DSP, Micros & Memory


World's first non-volatile state saver

27 June 2007 DSP, Micros & Memory

This novel device saves the state of signals on demand and restores them to the correct state automatically and immediately upon power-up.

Ramtron, a developer and supplier of non-volatile ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) and integrated semiconductor products, has launched what it says is the semiconductor industry's first non-volatile state saver - a development uniquely enabled by FRAM technology due to its fast write time and virtually unlimited write endurance.

The state saver is claimed to be as simple to use as a D-type flip-flop. It operates like conventional logic, but stores and retains the logic state in the absence of power, simplifying the design of system control functions. It is ideal for diverse applications such as switch interfaces, relay drivers, LED drivers, recording error flags, power-down state detection, non-volatile counters, tamper indicators, door open indicators, motor on/off control, DIP switch replacement and jumper replacement, amongst others.

An example of the functioning and benefits of the device is in setting the correct state of a relay or a switch. During normal operation, the system sets the state saver to control the relay. When power fails and is then restored, the state saver remembers the last state and restores it automatically and immediately on power-up. This allows the relay to power up in the correct state - on or off as the application requires. As a switch replacement, for example DIP switches or jumpers, the non-volatile state saver allows software to alter switch settings and still have continuous access to the signals even on power-up.

Another example is fault capturing. Many systems need to capture the indication that an error has occurred. This may be a dangerous condition, a fault with equipment, or other status information. The non-volatile state saver is the easiest and fastest way to capture and preserve such an event during a power outage. The system indicates the occurrence of an error state to the state saver. This state will be stored on power-down and restored automatically on power-up. The indication is continuously available and can be used as a control signal, unlike having the data stored in a memory.

This new product family currently consists of two devices: the FM1105 operates from 4,5 to 5,5 V at a low operating current of less than 15 mA, while changing state continuously at 1 kHz. The FM1106 operates from 2,7 to 3,6 V and boasts an operating current of less than 5 mA, also while changing state continuously at 1 kHz. Both devices offer an unlimited number of state changes, can run up to 1 MHz, and operate over the industrial temperature range of -40°C to +85°C. They are available in a small SOT23 package, with additional configurations planned for the future.



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