ZMD Unveils SARah Low Power ADCs for Real-Time Applications

ZMD AG, a global supplier of analog and mixed-signal solutions for automotive, industrial, medical, and consumer applications, expanded its product portfolio with a complete family of successive-approximation (SAR) analog-to-digital converters (ADC). SARah is based on a scalable family concept enabling upwards and downwards compatibility. With a total of 28 members in all, the SARah family offers a wide range of configuration choices. Designers can select 8, 10, or 12-bit versions with internal or external voltage references. There are 2, 4, and 8-channel versions available. The common pin-out and software compatibility increases the ability of the manufacturers to easily develop variants of their system solutions.

SAR ADCs are widely used in industrial process control, power generation and consumer white goods applications, where they contribute to better appliance performance and greater energy efficiency. Advanced ASIC product know-how and process technology allows ZMD to deliver superior accuracy in this ADC family concept.

“We’ve been building ADCs for many years as part of our ASIC and custom product lines,” explains Bernhard Huber, Business Line Manager for Standard Components at ZMD. “Our extensive experience in ADC design has enabled us to create the industry’s largest stand-alone SAR ADC family of pin- and software-compatible devices.”

By offering such a large range, ZMD allows customers to standardize on a design and then select the correct part for each application with minimal engineering effort. ZMD’s proven design and manufacturing experience adds other key advantages. SARah is ideal for battery-powered applications such as data loggers or test equipment which require low power consumption and accurate voltage measurements in order to optimize battery life.

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 -25°C to 85°C. To further reduce overall system power, SARah devices have a shutdown pin as well as software-controllable shutdown modes. Turn-on time is rapid, so the device can be powered down between conversions. All family members have a serial interface that supports SPITM, QSPITM, and MicrowireTM protocols – industry standards for ADCs. In addition, the devices have been designed to work together in applications, which require large numbers of ADC channels. SARah devices can work from an internal voltage reference (reducing parts count in small designs) or an external voltage reference, which allows multiple devices to share a common reference. Similarly, each device can generate its own clock or operate from a clock common to all devices.

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. Almost all types of real-time industrial control and motion control applications use SAR ADCs. In power generation applications such as windmills and solar panels, they are key to new energy-efficient designs.

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.

All family members are available in an SSOP package rated for -25 to +85°C operation. Pricing ranges from Euro 2.20 to Euro 5.00 in 1K quantities.

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 allows 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 250 employees worldwide and serves customers from the company’s offices in Melville, NY; Stuttgart, Germany; Newcastle, England; Paris, France; Tokyo, Japan; Hsinchu City, Taiwan and Bangalore, India. ZMD has design centers in Dresden, Stuttgart, Melville, NY, and Madison, Wisconsin.