Programmable Matrix Array device enables multiple mixed signal system functions to be integrated into one device Ever wished you could create your own analog IC – integrating all the mixed signal functions that you need for your design, without loading you up with features that you don’t? The good news is, now you can. Alvin Ferlance, Divisional Engineering Manager at Anglia, introduces an innovative highly customisable Mixed-signal Matrix Array device where a vast array of new functions can be simply created by the designer.
MCUs are now very good at sweeping up popular system functions, but don’t necessarily offer everything your system needs. If you haven’t space or power for discrete devices to implement these additional features you’ve got a problem. Fortunately, Renesas, offers a way forward with the introduction of the Advanced Analog GreenPAK™ IC allowing designers to create, simulate and prototype their own unique sophisticated mixed signal ICs in minutes at a lower cost than a discrete component implementation. Applications that will benefit from GreenPAK include analog interfaces for sensors, AFEs for Analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), and tuneable analog filters. Other potential applications include sensor interfaces to pressure sensors, photo detectors, and force-sensitive button.
What is GreenPAK?
GreenPAK devices enable designers to integrate many analog and mixed signal discrete circuit functions into a single device. By replacing many popular mixed-signal standard products, often used in combination, GreenPAK minimizes component count, board space, power consumption and cost. Using the GreenPAK Software and Development Kit, it is possible for designers to create and program a custom circuit in minutes.
The GreenPAK devices combine logic, timing, and mixed signal functions together into a highly configurable and integrated solution, see fig. 1. The majority of GreenPAK devices are one-time programmable (OTP) but a few multiple time programmable (MTP) options exist. Rapid prototyping is possible and the only cost is the device itself, there are no engineering costs for the circuit design creation or additional programming fees, and custom programmed samples can be supplied free of charge. Unlike an ASIC design, the GreenPAK hardware design remains flexible allowing for changes as required during the design process.
Figure 1. Functions GreenPAK can integrate
A typical example of a GreenPAK device is the HVPAKTM (SLG47105) which features four outputs with operating voltage up to 13.2 V and up to 2 A current per output. The device combines mixed-signal logic and high-voltage H-bridge functionality in a tiny 2 x 3 mm QFN package.
Extending on the incredible flexibility offered by the GreenPAK family, Renesas has introduced the GreenPAK, AnalogPAKTM device – which features the first Programmable Mixed-Signal Matrix with configurable operational amplifiers and many other analog blocks. The SLG47004V AnalogPAK device combines all the great features of the Renesas configurable logic resources plus three configurable op amps, two 1024 position rheostats, I2C, two analog switches, an analog temperature sensor and EEPROM into a 3 mm x 3 mm STQFN package. The SLG47004 is an ideal replacement for designs that include programmable gain amplifiers, instrumentation amplifiers, digital potentiometers, and analog switches. Its high level of customization and integration of multiple functions into a single ultra-small form factor device is unmatched. The device has multiple time programmable memory allowing users to configure SLG47004 in-system or use as a pre-programmed solution for maximum design flexibility.
Benefits of GreenPAK
GreenPAK offers several benefits verses using discrete components, firstly designers can integrate and differentiate their products by adding new features and functionality all in one compact device as small as 1.0 mm x 1.2 mm. The PCB footprint can be significantly shrunk, fewer components also mean reduced track routing complexity and higher reliability with fewer solder connections. Another advantage is the reduction in power consumption GreenPAK offers by powering fewer discrete devices and dynamically managing power within the device itself, this makes GreenPAK ideal for battery powered equipment where it is possible to extend battery life and achieve longer run time.
GreenPAK makes it much easier to adapt designs and add new features as they are needed during the design cycle or life cycle of the end product. This can often be achieved without changing the fundamental board layout allowing designers to quickly make new working prototypes in minutes. The GreenPAK ecosystem of hardware and software development tools makes it simple to exploit the power of silicon without engineering charges and long lead times, allowing designers to achieve a faster time to market. There is even a “cookbook” available which enables designers to see where a GreenPAK can be used within their projects. The cookbook outlines different techniques and provides completed applications to help designers start using GreenPAK in no time at all.
Another important attribute of GreenPAK is that it allows greater protection of the circuit design and associated Intellectual Property (IP), because the circuit configuration is embedded within the IC and can be protected by disabling the read-back of the NVM, it is much more difficult for the design to be reverse engineered.
And finally, one extremely relevant topic currently is the constrained availability and long lead-times for some of the discrete devices commonly used in a circuit. GreenPAK can help alleviate these challenges by emulating and integrating those discrete component functions into one device, at the same time reducing the PCB component count helping to save further costs in purchasing and administration through greater BoM management efficiencies and reduced stock holding.
The design flexibility, small device sizes and cost effectiveness of GreenPAK create a compelling solution for designers.
Renesas has a comprehensive suite of hardware and software development tools available for GreenPAK.
A standard development board available where pre-soldered GreenPAK devices on a low-cost DIP adapter board can be installed allowing for quick circuit design development.
For more experienced users and as the design starts to move to the next stage, the GreenPAK advanced development board enables users to program blank surface mount devices via a socket adapter board, these programmed devices can then be soldered directly onto the end users PCB for quick prototypes and proof of concept designs.
Both development boards connect to a PC via USB. The GreenPAK designer software development tool is used to configure the GreenPAK devices. It is free to download and uses a simple intuitive GUI that enable developers to start quickly creating designs.
A huge range of support material including product presentations, tutorial videos, application notes and the aforementioned cookbooks are also available which demonstrate some common functions to get developers up and running quickly.
Anglia offers support for customer designs with free evaluation kits, demonstration boards and samples of Renesas products via the EZYsample service which is available to all registered Anglia Live account customers.
Anglia’s engineering team can offer support to designers with their extensive experience of circuit design across a wide range of applications and functional blocks, they can offer advice and support at component and system level. This expertise is available to assist customers with all aspects of the product design and component selection, providing hands on support and access to additional comprehensive Renesas resources including technical application notes and reference designs.
Visit www.anglia-live.com to see the full range of Renesas products available from Anglia.