Shrink power and communication footprint by 80% and improve reliability

14-01-2020 | Maxim | Power

Designers of ultra-low-power portables and wearables can reduce the size of a power and communication interface to the charging dock by up to 80% with the MAX20340, what is claimed to be the industry's smallest two-pin bi-directional DC powerline communication device from Maxim Integrated Products.


With power and communication on a single line, the device removes pins and discrete devices required to communicate between a charging dock and a low-voltage end product including true wireless earbuds, rings and other small wearables. This simplifies the design method and saves up to 13mm2 per earbud in comparison to the nearest competitive solution.


Customers demand smaller consumer products, particularly for wearables, in comfort and convenience through their daily lives. This ultra-small PLC chip reduces the quantity of mechanical contact points for the charging and communication interface, which decreases cost, limits points of failure and improves reliability. Also, the device includes automatic presence detection, allowing flexible design and removing unreliable and expensive alternative methods such as mechanical pogo pins or hall effect sensors. This product is configured as either a communication master or slave by a sole external resistor. Multiple modes of operation provide designers with the possibility to reduce power consumption based on their application requirements. Lastly, the communication protocol is as simple as reading and writing via I2C with the device managing all communication across the interface.


“Customers demand smaller form factors without sacrificing features and performance. The MAX20340 enables wireless earbud and bio-sensing ring makers to create the comfortable, lightweight products consumers demand,” said Andrew Baker, managing director, Industrial and Healthcare Business Unit at Maxim Integrated.

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