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#01
How should I select an A/D converter?

Episode 1. We will introduce the outline of AKM's ADC and sensor products group.

Young A

Well ... In order to improve the resolution of the servo motor, there are various ways. First, you could increase the resolution of the sensor side and second, by improving the ADC side.
It is troublesome to change the ADC side of the ADC. Also, you'll need to negotiate with the digital designers.
Anyway, I don't really understand which characteristics of ADC are important. Hmm, I don't want to change the ADC...
Well, whatever. Let's leave the ADC block the same as in the previous product. I will do my best on the sensor side.

Senior K

Hey! Don't neglect!

Young A

Oh my..!
Hi K, did you hear me talking to myself?

Senior K

Yes, everything.
Hey A! You cannot become a real Engineer with that attitude!

Young A

…. (She is an enthusiastic woman as always)

Senior K

"But, don't worry. I'll teach you plenty about ADCs for the next 3 months. "

Young A

What?

Senior K

It is an order from M manager. Push A to learn basics of ADCs in three months.

Young A

Wow! What heck…

Senior K

I will explain based on AKM's portfolio. They have lots of interesting products.

Young A

AKM? Well, I heard of them somewhere.

Senior K

AKM is for Asahi Kasei Microdevices Corporation.

Expert M Manager

If you are a Motor Engineer, you will not lose any knowledge by knowing AKM's products!

Young A

Wow, M manager. I didn't know you are here.

Expert M Manager

Many brushless motors have Hall elements. AKM is best known, speaking of hall elements. It produces about 70% of hall elements used around the world, more than 1.2 billion pieces per year.

Young A

It sounds like a distant figure.

Expert M Manager

AKM is a unique semiconductor manufacturer that has both a sensor based on compound semiconductor technology typified by a Hall device and an LSI based on analog circuit having special characteristics and signal processing technologies. In our motor field, they have a lot of products that are deeply involved. (Figure 1)

Figure 1. Motor related AKM products

Young A

There are things that are not even electronic parts. ROBODEN? PULSHUT?

Senior K

These are the products manufactured by ASAHI KASEI which is the holding company of AKM. ROBODEN (r) is an elastic electrical wire. It can be effective for robots because it is able to eliminate wiring slack. PULSHUT (r) is one of the EMC countermeasure materials. It can suppress electromagnetic noise in a wide frequency band from the MHz band to the GHz band. It may be effective in suppressing noises generated by motors.

Young A

Well, it is a company doing various things. Even so, I did not know AKM was also making an ADC.

Expert M Manager

I understand. Their sensor products are more famous in our industry, but AKM has been developing general-purpose ADC products for years as well. Besides, AKM's ADC are integrated in many products surrounding us, actually.

Young A

Oh, which one?

Expert M Manager

For example, this smartphone is equipped with a hi-fi audio D/A converter (DAC) and ADC which is well known for its high quality sound. These are audio products from AKM.

Young A

That's surprising to know.

Expert M Manager

The history of AKM's ADC is long, and the first Delta Sigma (ΔΣ) type ADC has been selling since 1987. ADC's for audio use have a history of 30 years. The AK5397EQ, an audio flagship 32-bit ADC, achieves 127 dB S/N performance.

Young A

I cannot imagine 32-bit…

Expert M Manager

Based on ADC technology cultivated in this audio field, AKM is developing high-precision, high-quality, general-purpose ADC's one after another. It seems that they are doing development and shipping inspection at a high grade quality, so their products can be used for industrial equipment applications.

Young A

Interesting.

Expert M Manager

Especially, the new ADC developed by AKM, "Zero latency Delta Sigma ADC, (ZDS ADC)", which is a combination of, "high speed SAR type response", and, "high linearity ΔΣ type". This applies AKM's well-established ΔΣ technology. Here, this is a product selection guide.

Figure 2. AKM ADC selection guide

Young A

... Well, I do not understand this at all. Even if you look at specifications of the ADC, it is hard to understand how good it is. How do I select it?

Expert M Manager

You are not the only one who thinks they cannot understand ADCs. The idea is often difficult compared to sensor products. So, you learn under K who is familiar with ADCs.

Young A

Yes, please teach me.

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