Analog-to-digital conversion primarily based on the basic mixture of a voltage-to-frequency converter (VFC) with a counter has been round for (many) many years, primarily as a result of it has some sturdy time-proven benefits. VFC digitization is of course integrating, so excessive noise rejection is inherent, as is programmable decision (if you’d like extra bits, simply depend longer). Sadly, excessive conversion velocity just isn’t.

*Wow the engineering world along with your distinctive design:* *Design Concepts Submission Information*

Helpful decision (8 or extra bits) tens-of-microseconds VFC conversion instances require tens-of-megahertz output frequencies. There are current VFC designs that may flap that quick, e.g., Jim Williams’s superior *100 MHz King Kong* and my very own “20 MHz VFC with take-back-half cost pump^{”}*. *Nonetheless, these potential options solely pose one other doubtlessly pesky downside. What to make use of for a counter?

Incessantly (no pun supposed) the perfect and most cost-effective digital associate for a VFC is the µC’s onboard counter-timer peripheral (CTP), sometimes offering 16 bits of decision at zero added components value. Sadly, the need of taking a number of (e.g., 4) samples of every cycle of incoming pulses by onboard CTP logic limits most depend price to a fraction (sometimes ¼) of the µC’s inside clock.

Thus, for a 20-MHz inside clock, 5 MHz is the quickest achievable CTP depend price. Sorry, *Kong.*

After all, an exterior hardwired counter peripheral might be applied that may simply accommodate quick VFCs (okay, perhaps *Kong* not so completely straightforward), however value, components depend, and board space make this selection fairly unattractive.

Proven in **Determine 1** is a compromise topology that mixes the CTP doing what it does greatest (offering a number of bits), with a single exterior 4-bit MSI pre/scaler/accumulator chip. This extends the peripheral’s velocity by as much as 16x (therefore as much as 80 MHz with a CTP 5-MHz high finish), at the price of (at most) 4 further normal goal I/O (GPIO) pins.

Right here’s the way it works.

**Determine 1** 100-MHz MSI counter prescales and accumulates VFC LSBs so clunky CTP can cope.

- 5 GPIO pins are programmed for interface with the preaccumulator:
- 4 as inputs (IN1 by means of IN4)
- One as output (OUT).

- IN4 can also be programmed for enter to the chosen CTP, which is programmed for 16-bit accumulation.

Every VFC integration cycle contains the next steps:

- OUT = 0 to disable counting.
- A 20-bit preliminary worth (X1) is fashioned by concatenating the states of the INx bits (as 4 LSBs) with the 16 bits of the CTP (as 16 MSBs), i.e., X1=[cccc cccc cccc cccc iiii].
- OUT = 1 for the specified integration interval. A sensible most = 2
^{20}/VFCmax, shorter if decrease decision and/or greater conversion velocity is required. - OUT = 0 to freeze counting.
- A 20-bit closing worth (X2) is fashioned by concatenating INx with the CTP.
- The 20-bit conversion consequence = X2 – X1 modulo 2
^{20}.

Notice that if the ratio of max VFC output to max CTP depend price is lower than 8x, then solely three INx pins want be allotted to the interface (Xx = [ccc cccc cccc ciii]), with IN3 programmed as CTP enter. If lower than 4x, then solely two, (Xx = [cc cccc cccc ccii]). And so forth.

If easier arithmetic is extra necessary than conserving GPIO pins, then a sixth output pin may be related to and pulsed low on the onset of conversion to reset the INx bits to zero, together with an identical preload of the CTP bits. This might eradicate steps #6 and #10 of the conversion sequence.

*Stephen Woodward’s relationship with EDN’s DI column goes again fairly a good distance. Over 100 submissions have been accepted since his first contribution again in 1974.*

**Associated Content material**

- 20MHz VFC with take-back-half cost pump
- Voltage inverter design thought transmogrifies right into a 1MHz VFC
- Single provide 200kHz VFC with bipolar differential inputs
- New VFC makes use of flip-flops as excessive velocity, precision analog switches

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