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Maxim unveils EEPROM-configurable voltage sequencers

Posted: 31 Jan 2008     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:voltage sequencer  system troubleshooting  EEPROM 

Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the MAX16046-MAX16049, 12- and 8-channel, EEPROM-configurable, voltage sequencers/monitors/marginers.

The new devices use non-volatile fault registers to store system voltage and fault information upon a critical system failure. Preserving critical system data in non-volatile memory lets customers identify a failing voltage rail and isolate the cause of board failures during test debug or failure analysis. These devices sequence, reverse sequence, monitor and margin up to 12 supplies (MAX16046/MAX16047) or 8 supplies (MAX16048/MAX16049).

The principal applications for the MAX16046-MAX16049 are high-reliability systems such as storage, telecom, or networking equipment where a large number of voltage rails exist in a single system.

Simplified system monitoring
Historically, the more complex the application, the more convoluted the monitoring system required. Customers typically used several discrete devices to monitor on-board system conditions. These devices were numerous and spread across the board, which consumed valuable board space. Additional hardware was needed for timeout delays and programming. All this led to higher costs and longer development time.

The MAX16046-MAX16049 simplify this system-monitoring function. A high-performance ADC eliminates the need for discrete comparators. The internal, 1-per cent accurate ADC measures each input voltage and compares the result to one upper, one lower and one selectable upper or lower threshold limit. Users benefit because this precision and speed provides a faster response time. Users would have typically needed 36 external comparators to monitor two undervoltage and one overvoltage thresholds for a 12-channel system. As a result of the MAX16046-MAX16049's high integration, more board space is saved and costs are further reduced.

Reduced manufacturing cost
Margining system voltages is an effective means of stress-testing high-reliability systems. This feature is especially important for applications where field failures are unacceptable. Now manufacturers can identify premature failures during the manufacturing process, so their customers are not disrupted and costly returns are avoided.

The 12/8 DAC outputs of the MAX16046/MAX16048 devices are under I²C or logic input control and make it easy to implement power-supply voltage margining during the development phase, qualification phase and production test. The DAC outputs are connected to the feedback node or trim input of the power supplies. A margining calculator is included in the configuration GUI program to facilitate resistor and DAC value calculations.

Easy power-up, power-down
Highly complex system controllers require precise power-up and power-down voltage sequencing. In the past, board layouts were fixed and these layouts were time-consuming and extremely expensive to change. In addition, it was notoriously difficult, if not impossible, to both sequence and reverse-sequence power supplies with the same topology. Customers can avoid these problems with the MAX16046-MAX16049, because the new devices dynamically sequence up and reverse sequence in any order.

The MAX16046-MAX16049 also have integrated charge pumps and a voltage ramp generator that can be used to track up to four system voltages in a closed-loop system. The devices charge the gate of a series-pass nMOSFET with a controlled ramp rate to power up the system voltages, all tracking within 250mV. Users will benefit because they now can control power-up and power-down for mixed-mode (sequencing/tracking) systems.

More application options
Internal EEPROM stores the chip configuration. The configuration is copied to working registers on power-up. The devices are also configurable on-the-fly through the I²C-/SMBus-compliant or JTAG standard interfaces. The EEPROM is in-circuit programmable over both the JTAG and I²C interfaces.

Multipurpose GPIOs are another desirable feature of the MAX16046-MAX16049. These GPIOs are EEPROM-configurable as dedicated fault outputs, a watchdog input or output, a manual reset or as margin-control inputs. These flexible GPIOs save pin count, another means of reducing board space.

The MAX16046-MAX16049 have a 3-14V operating voltage range. They can be powered directly from a 12V intermediate bus, thus reducing the number of external components required.

The MAX16046-MAX16049 are fully specified over the -40°C to 85°C extended temperature range. Samples are available immediately. The devices are offered in a small 56-pin, 8-by-8mm TQFN package.

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