Custom Silicon Solutions, Inc. Newsletter
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September/October 2010
In This Issue
Micro-Power Systems using CSS555 Programmable Timers

Many battery-operated devices can conserve energy by being active for only a small percentage of the time.  Even applications that periodically require hundreds of milliamps to transmit data, heat a coil or flash an LED can reduce average operating current to well below 100uA by running at low duty rates.  A low power timer that activates the system is all that needs to be added.
In the circuit shown below, a CSS555 timer provides a time delay from milliseconds to days with an average operating current under 10uA.  An internal six-decade programmable counter allows this wide range of delays with a small, 0.1uF timing capacitor (CT1). The delay and pulse width can be independently adjusted with RA1 and RF1.  Duty rates as low as 0.1% are easily realized

CSS555 Application Schematic
In some applications, a further 2X to 10X reduction in power can be gained by applying a short burst of narrow pulses instead of one continuous pulse.  (The human eye responds to the peak brightness, so this technique works well with LED's.)  By adding a second timer, a Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) signal is generated.  Resistor RA2 connects to the output of the first timer, so the standby current is less than 5uA.  Diode D2 decouples the charge and discharge paths, allowing separate control of the ON and OFF times.

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Welcome to the September/October edition of the CSS Newsletter.  We hope you find these articles informative and helpful in your work.

Custom Silicon Solutions (CSS) provides a true Turn-Key Solution to meet your Mixed Signal ASIC needs - from Development through Production.  Our mission is to develop an ASIC that meets your requirement at the lowest possible price and with a minimum of assistance from your technical staff.  Please visit us at for more information or send an inquiry to [email protected].
Keith Shelton
Custom Mixed-Signal ASICs for the Medical & Military Markets
CSS has been involved in numerous ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit) designs over the past few years.  Here are some examples from the Medical and Military Markets. 
Medical Applications
Medical Market:
Nano-power timer ASIC:  This ASIC operates at extremely low currents in an instrumentation application.
o   Ultra-Low operating current (< 50nA)
o   Real Time Clock with 4 Programmable Timers
o   LED and HV FET Drivers
Embedded memory design:  These unique SRAM and EEPROM designs are being used in an implanted biometric monitor.
o   Essentially zero static current with operation down to 1.25V
o   Unique memory architectures (by 8, 16 and 32)
o   Small, distributed EEPROM (for analog trimming and configuration control)

Military Market:
10 bit current Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC): This ASIC is a replacement for an obsolete part needed in an on-going military field radar application.
o   Wide supply range (12V to 18V)
o   Wide temperature range (-40C to +125C)
o   Fast settling time (< 300ns)

Serial/Parallel Converter ASIC:  This special low-power digital circuit is planned for an advanced radar application.
o   Low dynamic current
o   Serial to Parallel Converter
Receive/Transmit Controller ASIC:  This mixed-signal IC is used in a shipboard phased array radar application.
o   Serial-Parallel Interface
o   Internal registers to control phase and attenuation
o   4 Channel Differential Receivers (RS 422)
NOVRAM:  This memory operates as a standard RAM with parallel back-up to non-volatile memory.
o   Emulates obsolete Xicor X2004M memory
o   512x8 bit architecture
o   10 millisecond non-volatile store time (on-chip programming voltage)
Obviously, CSS is involved in a wide range of applications using mixed-signal and EEPROM technologies.  If you would like for us to review your requirements for an ASIC, please contact Mike McDaid, our Director of Sales. 


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Is a Mixed-Signal ASIC the Right Choice?

If you are interested in developing an ASIC, the white paper "Is a Mixed-Signal ASIC the Right Choice?" can help you to better understand the pros and cons.

Visit our website to download this complementary white paper.

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