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D/A and A/D Converters

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Objectives
• Recognize the relationship between digital and analog
values in D/A and A/D converters.

• Identify two types of D/A:


o the binary weighted resistor network
o the R-2R ladder network.

• Explain the operation of three types of A/D:


o Counting
o Flash
o Successive approximation

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Analog signals
• Analog output is typical of most transducers and
sensors. In order to use the power of digital
electronics with the real world, one must convert from
analog to digital and vice versa.

• Examples of A/D Applications

– Microphones - take your voice varying pressure waves in


the air and convert them into varying electrical signals
– Thermocouple – temperature measuring device converts
thermal energy to electric energy
– Digital Multimeters

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A/D and D/A converters
Vmax = 7.5V 1111 4 4
7.0V 1110
6.5V 1101 3 3

analog output (V)


analog input (V)
6.0V 1100
5.5V 1011
2 2
5.0V 1010
4.5V 1001
4.0V 1 1
1000
3.5V 0111
3.0V 0110 time time
t1 t2 t3 t4 t1 t2 t3 t4
2.5V 0101
2.0V 0100 0100 0110 0110 0101 0100 1000 0110 0101
1.5V 0011 Digital output Digital input
1.0V 0010
0.5V 0001
Vmin = 0V 0000

proportionality analog to digital digital to analog

Embedded Systems Design: A Unified


Hardware/Software Introduction, (c) 2000 Vahid/Givargis

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Relationship Between Analog and Digital Values

Vmax = 7.5V
7.0V
1111
1110
An ideal A/D converts an analog voltage to a
6.5V
6.0V
1101 linearly proportional digital representation.
1100
5.5V 1011

The A/D has two sides: analog and digital.


5.0V 1010
4.5V 1001
4.0V 1000
3.5V 0111
3.0V 0110
2.5V 0101
2.0V 0100 Analog Digital
1.5V 0011 Vmin 0..000
1.0V
0.5V
0010 : :
0001
Vmin = 0V 0000 Vmax 1..111

proportionality
• If input voltage > Vmax the digital output is 1..111.
• Similarly if input < Vmin the digital output is 0..000.
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Relationship Between Analog and Digital Values

Vmax = 7.5V
7.0V
1111
1110
Let the A/D converter has n-bit digital output
6.5V
6.0V
1101 and let A be Analog Value and D be the
1100
5.5V 1011 equivalent Digital Number.
5.0V 1010
4.5V 1001
4.0V
3.5V
1000
0111
Then,
3.0V 0110
2.5V 0101
2.0V 0100 Analog Digital
1.5V 0011 Vmin 0..000
1.0V
0.5V
0010
A D
0001
Vmin = 0V 0000 Vmax 1..111

proportionality

A  Vmin
D (2 n  1)
Vmax  Vmin
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Some definitions
Offset: minimum analog value Vmin

Span (or Range): is the difference between maximum and minimum


analog values Vmax - Vmin

Step Size (or Resolution, Q): smallest analog change resulting from
changing one bit in the digital number, or the analog difference between
two consecutive digital numbers:

Vmax  Vmin
Q
2n  1

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Example
Given an 4-bit A/D converter having an analog input that
ranges form 0V to 7.5V. What is the resolution of this A/D
converter?

Answer:

Vmax  Vmin 7.5  0


Q  4  0.5V
2 1
n
2 1

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D/A Converter

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Binary representation and bit weight
In an electronic circuit, a combination of high voltage (+5V) and
low voltage (0V) is usually used to represent a binary number.
For example, a binary number 1010 is represented by

Weighting 23 22 21 20
Binary Digit 1 0 1 0
State +5V 0V +5V 0V

D/As are electronic circuits that convert digital, (usually binary)


signals (for example, 1000100) to analog electrical quantities
(usually voltage) directly related to the digitally encoded input
number.
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Types of D/A Converters

We will consider two types of D/A:

o the binary weighted resistor network


o the R-2R ladder network.

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The binary weighted resistor network
– Comprises of a register and resistor network
– Output of each bit of the register will be low (0V) or high (5V)
– Input resistance is inversely proportional to the binary weight
of each digit.
MSB
R I1 Rf
4-bit register

2R I2 If

4R I3 -
S I

LSB 8R I4 +
Vo

Vo   I f R f  ( I1  I 2  I 3  I 4 ) R f 12
D/A Example
In the previous D/A, calculate the output voltage for an input
code word 0110 if a logic 1 is 5V and a logic 0 is 0V, and
R = Rf = 1k.

Answer:

• I1 = I4 = 0
• I2 = 5V / 2R = 5 / 2KΩ = 2.5 mA
• I3 = 5V / 4R = 5 / 4KΩ = 1.25 mA

Vo = -If Rf
= -(I4 + I3+ I2+ I1)Rf
= -(2.5+1.25) x 1000
= -3.75 V
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The binary weighted resistor network

• Very difficult to manufacture very accurate


resistors over this range.

• Seldom used for digital numbers having more


than 6 bits.

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The R-2R Ladder Resistor Network
• Only two resistance values R and 2R are used.
• The principle of the network is based on Kirchhoff's current rule.
• Note that the network of resistors to the right of each node has an
equivalent resistance of 2R.

