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Field Programmable Analog Arrays Get Larger and Cost Less

Anadigm introduced two new field programmable analog arrays (FPAAs) that offer twice the processing capability of the company's entry-level device at an aggressive price point. These new devices open the way for programmable analog implementations in high-volume audio, industrial, and medical systems.

Priced starting at $5.08 in 10,000-piece quantities, the new AN122E04 and AN222E04 combine streamlined I/O configuration options with the same Configurable Analog Block (CAB) resources as Anadigm's flagship FPAA products, giving designers all the signal processing capabilities they need for high-volume analog filtering, sensor conditioning, and basic PID control applications.

Serving as the analog equivalent to an FPGA, the new FPAAs will be used to replace discrete components and analog ASICs and ASSPs with a programmable, pre-tested, single-chip device that puts analog functions under software control.

“With twice the analog processing resources as our entry-level AN221E02, these new FPAAs deliver twice the value for our customers at a marginally higher cost,” said Nathan John, vice president of worldwide marketing at Anadigm. “For high-volume applications, these new devices are highly price-competitive with discretes and ASICs, while greatly reducing the duration and cost of the development process by comparison.”

Designers will program the AN222E04 and AN122E04 using AnadigmDesigner2, a drag-and-drop CAD tool that allows designers to construct complex analog functions using configurable analog modules (CAMs) as system building blocks. With this easy-to-use interface, the design process can be measured in minutes, allowing complete analog systems to be built rapidly, simulated immediately, and then downloaded to the FPAA chip for testing and validation. With analog functions defined by software, control is easily implemented using C-code automatically generated by AnadigmDesigner2.

Both the AN222E04 and AN122E04 devices can be reconfigured in-system to enable auto-ranging and auto-calibration. This same capability allows the FPAAs to change their functions sequentially over time to support multiple operating modes, thus allowing designers to consolidate several functions in a single IC. The AN222E04 has the additional feature of being dynamically reconfigurable, allowing on-the-fly, real-time control of analog functions by the microprocessor in an embedded system.

At the heart of the AN222E04 and AN122E04 devices is an array of four identical CABs that are the supporting hardware elements that implement the CAM functions. These devices also feature four I/O cells and two dedicated output cells, allowing each device to be programmed with up to six outputs. In addition, both devices have a successive approximation register block that can be used with the lookup table to implement non-linear functions.

Packaged in the 44-pin QFP, samples and production quantities of both devices are available now. Pricing in 10,000-piece quantities for U.S. delivery starts at $6.19 for the AN222E04 and $5.08 for the AN122E04.

There aren't nearly as many makers of analog field programmable devices as there are with digital. Digital is straightforward compared to the many more intricacies of analog.

While several players have come, gone, or been absorbed by the industry, there are some field programmable analog technologies that are steadily moving more and more toward the mainstream. One of them comes from Anadigm who has just released two new field programmable analog arrays (FPAAs).

The new parts double the effective analog density over previous family members. What's more the company is more aggressively pricing their parts to get even more of an edge compared to discrete analog solutions.

Like FPGAs, Anadigm's new AN222E04 and AN122E04 devices are programmable and reconfigurable in-system. Unlike most FPGAs, the AN222E04 has the additional feature of being dynamically reconfigurable, allowing on-the-fly, real-time control of analog functions by the microprocessor in an embedded system. I like this.

Not only does this open the door for dynamic processing in real time, it also solves long term issues like drift. Dynamic processing functions like adaptive filters, downloadable pre programmed equalization settings, automated sensor interfacing and calibration, and so much more can take place as well as leaving the ability to add to the design later on in life. This can help make the same boards usable in future applications since effectively, it's a software issue.

Long term drift and auto-calibration can take place as well since over time, components may drift or degrade. Instead of turning a trimmer, adjustments are made through an embedded micro or user interface.

Taking aim at programmable analog instrumentation and high-volume audio, industrial, and medical systems are good bets, especially with the reasonable pricing. Prices start at $5.08 (10K qty).

Also key in making this possible is the suite of design, development tools Anadigm provides. You can program parts using a drag-and-drop CAD tool which quickly and easily captures complex analog functions.

The building blocks or 'configurable analog modules' (CAMs) house four I/O cells and two dedicated output cells, allowing each device to be programmed with up to six outputs. The digitally emulated analog functionality also has at it's disposal successive approximation registers that can be used with the lookup table to implement non-linear transfer functions.

This approach provides immediate simulation capability with the immediate ability to then downloaded to the chip for testing and validation. Since analog functions are effectively emulated with software, control is easily implemented using C-code automatically generated by AnadigmDesigner 2, the company's development tool.

Packages are 44-pin QFP with samples and production quantities of both devices now available.

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