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Digital pots compete with mechanical types.
2nd March, 2006

New from Microchip, the MCP401x family of low-power low-voltage volatile 6bit digital potentiometers provides engineers with a digital solution that is cost- and size-competitive with current mechanical potentiometer solutions. Available in tiny 5- and 6-pin SOT-23 and 2 mm x 3 mm DFN packages, the MCP4011, 4012, 4013 and 4014 help reduce board space and device height for many portable applications. Their ultralow power consumption (0.3uA typical), and their low operating-voltage (down to 1.8V) increase battery life.

Specifications of the MCP401x family include maximum integral nonlinearity (INL) of 0.5LSB, maximum differential nonlinearity (DNL) of 0.5LSB, typical end-to-end temperature coefficient of 100ppm and typical ratiometric temperature coefficient of 10ppm.

In addition, the new devices operate over an extended temperature range of -40 to +125C.

The MCP401x digital potentiometers are ideally suited for sensor calibration, setpoint control, test and measurement, process control and data acquisition applications.

To help engineers get started with the new family, Microchip offers the low cost MCP402XEV nonvolatile digital potentiometer evaluation board at a cost of $15.

If the devices are being used in a filtering circuit, Microchip also offers the FilterLab 2.0 active filter design tool.

The FilterLab software is available as a free download from Microchip's website), and gives users full schematic diagrams of filter circuits with component values, and frequency response information.

The MCP4011, MCP4012, MCP4013, and MCP4014 are available for sampling and for purchase.

The MCP4011 is offered in 8-pin 2 x 3mm DFN, MSOP, and SOIC packages.

The MCP4012 and MCP4013 are available in 6-pin SOT-23 packages, and the MCP4014 is available in a 5-pin SOT-23 package.

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