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A product detector is a type of demodulator used for AM and SSB signals. Rather than converting the envelope of the signal into the decoded waveform like an envelope detector, the product detector takes the product of the modulated signal and a local oscillator, hence the name. A product detector is a frequency mixer.

Product detectors can be designed to accept either IF or RF frequency inputs. A product detector which accepts an IF signal would be used as a demodulator block in a superheterodyne receiver, and a detector designed for RF can be combined with an RF amplifier and a low-pass filter into a direct-conversion receiver.

A simple product detector[edit]

The simplest form of product detector mixes (or heterodynes) the RF or IF signal with a locally derived carrier (the Beat Frequency Oscillator, or BFO) to produce an audio frequency copy of the original audio signal and a mixer product at twice the original RF or IF frequency. This high-frequency component can then be filtered out, leaving the original audio frequency signal.

Mathematical model of the simple product detector[edit]

If m(t) is the original message, the AM signal can be shown to be

\,x(t)=(C+m(t))\cos(\omega t).

Multiplying the AM signal x(t) by an oscillator at the same frequency as and in phase with the carrier yields

\,y(t)=(C+m(t))\cos(\omega t)\cos(\omega t),

which can be re-written as

\,y(t)=(C+m(t))\left(\tfrac{1}{2} + \tfrac{1}{2}\cos(2\omega t)\right).

After filtering out the high-frequency component based around cos(2ωt) and the DC component C, the original message will be recovered.

Drawbacks of the simple product detector[edit]

Although this simple detector works, it has two major drawbacks:

  • The frequency of the local oscillator must be the same as the frequency of the carrier, or else the output message will fade in and out in the case of AM, or be frequency shifted in the case of SSB
  • Once the frequency is matched, the phase of carrier must be obtained, or else the demodulated message will be attenuated, but the noise will not be.

Frequency of an AM carrier can be accurately determined with a phase-locked loop, but for SSB, the only solution is to construct a highly stable oscillator.

Another example[edit]

There are many other kinds of product detectors as well, which are practical if one has access to digital signal processing equipment. For instance, it is possible to multiply the incoming signal by the carrier, times the square of another carrier 90° out of phase with it. This will produce a copy of the original message, and another AM signal at the fourth harmonic, by means of the trigonometric identity

\sin^2\theta \cos^2\theta = \frac{1 - \cos 4\theta}{8}

The high-frequency component can again be filtered out, leaving the original signal.

Mathematical model of the detector[edit]

If m(t) is the original message, the AM signal can be shown to be

\,x(t)=(C+m(t))\cos(\omega t).

Multiplying the AM signal by the new set of frequencies yields

\,y(t)=(C+m(t))\sin^2(\omega t)\cos^2(\omega t)
=(C+m(t))\frac{1 - \cos 4\omega t}{8}
=\frac{(C+m(t))}{8} - \frac{(C+m(t))\cos 4\omega t}{8}.

After filtering out the component based around cos(4ωt) and the DC component C, the original message will be recovered.

A more sophisticated product detector[edit]

A more sophisticated product detector can be constructed in a way much like a single-sideband modulator. Two copies of the modulated input signals are created. The first copy is mixed with a local oscillator and low-pass filtered. The second copy is mixed with a 90° phase-shifted copy of the oscillator and the output of this mixer is also 90° phase-shifted and then low-pass filtered. These copies are then combined to produce the original message. This operation is similar to that performed by a dual-phase lock-in amplifier. Example: I-Q Demodulator

Advantages and disadvantages[edit]

The product demodulator has some advantages over an envelope detector for AM signal reception.

  • The product demodulator can decode overmodulated AM and AM with suppressed carrier.
  • A signal demodulated with a product detector will have a higher signal to noise ratio than the same signal demodulated with an envelope detector.

On the other hand, the envelope detector is a simple and relatively inexpensive circuit, and it can provide higher fidelity, since there is no possibility of mistuning the local oscillator.

A product detector (or equivalent) is needed to demodulate SSB signals.

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Product_detector — Please support Wikipedia.
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7 news items

Tue, 25 Sep 2012 10:15:07 -0700

Smart system features like a focus finder and automatic signal detection of the encoder and product detector significantly help to reduce installation time. An intuitive user interface on a touch-screen tablet includes a setup wizard to set up the ...
Industrial Laser Solutions Magazine
Mon, 01 Oct 2012 09:34:18 -0700

Standard system configuration is a vector scanning laser marker, lens, mechanical focus finder, product detector, and touch-control unit. (Options include a mobile floor stand, beam shields, exhaust units, encoder, mounting brackets, and additional ...


Wed, 01 May 2013 05:10:44 -0700

... high quality results on paper, cardboard, plastics and other materials handles both stationary and moving products. Features include focus finder for simple adjustment of working distances and automatic signal detection of the encoder and product ...
Southgate Amateur Radio Club
Sun, 25 Nov 2012 14:06:36 -0800

The concept of the board was that it should provide a 10.7 MHz output which could be used in a conventional linear transponder. In addition a 'product detector' demodulator could recover audio from many stations transmitting PSK signals (PSK31 or 63 or ...
Chicago Daily Herald
Thu, 01 Apr 2010 22:13:44 -0700

Indy, an 8-year-old Dutch shepherd, scrambles up a pallet of cardboard boxes in a large Rosemont warehouse and scratches furiously at a cardboard computer box. After 15 seconds, she's in the box. She finds what piques her interest; a small amount of ...
Southgate Amateur Radio Club
Tue, 17 Aug 2010 01:04:26 -0700

The hardware unit comprises of (i) transistor VFO (using ceramic resonators for 3.58 MHz (80m) and 7.2 MHz (40m), (ii) buffer stage, (iii) single balanced diode product detector and (iv) transistor RF amplifier (optional). Your favourite direct ...
Sun, 15 Jun 2014 23:10:56 -0700

博世集团是世界第131强(2013年7月8日)。[1] 博世集团是全球第一大汽车技术供应商,2012年销售额达到674亿美元,其中在中国销售额达到274亿人民币。博世在全球雇员约275,000名,其中在中国雇员约21,200名。博世汽车技术 ...

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