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Bruce D. Moore

Gnat-Power Sawtooth Oscillator Works on Low Supply Voltages

Bruce D. Moore
Bruce D. Moore
Bruce D. Moore
3/28/2013 2:39:30 PM
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Re: Low-power analog building blocks
Im working on another gnat-powered widget, a staircase generator. It's still only an idea, need to build it and kick the tires, probably take a month at least since im slow as a dead goat tied to a cart wheel and thrown down a well.

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
3/28/2013 1:45:46 PM
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Re: Low-power analog building blocks
Bruce - looking forward to some more ideas like these. When will we see your next piece?

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DEREK.KOONCE
DEREK.KOONCE
3/5/2013 2:33:25 PM
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Master
555 comparison
555 is dependent on the somewhat linear portion of the RC time constant, hence the middle third use of the supply voltage. This looks nice and linear and works at much lower voltages and current.

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WKetel
WKetel
1/31/2013 10:26:12 AM
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Artist
REALLY LOW POWER low voltage sawtooth generator.
This is indeed a great circuit that looks like it can be useful in a number of applications. But putting it all into one package would possibly reduce the utility, unless provisions were made for using an external capacitor and some different resistor values. But if it were done right the success might be similar to that of the classic 555 timer, which has been used for a whole world of different applications.

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Bruce D. Moore
Bruce D. Moore
1/29/2013 12:36:56 PM
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Blogger
Low-power analog building blocks
It would be nice to integrate more stuff, like the resistors and capacitors, onto a single chip. In the 1980's I worked on semicustom analog tile arrays (Raytheon RLA120 series) that did just that. They were somewhat successful, although one problem we had was putting down the very high-value resistors that you would need for a micro-power circuit like this sawtooth oscillator.

Those old semicustom arrays were flexible enough to do quite a bit of analog processing. One use they found was in a complete anti-lock brake system developed in England for Fiat.  I recall being taken out for a test drive of a car equipped with the system on narrow, wet country roads, where the driver of the car did an abrupt avoidance maneuver while standing on the brakes. Antilock was new at the time, so it was a novel experience for me as the driver was able to steer and keep control on the wet road during really hard braking. I was feeling like "woah, I hope that RLA120 doesnt fail right now!"

Semicustom is of course a big pain with long lead times and pricey NRE required. But maybe there's a happy balance somewhere in between.

 

 

 

 

 

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
1/25/2013 1:27:44 PM
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Blogger
demanding more from your analog ICs
Hey Bruce - nice article. I like the fact that the ICs you're using contain a comparator, an op-amp, and a V-ref. I'm thinking that makes the devices a form of "intergrated analog" - altho' a fairly simple form of it. Still, more complex than (e.g.) a dual op-amp.

It would be interesting to see if anyone can integrate more of this functionality onto an IC - push the resistors and maybe even the timing cap down to an integrated level. That's the sort of integration I'm hoping more engineers will demand from their suppliers - that's part of our philosophy here.

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