Automotive engineers may now have a smaller, less costly solution
for controlling body electronics systems ranging from door modules to seat
controls to interior lighting applications.
Known as LIN SiP ATA6614,
the new device integrates a Local Interconnect Network (LIN) transceiver, a
voltage regulator and an 8-bit microcontroller in a package measuring just 7 X
7 mm. Atmel Automotive GmbH, maker of the
new chip, says it enables cost reductions of up to 25 percent and printed
circuit board size reductions of up to 50 percent.
"Wherever you would normally have a controller and a LIN
transceiver together, you can now replace it with one chip," notes Keith
Nicholson, marketing manager for Atmel Automotive. "It's a three-chip solution
in one package."
Targeted at so-called "LIN bus" applications in automobiles,
the Atmel product could be used for control of windows, mirrors, door locks,
overhead lighting and air conditioning systems in automobiles. LIN, which
made its debut a decade ago, serves as an inexpensive serial communications
protocol for automotive applications that don't require the more powerful CAN (controller
area network) bus.
Atmel engineers say that the new chip's cost and size
reductions could provide a significant advantage for automotive engineers.
"Saving real estate is really important in sensor interfaces," Nicholson says.
"Just saving two or three millimeters provides a big advantage for the design
Using wireless chips and accessories, engineers can now extract data from the unlikeliest of places -- pumps, motors, bridges, conveyors, refineries, cooling towers, parking garages, down-hole drills and just about anything else that can benefit from monitoring.
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