The USB solutions specialist Future Technology Devices International Limited (FTDI) has expanded its X-Chip series of feature-rich USB-to-serial interface chips by introducing an ultra-compact FT234XD. Contained in a 3mm x 3mm 12-pin DFN package that has been optimised for smaller PCB designs, this highly integrated UART interface IC allows asynchronous serial data transfer – supporting data transfer rates from 300 bits/s to 3 Mbits/s.
The device boasts low power operation, typically drawing only 8 mA when active and 70µm in suspend mode. Its built-in clock generation capability means that an external crystal is not required. Furthermore, optional clock output selection enables glue-less interfacing with the system microcontroller or FPGA. The 512 byte receive/transmit buffers, utilising buffer smoothing technology, markedly enhance data throughput. An integrated 2048 byte multi-time-programmable (MTP) memory has also been included for storing device descriptors and carrying out CBUS I/O configuration.
The FT234XD has a sophisticated USB battery charger detection (BCD) mechanism that enables USB peripheral devices to perceive connection to a higher rated power source, thereby facilitating more efficient charging. An operational temperature range of -40 °C to +85 °C allows the device to be specified for harsh working environments.
As all the USB protocol and IO bridging is handled on the chip there is no need for USB specific firmware programming. When FTDI’s drivers are not supported in the native operating system, royalty-free Virtual Com Port (VCP) and D2XX drivers (which can be downloaded from the company website) are available, Driver updates and maintenance are provided for the life of the product at no charge.
“The X-Chip series has been well received by our customers and seen strong market uptake thanks to its wide range of features, its lower power operation and attractive ASPs,” states Fred Dart, CEO and founder of FTDI. “The very small footprint of the FT234XD addresses requests from our customer base, for a high performance USB-to-UART bridge with an ultra-small footprint. This will open up new possibilities for quick and easy USB implementation into space-constrained system designs.”