Low-power DAC that simplifies handheld designs by including nonvolatile memory

07-10-2020 | Microchip Technology | Semiconductors

Executing multi-channel system control or signal outputs using DACs in current portable and handheld industrial, communications, consumer and medical systems has been challenging to do without significant processor overhead for device configuration throughout power-up. Microchip Technology now offers a solution to this problem with its MCP47/48FxBx8 family of octal 12-bit DACs, claimed to be the first of their kind to incorporate nonvolatile memory and an integrated Vref source so they can be pre-configured for safe and efficient power-up without relying on the system processor.


“Handhelds and other portable systems are expected to deliver more capabilities in smaller, simpler designs,” said Bryan J. Liddiard, vice president of Microchip’s mixed-signal and linear business unit. “We help achieve this goal with the first DACs that eliminate processor overhead during power-up and provide the channel density, low power consumption and integrated features that today’s compact systems need so they can operate over longer periods using smaller, lighter batteries.”


Unlike DACs that do not feature nonvolatile memory, the MCP47/48FxBx8 DACs can store user-customized configuration data even when powered down. At power-up, all eight channels are then configured to the pre-defined state without burdening the system processor with this overhead. Integrating a Vref source into the DACs reduces overall system size and complexity while providing the necessary control to meet critical timing needs for safely driving all power outputs. Also, the device family offers both SPI and I2C serial interfaces to provide the designer with the most flexibility for device communications.


With an operating voltage range of 1.8V to 5.5V, the DACs’ low minimum operating voltage and high level of power efficiency combine to improve thermal performance and reliability. The DACs also provide power-on/brown-out reset protection and one of the industry’s fastest settling times at five microseconds and operate in the extended (-40C to +125C) temperature range needed for industrial and automotive applications.

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