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New Wireless Technology Follows ‘Thin Is Better’ Logic

ZiLOG Inc., the Extreme Connectivity™ Company, today launched the new Slim series of IrDA-compliant transceivers with a new low-profile module that will allow designers to add infrared connectivity to even the thinnest PDAs, cell phones, and other handheld portable devices.

Housed in a miniature 9.1 mm by 3.8 mm package, the new ZHX1810 measures just 2.75 mm high – about one-third thinner than most serial infrared transceivers on the market, including ZiLOG’s popular ZHX1010.

“In today’s market for handheld information appliances, thinner is always better,” said Allan Hamilton, Vice President of ZiLOG’s Wireless Connectivity Business Line. “The ZHX1810 simplifies the challenge of adding infrared connectivity and maintaining a slim product profile. And since it occupies the same footprint as many other devices, including our ZHX1010, it’s an easy design-in for existing printed circuit board layouts.”

The ZHX1810 typically requires only 90 µA in receive mode as compared to the 2 mA for the Agilent HSDL3000. Overall, it is the most power- and application-efficient offering in this class size.

Designed to operate using the IrDA-Data standard, the ZHX1810 combines in a single package an infrared emitting diode (IRED), a PIN photodiode, a digital AC-coupled IRED driver and a receiver/decoder. Up to three external components complete the serial infrared (SIR) solution. The ZHX1810 operates with a link range of 0-1 meter, pursuant to IrDA specifications, and supports transmission speeds from 2.4 to 115.2 kbps.

An extended –30° C to +85° C operating temperature range, plus mechanical enhancements to the package, ensure reliable operation in the knockabout handheld environment. Built using sheet-cast, optical grade epoxy, the ZHX1810 features an external metal shield that adds extra RFI/EMI protection and improved mechanical strength. A tab on the metal shield improves solder retention, so the module is less likely to separate from the printed circuit board if the PDA or cell phone is dropped — a major advantage over unshielded “lead frame” packages from other suppliers.

In addition to boosting reliability, the ZHX1810 addresses the demand from portable electronics manufacturers for smaller devices that can be easily assembled onto the already-crowded PCBs of mobile and palmtop systems.

About Fabrizio Pilato

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