I I/2 R I/4 R I/8


Bit Current
2 I/2
1 I/4
2R 2R 2R 2R
0 I/8

I1=I/2 I2=I/4 I3=I/8

bit 2 bit 1 bit 0


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The R-2R Ladder Resistor Network

The state of the


bits is used to
switch a voltage
source

 I I I
Vo   R f  b2  b1  b0 
 2 4 8 16
Analog to Digital Converter

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A/D converter

• Converts analog signals into binary words

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The Sample & Hold (S/H)
To measure an AC voltage at a particular instant in time, it is
necessary to sample the waveform with a ‘sample and hold’
(S/H) circuit.

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Types of A/D Converters

There several type of A/D converters. Here, we


will consider the following three types:

1. Counting type
2. Parallel or Flash
3. Successive Approximation

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1- Counting A/D
Comparator START

Vin Control Logic

clock

Counter
D/A

Digital Output

o When START is received, control logic sets counter to 0, and turns on Clock
sending regular pulses to the counter.
o As the Clock sends regular pulses to the counter, the counter outputs a digital
signal to the Digital-to-Analog converter
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• As the counter counts, its output to the D/A generates a staircase ramp to
the comparator.

Vin

Note that the conversion


V’in time depends on the size
of the input signal

Conversion time Conv.time

• As the ramp voltage increases to the comparator, it rises closer and closer to
Vin. When the ramp voltage exceeds Vin , the comparator output shifts which
signals the control logic to turn off the clock. With the clock off, the counter
reading is proportional to Vin.
• With a counting type A/D, if the signal is varying rapidly, the counter must
count up and reset before each cycle can begin, making it difficult to follow
the signal.
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2- Flash Converters

• If very high speed conversions are needed,


e.g. video conversions, the most commonly
used converter is a Flash Converter.

• While such converters are extremely fast,


they are also very costly compared to other
types.

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Flash Converters

The resistor network


is a precision voltage
divider, dividing Vref
into equal voltage
increments to one
input of the
comparator.
The other comparator
input is the input
voltage.
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Flash Converters
• The encoder logic implements a truth table to convert the ladder of
inputs to the binary number output.

• The cost of this type of converter stems from the circuit complexity
since the number of comparators and resistors required increases
rapidly. The 3-bit example required 7 converters, 6-bits would
require 63, while an 8-bits converter would need 255 comparators
and equivalent precision resistors.
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3- Successive approximation A/D

• This is the most common A/D used in the


laboratory environment.
• It is reasonably priced for large bit values, i.e. 10,
12.
• Its conversion times, typically ~ 10-20 s, are
adequate for most laboratory functions. Good
tradeoff between speed and cost
• Generates the digital output serially (one bit at a
time).
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Successive approximation A/D

analog D/A Converter Vref


input

Digital
Output
Data
comparator
Successive clock
Approximation
Register
STRT

At the beginning, all bits from the SAR are set to zero, and
conversion begins by taking STRT line low.
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Successive approximation A/D

analog D/A Converter Vref


input

Digital
Output
Data
comparator
Successive clock
Approximation
Register
STRT

First the logic in the SAR sets the MSB bit equal to 1
(+5 V). Remember that a 1 in bit 7 will be half of full
scale.
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Successive approximation A/D

analog D/A Converter Vref


input

Digital
Output
Data
comparator
Successive clock
Approximation
Register
STRT

The output of the SAR feeds the D/A converter producing an


output compared to the analog input voltage. If the D/A output is
< Vin then the MSB is left at 1 and the next bit is then tested.
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Successive approximation A/D

analog D/A Converter Vref


input

Digital
Output
Data
comparator
Successive clock
Approximation
Register
STRT

If the D/A output is > Vin then the MSB is set to 0 and
the next bit is set equal to 1.

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Successive approximation A/D

• Successive bits are set and tested by comparing the


D/A output to the input Vin in an 8 step process (for
an 8-bit converter) that results in a 8-bit binary
output that represents the input voltage.

• Note that the successive approximation process


takes a fixed time - 8 clock cycles for the 8-bit
example.

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Example
Calculate the maximum conversion time of
(a)a 8-bit counting A/D and
(b) a successive approximation A/D,
if the clock rate is 2MHz.

Solution:
(a) For a 8-bit counting A/D, the maximum number of count is
nc = 28 = 256
Therefore, the maximum conversion time is

nc 256
Tc    128  10 6
s  128s
f 2  10 6
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Example, continued

(b) For a 8-bit successive approximation A/D, the


conversion time is constant and equal to

n 8
Tc    4  10 6
s  4s
f 2  10 6

It is noted that the conversion speed of successive


approximation A/D is much faster than the integrating type.

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Accuracy of A/D Conversion
There are two ways to improve accuracy of
A/D conversion:

• increasing the resolution (by increasing the


number of bits e.g. 10-bit, 12-bit, etc.) which
improves the accuracy in measuring the amplitude
of the analog signal.

• increasing the sampling rate which increases the


maximum frequency that can be measured.

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Aliasing
• Occurs when the input signal is changing much faster
than the sample rate.

For example, a 2 kHz sine wave being sampled at 1.5


kHz would be reconstructed as a 500 Hz (the aliased
signal) sine wave.

Nyquist Rule:
• Use a sampling frequency at least twice as high as
the maximum frequency in the signal to avoid
aliasing.
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