Enabling lower system power and higher accuracy for intelligent system management and industrial control applications, Actel Corporation (Nasdaq: ACTL) announced an enhanced software-based calibration capability for its mixed-signal Fusion programmable system chips (PSCs). With analog-to-digital converter (ADC) accuracy as high as 0.53 percent, the new Fusion PSC calibration intellectual property (IP) solution eliminates the additional discrete ADCs and pre-scalers often required to achieve this level of accuracy. Combined with the integration benefits offered by innovative mixed-signal Fusion PSCs, the easy-to-use calibration option offers customers greater accuracy, lower system power, reduced design complexity, flexibility and more features than those offered by most discrete solutions.
“Designers of system management and industrial control applications must manage growing noise and interference to achieve stringent accuracy and precision levels. Traditionally, this was managed by using multiple discrete devices, which increases power consumption, noise and cost,” said Ravi Pragasam, senior manager, product marketing at Actel. “However, the best scenario is a mixed-signal PSC capable of supporting a calibration scheme—both in software and without the use of external components—to enable an easier design implementation, improve accuracy, lower overall power consumption, and increase signal integrity.”
A Software-Based Calibration Approach
The mixed-signal Actel Fusion PSC includes unique calibration coefficients preloaded into the device. For customers who require accuracy levels better than one percent, the new two-point calibration scheme leverages several unique features available in the Fusion PSC. The programmable logic and the analog quad measure the offset and gain coefficients. The embedded flash memory blocks store offset and gain coefficients during test. The soft calibration IP core made of logic gates accesses the coefficients and applies them to the measurements in real time to achieve the highest level of accuracy.
Utilizing the appropriate pre-scaler range for a specific monitored voltage, designers leveraging Fusion PSCs can achieve accuracy levels better than one percent. For example, when using the 16-Volt pre-scaler range to monitor a 12-Volt input, the ADC accuracy would be 1.47 percent without calibration versus 0.53 percent with calibration.
Fusion PSCs for System and Power Management
Unlike traditional FPGAs, Actel’s award-winning, mixed-signal Fusion PSCs incorporate analog functions, embedded flash and FPGA fabric in a single chip. For embedded applications, the combination of Fusion PSCs and industry-leading soft cores, such as the ARM Cortex-M1 processor and 8051 microcontroller, enable intelligent system and power management resulting in increased energy efficiency, making this a compelling low-cost and flexible solution for a variety of telecommunications and industrial control applications.
The mixed-signal Actel Fusion PSC devices with the enhanced calibration feature are currently supported by the Actel Libero IDE v8.2 SP1.
Attacking power consumption from both the chip and the system levels, Actel Corporation’s innovative FPGAs and programmable system chip solutions enable power-efficient design. The company is traded on the NASDAQ National Market under the symbol ACTL and is headquartered at 2061 Stierlin Court, Mountain View, Calif., 94043-4655.
The Actel name, logo, Actel Fusion and Actel IGLOO are trademarks of Actel Corporation.