ZMD : A-D converters suit automotive real-time applications

ZMD AG, a global supplier of analog and mixed-signal solutions for automotive, industrial, medical, and consumer applications, today announced that its SARah family of successive-approximation (SAR) analog-to-digital converters (ADC) now meets the rigorous requirements of the AEC-Q100 automotive industry standard. This qualification means the field-proven SARah family is now ready for automotive applications, saving designers and suppliers the cost and time needed to qualify a device after design-in.

SARah is based on a scalable family architecture with full upwards and downwards compatibility. The common pin-out and software compatibility makes it easy for automotive designers to develop variation of their systems. With a total of 28 members in all, the SARah family offers a wide range of configuration choices. There are 2, 4, and 8-channel versions available. Designers can select 8, 10, or 12-bit versions with internal or external voltage references.

“SARah has already achieved wide market acceptance in industrial process control, power generation and consumer white goods applications, where they contribute to better performance and greater energy efficiency,” explains Bernhard Huber, Business Line Manager for Standard Components at ZMD. “By offering Q100 qualification, we’ve made it easier for automotive designers to take advantage of SARah’s low power and family compatibility.”

Automobiles have dozens of sensors that require analog-to-digital conversion before the car’s computer systems can use the data. Many of these sensors control emissions and safety functions, so reliability is an absolute requirement. AEC-Q100 is a critical stress test qualification for these automotive integrated circuits. ZMD’s SARah family allows the car company to standardize on a single Q100-qualified family architecture and then select the correct part for each application with virtually no extra engineering effort. This reduces design and programming time.

All SARah family members offer high accuracy at very low power consumption. With sampling rates of up to 300 ksps, SARah delivers +/- 0.25 LSB (least significant bits) DNL (differential non-linearity) and +/- 0.25 LSB INL (integral non-linearity) across the temperature range of -40°C to 125°C. All family members have a serial interface that supports SPI(TM), QSPI(TM), and Microwire(TM) protocols – industry standards for ADCs.

SARah devices have been designed to work together in applications which require large numbers of sensor ADCs. SARah ADCs can share a common voltage reference and clock source, which reduces cost and in many cases can improve system accuracy. A SARah device can also work from its internal voltage reference and clock source.

As one of the key building blocks in system signal path designs, ADCs accurately capture real-world analog information and convert it for further processing in the digital domain. Comprising the majority of the ADC market, SAR converters are widely considered to be the most cost-effective for applications that require precise digital modelling of analog signals, such as emissions control and fuel-economy management systems.

ZMD offers a USB-based demo and development platform, unique in the industry. Support software, including FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) code, is available. The common software model allows code to be re-used across multiple designs, thus saving customers development time.

The SARah family members for automotive applications are sampling now and will be available for production in Q1 of 2009. They come in an SSOP package rated for -40 to +125°C operation. Pricing ranges from around Euro 2,00 to Euro 4,00 in 1K quantities.

About the Automotive Electronics Council:

The Automotive Electronics Council (AEC) is an industry body that sets reliability and performance standards for automotive electronics devices. The AEC was originally established by Chrysler, Ford, and GM for the purpose of establishing common part-qualification and quality-system standards. Today it is endorsed by both the automotive and electronics industries. Components meeting these specifications are suitable for use in the harsh automotive environment without additional component-level qualification testing.

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About ZMD

Founded in 1961, ZMD AG is a leading supplier of analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits for applications in automotive, mobile medical appliances, and industrial automation. ZMD specializes in design and marketing of high temperature, high voltage and ultra low power application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) and application-specific standard products (ASSPs). Its advanced circuit-design expertise allow it to offer ICs with operating temperatures as high as +160°C, and voltages from 0.85 V to 40 V. Headquartered in Dresden, Germany, ZMD has 270 employees worldwide and serves customers from the company’s offices in Dresden, Stuttgart, Germany; Newcastle, England; Milano, Italy; Paris, France; the U.S. Pocatello, ID, Melville, NY; Tokyo, Japan and Hsinchu City, Taiwan. ZMD has design centers in Dresden, Stuttgart, Germany; Varna, Bulgaria and Madison, Wisconsin.

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Note: The above text is the public part of the press release obtained from the manufacturer (with minor modifications). EETimes Europe cannot be held responsible for the claims and statements made by the manufacturer. The text is intended as a supplement to the new product presentations in EETimes Europe magazine.

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