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ATE pin-driver chip provides differential drive and receive

Posted: 20 Dec 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Semtech? E7725? driver? window comparator?

Billed as the first IC to integrate differential signal drive and receive capabilities, chip maker Semtech Corp. is releasing its E7725 dual-channel driver and window comparator. Targeted at test-and-measurement equipment, the bipolar-fabbed E7725 is billed as the first component to combine both signal drive and receive capabilities capable of driving and receiving in either single-ended or fully differential modes. This capability can replace two-chip approaches, while offering more controlled and accurate voltage and timing signals, explained Semtech.

The E7725 operates up to 900MHz (1.8Gbps), where it gives you active load functions, integral waveform clamps, and a three-statable three-level driver.

Low channel-to-channel variability
For ATE, the E7725 offers out-of-the box differential timing skews on the order of 50ps. Semtech says that's a dramatic improvement over channel-to-channel timing variability in systems using expensive and exotic timing calibration and adjustment circuitry.

For automatic test equipment (ATE) applications that require a test load, each channel on the E7725 features an active load capability that supports programmable source and sink currents of 32mA over a -2V to 7V range. In non-ATE applications, the load can be completely disabled.

The driver's third level is used when the driver acts as a switched termination, and the load isn't being used. The differential driver mode creates differential outputs having a minimum of skew. An input power-down mode also lowers leakage current.

Supports direct functional test>
The IC's high load-current also supports direct functional testing of a wide variety of logic output devices. For test flexibility, the device supports separated inputs for commutating voltages, letting you configure a split load system with separated commutating load trigger points for both sourcing and sinking current.

The E7725 drives 50-ohm line loads, and features waveform clamps that are used when a device under test does not drive the same line load. The waveform clamps help prevent these mismatches from resulting in signal reflections that can cause false triggers and bad timing measurements. In competitive approaches, this protection isn't necessarily on-chip, requiring additional discrete components.

The device is packaged as a 128-pin MQFP measuring 14-by-20-by-2mm, and includes an integral exposed heatsink metal slug.

The E7725 devices are available in production quantities at around $69 each in 1,000-piece lots. An EVM7725AXF evaluation board is also available. The company also offers design assistance, including field-based and factory-based support.

- Alex Mendelsohn

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