Microchip Announces New SAR ADC Family for the Toughest Automotive Environments

March 11, 2019 by Gary Elinoff

Microchip announces a new 16-bit SAR ADC family designed for tough automotive environments.

Microchip has announced a line of 1 Msps, AEC-Q100-qualified analog-to-digital converters (ADCs). The units are specifically tailored to thrive in challenging environments featuring high temperatures and high EMI.

This week, Microchip announced a series of 12 successive approximation register (SAR) analog-to-digital converters. The MCP331x1(D)-xx family includes members whose conversion rates range from 500 kilosamples per second (ksps) to a million samples per second (1 Msps). The series of devices feature output resolutions of 12-bits, 14-bits, or 16-bits. 


The Microchip MCP33131D-10 SAR ADC. Image from Microchip


A companion differential amplifier, the MCP6D11, serves to interface small analog signals to the ADCs without introducing additional noise and distortion.

The Need for Resolution and Speed

The amount of electronics in today’s automobiles is ever increasing, as is the presence of electronic devices in the harshest industrial environments. The sophistication of the tasks that they are required to perform is also on the upswing.

Bryan J. Liddiard, vice president of Microchip’s mixed-signal and linear business unit, observes that the “The ADC market and applications are pushing toward higher resolution, higher speed, and higher accuracy.” He also states, “In addition, lower power consumption and smaller packaging are also tremendously important, and these products address all these demands.”

Specifications for Members of the MCP331x1(D)-xx Family

  • Power: These converters require a 1.8 V power supply, with the 1 MSP members typically drawing 1.6 mA active current. The 500 ksps devices require slightly less at 1.4.mA.
  • Digital I/O Interface: Voltage ranges from 1.7V to 5.5V, allowing easy interfacing with host devices with no need for external voltage level shifters.
  • Input: Both single-ended and differential input voltage measurement options are available, enabling the units to convert the difference between any two arbitrary waveforms. The differential input capability of the units make them well-suited for applications such as high-precision data acquisition, electric vehicle battery management, motor control, and switch-mode power supplies
  • Packaging: The ADCs come in 3mm by 3mm 9mm2 package. Designers can choose between 10-MSOP or 10-TDFN units.
  • Temperature Range: These devices operate over the AEC-Q100  -40 to   +125°C temperature range.


The pinouts of the two package types offered. Image from the datasheet

Development Board and Tools

Microchip offers Development Tools designed to shorten your time to market. The MCP331x1D-XX evaluation kit consists of the following items:

  • MCP331x1D evaluation board
  • PIC32MZ EF MCU Curiosity Board for data collection
  • SAR ADC Utility PC Graphical User Interface (GUI)


The MCP331x1D-xx evaluation board. Image from Microchip

Other Automotive-Focused Analog-to-Digital Converters

The number of components qualified to AEQ-Q100 is fast growing, but members of the Microchip’s MCP331x1(D)-xx family represent some of the first ADCs to make the list and stands out in respect to the available 16-bit resolution.

For the sake of comparison, Texas Instruments offers the ADS7049-Q1. This AEQ-Q100-qualified 12-bit SAR ADC can operate at speeds of up to 2 MSPs.

Another available option is the AD9203W ADC from Analog Devices, a 10-bit converter that operates at speeds of up to 40 MSPS. It operates over a temperature range of −40°C to +85°C, and the company describes it as being qualified for automotive applications.



Have you worked with automotive applications? Let us know what you look for in an automotive component in the comments below.