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Microcontroller enables 6ch closed-loop fan control

Posted: 25 Aug 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:fan control  microcontroller  system management  zoned-cooling 

Maxim Integrated Products presents the MAX31782, a system management microcontroller that utilises six temperature measurement channels with six channels of closed-loop fan control to monitor multiple temperature points throughout the system and enable enterprise system designers to implement highly specific zoned-cooling schemes. This technique minimises system power consumption and cooling costs by adjusting the speed of each fan to deliver the exact amount of cooling required by each zone. Maxim highlights that this system offers increased reliability through reduced fan wear, compensation for fan speed variances due to dust accumulation, and acoustic noise reduction.


The MAX31782 is fully C-language programmable, enabling system designers to readily customise algorithms for precision zoned cooling in complex systems such as servers, network switches and routers, and base stations. Such system of zoned cooling is aimed to reduce power consumption in enterprise equipment. Much of today's data centres are unable to achieve optimum server density precisely because their systems cannot manage the heat generated by these dense rack-mounted systems. Maxim explains that many existing systems use imprecise thermal monitoring and consequently run their fans much faster than is necessary for optimal thermal performance.

By monitoring multiple temperature nodes across the system, enterprise system designers can use a multi-channel fan-controller IC to implement more precise zoned cooling. Since fan energy consumption is approximately equal to a square of its speed, reducing fan speed by just about 30 per cent can reduce power consumption by as much as 50 per cent.

Furthermore, Maxim's solution integrates a 6ch 12bit analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) with a temperature-sensing analogue front-end (AFE) that allows direct connection to thermal diodes. The AFE offers 0.125°C resolution, series resistance cancellation for the entire external diode circuit, and configurable ideality factor to provide high temperature measurement accuracy. The MAX31782 may be directly connected to up to six remote thermal diodes, which are typically integrated on CPU, FPGA, and ASIC ICs. It also gives ample space for programs and data with 32K Word reprogrammable flash and 1K Word RAM for data storage based on a 16bit MAXQ RISC microcontroller core. C-language and assembly-based programming is likewise supported with the IAR Embedded Workbench for MAXQ, offered in time-limited or code-limited versions for free product testing. This device also accommodates in-circuit flash programming and code debugging via the device's integrated JTAG-compatible debug port.

The MAX31782 is packaged in a 6mm x 6mm, 40-pin TQFN and is fully specified over the -40�C to +85�C extended temperature range. Prices start at Rs.138.56 ($2.95) per unit for orders of at least 10,000 units, FOB USA.

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