App note: Silicon Labs’ TS3004 VS. the CMOS 555 – Determining lowest supply current for battery-powered applications

Good read on this app note from Silicon Labs comparing their low power but obsolete timer. Link here (PDF) The 555 timer is the workhorse of ICs, with close to a billion of them manufactured every year. Introduced in 1972, the 555 is still in widespread use because of its ease of use, reasonable price, […]

App note: Single-cell regulated Q-pump draws low quiescent current

Q-pump an alternative to inductor charge pump boost regulator for low power and sleepy microcontroller from Silicon Labs. Link here (PDF) In the switch-mode power supply world, capacitor-based charge pumps (or Q-pumps) generally aren’t useful for heavy lifting, but work well in niche micropower applications where space is at a premium. They work best in […]

App note: Hand soldering tutorial for fine pitch QFP devices

No SMD tools removal and soldering of QFP packages tutorial from Silicon labs. Link here (PDF) This document is intended to help designers create their initial prototype systems using Silicon Lab’s TQFP and LQFP devices where surface mount assembly equipment is not readily available. This application note assumes that the reader has at least basic […]

App note: Replacing traditional optocouplers with Si87xx digital isolators

Digital isolator from Silicon Labs app note shows pin compatible plus high performance replacment of incumbent optoisolators, link here (PDF) Opto-couplers are a decades-old technology widely used for signal isolation, typically providing safety isolation, signal level shifting, and ground loop mitigation. They are commonly used in a wide range of end applications, including data communication […]

App note: Introduction to gapped clocks and PLLs

App note from Silicon Labs on the introduction of gapped clocks, how they can be used in network timing, and their impact upon phase locked loop (PLL) technology. Link here (PDF) Gapped clocks are periodic clock signals of a single clock frequency that have clock pulses removed from their stream. Well-formed gapped clocks do not […]

App note: A simple alternative to analog isolation amplifiers

A linear isolation amplifier from Silicon Labs app note. Link here (PDF) Analog circuits sometimes require linear (analog) signal isolation for safety, signal level shifting, and/or ground loop elimination. Linear signal isolation is typically difficult to implement, costly, and often exhibits mediocre performance. While the design community thirsts for a flexible and inexpensive linear isolator […]

App note: High-speed lithium-ion battery charger

C8051F300 implementation of Li-Ion battery charger from Silicon Labs. Link here (PDF) Driven by the need for untethered mobility and ease of use, many systems rely on rechargeable batteries as their primary power source. The battery charger is typically implemented using a fixedfunction IC to control the charging current/voltage profile. The C8051F300 family provides a […]

App note: Sub-1 V current sensing with the TS1001, A 0.8 V, 0.6 µA OP-AMP

Another TS1001 op-amp application from Silicon Labs on sensing nano currents. Link here (PDF) Current-sense amplifiers can monitor battery or solar cell currents, and are useful to estimate power capacity and remaining life. However, if the battery or solar source is a single cell, it’s difficult to find a low voltage solution that works below […]

App note: A microwatt charge pump boosts 1 V to 1.8 V at 90% efficiency, providing “Always On” standby power for microcontrollers

Interesting app note from Silicon Labs on high efficiency charge pump utilizing their nanopower TS1001 op amp. Link here (PDF) Boosting the output voltage of common alkaline button-cells to at least 1.8 V needed by microcontrollers provides an “always on” standby power source sufficient for low-power oscillator interrupt/sleep state operation. Two ultralow power op amps […]

App note: Buried capacitive sensors for tamper protection

A short app note from Silicon Labs on burying pads to prevent snopping on keypads. Link here (PDF) An individual’s financial matters are increasingly electronic in nature and decreasingly interpersonal. As financial institutions replace human interaction with electronic interfaces such as ATMs, the need to make electronic circuits tamper-proof becomes critical. A typical numeric keypad […]

App note: Selecting a FET for use with the Si875x driver

Another application note from Silicon Labs on determining the proper FET used on their Si875x driver based on its application. Link here (PDF) The Si875x enables creating custom solid state relay (SSR) configurations. Supporting customer-selected external FETs, the Si875x combines robust isolation technology with a FET driver to form a complete, isolated, switch. Versatile inputs […]

App note: Driving MOSFET and IGBT switches using the Si828x

App note from Silicon Labs on their MOSFET and IGBT driver Si828x and how to determining its external components to achieve optimized performance. Link here (PDF) The Si828x products integrate isolation, gate drivers, fault detection protection, and operational indicators into one package to drive IGBTs and MOSFETs as well as other gated power switch devices. […]

App note: Power supply rejection for low-jitter clocks

Method of rejecting noises from power supply, an app note from Silicon Labs. Link here (PDF) Hardware designers are routinely challenged to increase functional density while shrinking the overall PCB footprint of each new design. One significant challenge is minimizing clock jitter through careful board design while meeting the design’s functional and space requirements. Since […]

App note: Safety considerations and layout recommendations for digital isolators

Application note from Silicon Labs about end user safety against high voltage shock that are designed together with digital isolators. Link here (PDF) This application note details the creepage and clearance requirements of an isolator type component, such as a digital isolator, used to provide protection from electric shock. It also details layout recommendations to […]

App note: Redefining a new state-of-the-art in microampere current-sense amplifiers

Silicon Lab’s TS1100 and TS1101 current sense amplifier’s features discussed in this app note. Link here (PDF) Sensing and controlling supply current flow are a fundamental requirement in most all electronic systems from battery-operated, portable equipment to mobile or fixed-platform power management and dc motor control. High-side current-sense amplifiers (or “CSAs”) are useful in these […]

App note: High-speed level shifting using Si8XXX isolators

Silicon Lab’s Si86xx which provides digital isolation and voltage level shifting while Si823x as ISOdrivers, Link here (PDF) Voltage level shifting is common in analog and mixed-signal system applications. While several technologies implement level shifting (e.g., HVIC processes, discrete circuits, dedicated level shifting ICs), recent advances in CMOS isolation technology enables fast, reliable, and highly-integrated […]

App note: Novel current-sense measurement with automatic offset correction

Silicon Labs’ application note about a low power current measurement circuit using TS1001 nano power op-amp paired with low-power CY8C38 microcontroller, Link here (PDF) Pairing a simple circuit using nanopower analog op amps with a microcontroller can monitor single battery cells and solar harvesters. Pairing up a 0.65 V/1 µA nanopower op amp with the […]

App note: Alkaline battery low-voltage indicator

Battery low-voltage indicator made from two new comparators TSM9118 and TMS9119 from Silicon Labs. Link here (PDF) In many battery-powered systems, a user would like to know when it is time to replace the batteries before they are completely discharged, causing the device being powered to fail completely. Alkaline batteries have an open cell voltage […]

App note: EFM32 Energy Modes

Application note from Silicon Labs on their EFM32 energy saving microcontrollers, some interesting points are discussed how these type of microcontrollers can conserve power. Link here (PDF) In battery powered microcontroller applications, energy saving is essential. By reducing the current consumption, the mean time between battery charging / replacement can be significantly increased. Following these principles will […]