    Init sequence log:

    18:46:41: Writing 0x2000007
    18:46:41: 0x2000007 written to ADF5902
    18:46:49: Writing 0x2B
    18:46:49: 0x2B written to ADF5902
    18:47:01: Writing 0xB
    18:47:01: 0xB written to ADF5902
    18:47:10: Writing 0x18000D
    18:47:10: 0x18000D written to ADF5902
    18:47:19: Writing 0x1D32A64A
    18:47:19: 0x1D32A64A written to ADF5902
    18:47:28: Writing 0x2A20B929
    18:47:28: 0x2A20B929 written to ADF5902
    18:47:37: Writing 0x40003E88
    18:47:37: 0x40003E88 written to ADF5902
    18:47:46: Writing 0x800FE520
    18:47:46: 0x800FE520 written to ADF5902
    18:47:55: Writing 0x1640427
    18:47:55: 0x1640427 written to ADF5902
    18:48:05: Writing 0x6
    18:48:05: 0x6 written to ADF5902
    18:48:13: Writing 0x25C6005
    18:48:13: 0x25C6005 written to ADF5902
    18:48:20: Writing 0x4
    18:48:20: 0x4 written to ADF5902
    18:48:28: Writing 0x1897803
    18:48:28: 0x1897803 written to ADF5902
    18:48:36: Writing 0x20502
    18:48:36: 0x20502 written to ADF5902
    18:48:43: Writing 0xFFF7FFE1
    18:48:43: 0xFFF7FFE1 written to ADF5902
    18:48:51: Writing 0x800FE720
    18:48:51: 0x800FE720 written to ADF5902
    18:48:59: Writing 0x800FE540
    18:48:59: 0x800FE540 written to ADF5902
    18:49:07: Writing 0x800FED40
    18:49:07: 0x800FED40 written to ADF5902
    18:49:16: Writing 0x800FE540
    18:49:16: 0x800FE540 written to ADF5902
    18:49:24: Writing 0x11
    18:49:24: 0x11 written to ADF5902
    18:49:32: Writing 0xD
    18:49:32: 0xD written to ADF5902
    18:49:40: Writing 0x4F000C
    18:49:40: 0x4F000C written to ADF5902
    18:49:50: Writing 0x2800B929
    18:49:50: 0x2800B929 written to ADF5902
    18:49:59: Writing 0x1000427
    18:49:59: 0x1000427 written to ADF5902
    18:50:07: Writing 0x6
    18:50:07: 0x6 written to ADF5902
    18:50:15: Writing 0x25A8005
    18:50:15: 0x25A8005 written to ADF5902
    18:50:25: Writing 0x189C803
    18:50:25: 0x189C803 written to ADF5902

    I think now may be the time to try a new loop filter design. Could you modify your board with the design I sent previously?

  • May I ask what loop filter desing you used? The same as in the ADISimPLL-File? I haven't change the parts yet, as it will probably be my last resort.

  • I used the EV-ADF5902SD1Z customer evaluation board to test the sequence. The loop filter schematic is on page 12 of the user guide (link). But this loop filter is designed for a 100MHz reference/PFD frequency, which is why the signal appears a bit noisy on the spectrum analyser plot that I posted.

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  • Hi,

    sorry it has been a while as I was busy writing my master thesis. After we swapped to a new Loop filter design with a 100 MHz Oscillator, the problem could still be observed. We then tested the supply signals as well as the Charge pump output:

    There is a huge ripple on both signals (blue=VCC; yellow=charge pump), which is probably causing the unexpected output of the resulting spectrum. We could not identify the source of this noise. However, this periodic ripple is probably coupling on the chargepump (or vice versa) because the PCB layout has a resistor of the loop filter placed right above a supply line. See here:


    We gonna discard this PCB for now and put our focus on the corresponding receiver board.

    The receiver PCB utilises the ADF5902 to generate a LO-signal for downconversion. As we were testing the PCB, we could see that the PLL was once again not locking and the VCO was just wandering around a certain bandwith (no distribution like above mentioned).  When we analysed this new problem, we could see that there was actually no charge pump output at all. The basic circuitry and initialisation sequence is exactly the same, but this behaviour is only present for the receiver PCB. Do you have any idea why the charge pump output is not working correctly? We checked every supply voltage pin, as well as the oscillator. Would really appreciate your help once more:) Thanks in advance!

  • Is it possible for you to measure the current draw of CP_AHI? It should be approx. 5mA with the device locked to the default init sequence at 3.3V supply and ambient temperature.

    It's possible that the device could have been damaged during assembly. Do you have another receiver board that you can try?

    An unlikely possibility is that an ADF5901 device has been installed by mistake. The pinout of this device is the same as ADF5902, except for the CP supply and output pins. Please check that the marking of the device is 'ADF5902WCCPZ'.