We live in an analog world. All the events we observe, the processes we are monitoring, the signals we are measuring, and all the actions in our environment are based on analog phenomena. Accurate and precise tracking of these analog signals is becoming increasingly important to improving our daily life. This is accomplished by sensing and controlling technological systems in transportation, information, entertainment, manufacturing, environmental control, and medicine.
Sensing these signals in our analog world requires data transducers. These increasingly tiny sensors convert an environmental phenomenon into an electrical signal. The environmental quantity might be light, flow, humidity, force, speed, or any other such measurand around us. As sensor transducers get smaller and smaller, the the electrical signals they produce also become smaller. Conditioning these small signals in a way that provides consistent and meaningful information for subsequent processing requires advanced sensing technology in devices referred to as sensor signal conditioners (SSC).
Today’s SSC markets require high flexibility and precision, combined with minimal power consumption in almost every technical application area. The newest Renesas sensor signal conditioner, the ZSSC3240, makes it possible to achieve the requirements described above, and enables increased flexibility in sensor system designs. This IC includes an adaptable analog interface to the sensor element, adjustable gain and offset for analog signal processing, analog-to-digital (A2D) conversion with resolution up to 24 bits, optimized digital signal correction by a proprietary integrated DSP, and one or more analog and standard digital output interfaces for connection to a host system.
Sensors and signals measured in industrial and medical systems have special requirements for operation in harsh environments, as well as providing reliable, trusted output signals. With its integrated sensor diagnostics and industry-proven interfaces like analog voltage output or current loop interface, the ZSSC3240 is capable of supporting reliable sensing systems in harsh and demanding environments. Failure states, such as broken sensors, can be detected by onboard self-diagnostic functions and ensure safe operation in high integrity systems. This safety related functionality, combined with high sensitivity and flexible configurations, makes the ZSSC3240 a good choice for sensors that can operate equally well in industrial systems or in sensitive life-supporting medical applications like respirators or inhalers.
This block diagram illustrates the ZSSC3240 interfacing with a resistive bridge sensor element typical of a pressure sensor. The SSC includes a programmable measurement sequencer that multiplexes between bridge, temperature, or diagnostic measurements. These individual measurements are then offset compensated and amplified with a gain factor of up to 540V/V to optimize the ADC input range, digitized up to 24 bit resolution, and post processed by the internal DSP to provide a linearized and temperature compensated value. The conditioned output values are available via standard digital interfaces, as an absolute or ratiometric analog voltage, or a standard industrial current loop. The analog output resolution is also programmable up to 16 bits.
With best-in-class performance and high flexibility for easy sensor platform development, the ZSSC3240 sets new standards in the rapidly growing sensing industry.
Visit the SSC webpage to learn more about Renesas’ industry leading SSC portfolio.