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Digital potentiometers are priced like mechanical counterparts

Chandler, Ariz. — A new family of digitally-controlled potentiometers from Microchip Technology Inc. are said to be cost and size competitive with current mechanical potentiometer devices.

In addition, Microchip claims the potentiometers are the first to offer 6-bits of resolution with E2PROM and WiperLock technology in SOT-23 packages.

Intended for use in handheld equipment and many portable consumer applications, ultra-low power consumption of 0.3 μA (typical) increases battery life, and a low price point enables new applications that were previously cost prohibitive, the company said. Additional applications include sensor calibration and trimming, set-point control, test and measurement, industrial process control, consumer electronics and data acquisition.

Microchip's WiperLock technology helps secure factory calibration and trimming settings, prevents accidental corruption, and provides the flexibility to reprogram the wiper setting (unlike most other devices which are one-time-programmable). This feature also safeguards sensor calibrations, test and measurement settings, and industrial process control variables.

Key specifications for the devices include 0.5 least significant bit (LSB) integral nonlinearity (INL) maximum, 0.5 LSB differential nonlinearity (DNL) maximum, end-to-end temperature coefficient of 100 ppm (typical), ratiometric temperature coefficient of 10 ppm (typical), automatic recall of wiper settings on power up, and an extended industrial temperature range of -40°C to 125°C.

A low-cost evaluation board (MCP402XEV) is available today. In addition, Microchip's FilterLab active filter design tool simplifies active-filter design and gives users full schematic diagrams of the filter circuit with component values and displays the frequency response.

The MCP4022, MCP4023 and MCP4024 are available today for sampling and volume production in lead (Pb)-free 5- and 6-pin SOT-23 packages. Each of the devices is priced at 51 cents in 10,000-unit quantities. Click here for the MCP402X data sheets.

Microchip Technology , 1-888-628-6247, www.Microchip.com.

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