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Tiny SPI/I?C UART cuts space, power, cost

Posted: 19 Jan 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:serial UART? SPI? I²C? interface?


Maxim Integrated Products claims the industry's lowest-power, fastest, and smallest serial UART to communicate over an SPI/I?C interface. The MAX3107 has low power consumption which will extend battery life in portable applications. The device's data rate of 24Mbit/s and deep FIFO of 128 words allow additional buffering and thus relieve demand on the system's MCU.

The MAX3107 is packaged in a space-saving, 24 pin, 3.5mm x 3.5mm TQFN, which is 24 percent smaller than other serial UARTs in the market. The MAX3107 UART also offers an integrated oscillator that reduces BOM cost by an average of 20 percent. The MAX3107 is suited for industrial field busses that require high-speed Profibus DP communication protocols, and for low-power handheld consumer MIDs.

For short, local-link applications as in a mobile phone, this UART can serve as the buffer between the system's applications processor (i.e., an MCU) and modules like Bluetooth, satellite radio, GPS, or 3G modems. Higher data rates are now used for communication with Bluetooth (up to 3Mbit/s) and 3G modems (up to 20Mbit/s). These data rates typically cannot be supported by MCUs embedded UART. To address these communication demands, designers traditionally used an external UART that supported these speeds. That additional UART also helped to offload (i.e., buffer) the microprocessor's activities.

The MAX3107 meets this high-speed challenge by providing the fast data rates required by communication devices. Its best-in-class data rates (up to 24Mbit/s) make it suited for 3G modem applications. Additionally, the MAX3107's integrated oscillator reduces the need for external clocking.

The MAX3107 UART interfaces an SPI or I? synchronous serial microprocessor bus to asynchronous, serial data-communication ports like RS-485, RS-232, PROFIBUS, or IrDA. The Profibus DP standard requires fast data-rate communication (up to 12Mbit/s) which most embedded UARTs on MCUs cannot support. The MAX3107's 24Mbit/s performance is suited for these communication protocols.

The MAX3107 improves SPI/I?C data throughput. The UART's receiver and the transmitter each have a 128-word-deep FIFO (vs. the competition's 64), which reduces the intervals that the host processor must dedicate for high-speed, high-volume data transfer.

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