Author Archives: Maxim - Application Notes

Understanding Multidrop Address Assignments for Thermal Sensors

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In many thermal applications, it may be desired to utilize multiple temperature sensors, placed in different physical locations, to monitor the operating temperatures in predefined 'zones' within the system. To accommodate this desire, many thermal products have the added flexibility of user-defined slave addressing.

Analog Integration Drives Factory Integration

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Analog integration is driving the integrated factory. Advances in analog and mixed-signal ICs contribute greatly to factory productivity, efficiency, quality, safety, and security. These all lead to increased uptime and reduced maintenance costs. This integration enables robust machine to machine (M2M) communications and ultimately the internet of things (IoT). Distributed intelligence, smart machines, smart sensors, and the integration of factory data with business-management systems (information technology or IT) allows optimization of not only the factory process, but also material handling, machine utilization, scheduling, reporting, and throughput.

Thermal Management Handbook

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Maxim's Thermal Management Handbook includes temperature sensing and fan control concepts, circuits and application guidelines. Thermistors, thermocouples, RTDs, and various IC temperature sensors (local temperature sensors, remote temperature sensors, analog temperature sensors, digital temperature sensors, and temperature switches) are discussed, as well as various approaches to fan speed control.

Smart Monitoring Improves Distribution-Grid Reliability

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Four broad trends are changing operating conditions on electric-power distribution grids, and thus increasing stress on distribution infrastructure. To accommodate changing use models and improve reliability, smart powerline monitors are necessary for utilities to track dynamic operating conditions on distribution grids.

Enable Automotive USB Power: Managing the Increasing Currents, Longer Cables, and Tight Portable-Device Specifications

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This application note discusses the challenges of rapid USB charging of today’s portable devices (PDs) in an automobile. The PDs may not charge quickly or charge at all, especially the more recent power-hungry devices. We explain why low-cost USB car chargers are not the solution because they introduce radio interference (RF) into the vehicle. We discuss a new DC-DC converter with a smart USB switch that leverages tight integration to provide automotive-specific USB power, USB charge enumeration, and port protection. It solves recent problems with higher PD charging current.

Ensuring the Complete Life-Cycle Security of Smart Meters

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This application note explores the various potential points of attack in the life cycle of smart meters: during manufacturing, installation, operation, and post-installation. The application note then discusses real solutions to these security vulnerabilities, such as the use of secure bootloaders during manufacturing, metrology boards during installation, asymmetric encryption in the hardware rather than the software during operation, and possibly a cumulative attestation kernel (CAK) for forward-looking security. Maxim’s ZEUS system-on-chip (SoC) is presented as a robust design solution for smart meter security.

Silicon, Security, and the Internet of Things

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The smart grid has broken from the fantasies of the Internet of Things (IoT) to provide something useful. In this article we discuss why the smart grid does not follow the pervasive IoT fantasy projections. We will show how real IoT deployments are made to better manage valuable resources and how an IoT creates a critical need for security.

Getting the Most Out of the MAX14920/MAX14921 High-Accuracy Battery-Measurement AFEs

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The MAX14920/MAX14921 is a high-accuracy battery-measurement analog front-end (AFE) ideal for cell balancing and battery-measurement applications. The performance of the system in which the MAX14920/MAX14921 is used, however, depends highly on the components that support and surround it. This application note provides a framework for, and examples of, selecting system architectures and building blocks that meet diverse accuracy and cost requirements.

Introduction to SHA-256 Master/Slave Authentication

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A new group of secure authenticators and a companion secure coprocessor/1-Wire® master implement SHA-256 authentication. This application note explains the general logistics of this SHA-256-based security system and introduces the bidirectional authentication functionality that the authentication system uses.

Spectrum Inversion in NCDMA to Ensure Compliance with 3GPP2

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Unlike many other cellular standards, NCDMA is required by the 3GPP2 standard to perform spectrum inversion in the physical layer before transmission and after reception. With today’s vast selection of radio frequency (RF) transceivers and baseband processors, it is easy to imagine how one could come across a set of RF transceiver and baseband processor that have mismatched spectrum in the transmit and receive paths. This simple oversight will result in noncompliance to the 3GPP2 standard and failure to demodulate. However, there are a few simple techniques that can help determine if spectrum inversion has been performed on a signal.

Using the DS28E35 Authenticator

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The DS28E35 is a DeepCover® Secure Authenticator that provides a FIPS 186 based ECDSA public-key crypto-authentication method. Additional features including a 1Kb User EEPROM array, decrement-only counter, and advanced physical security combine to provide the ultimate in cost-effective IP protection, clone prevention, and peripheral authentication. Step-by-step this application note describes the necessary device setup procedure, the authentication process, and discusses user memory functions and the device’s software-controlled down-counter. An appendix includes byte-level communication sequences that correspond to each of these steps.

Distribution Automation and the Smart Grid: Coming of Age with a New Set of Challenges

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The combination of aging electricity grid infrastructure and renewable portfolio standards present new challenges in the distribution automation space worldwide. In this application note, we review three key areas: asset protection, security, and asset management. In each area, device-level silicon provides benefits to ease the transition to a complete smart grid.

Compiling Meter Code with New Computation Engine (CE) Code Images

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This application note describes how to modify demo code or meter application code so it can be compiled and linked with new computation engine (CE) code images for the 71M6531/71M6532 and 71M6533/71M6534 and 71M6541/71M6542/71M6543 family of electricity metering ICs.