OTTAWA -- Aiming at a variety of radio-frequency communications applications in consumer and business devices, Philsar Semiconductor Inc. today introduced a new multi-purpose RF transceiver chip that operates in the industrial scientific medical (ISM) bands. The BiCMOS PT800 chip cuts power consumption by up to 100% and lowers component costs 50% compared to other RF transceiver solutions, said the Canadian fabless chip company.
Integrated on the two-way transceiver device is patent-pending active filter circuit that eliminates the need for surface-acoustic wave (SAW) filters and other external components typically used in RF-based remote control devices, said Philsar managers. "The MuFR multi-purpose RF data transceiver handles direct conversion and there's no need for an intermediate stage," explained Jeffrey Robillard, manager of product marketing for Philsar's MuRF product line.
The on-chip frequency-locked active filter enhances gain, sensitivity, and selectivity while reducing battery power consumption, Robillard said. The transceiver operates in the 220-870 MHz and 902-928 MHz range of the industrial scientific medial band. It has been designed for short-range data transmission of 1 to 10 kilobits per second. The chip is fabricated with a 0.5-micron BiCMOS technology.
The Ottawa-based fabless chip company is aiming the new series at a range of remote control and RF data communications applications for consumer and home-automation products, including healthcare systems, security systems, computer systems, and entertainment products. Industrial and business applications include point-of-sale terminals, wireless price-tag displays, radio-frequency identification systems, and wireless handheld scanners.
In the consumer market, about 90 million-to-110 million systems products are shipped annually with potential RF-based control applications, according to Robillard. This segment is growing at a steady 7% a year with the potential market applications not fully tapped by ISM band-based radio control devices, he said.
The Philsar PT800 MuRF transceiver contains a programmable synthesizer frequency control block. This broadband (phase-lock loop) synthesizer selects access to channels over the ISM band. The chip supports one- and two-way communications as a half-duplex transceiver or as a simplex transmitter or receiver.
The MuRF transceiver has an 8-mW power consumption specification while receiving. Its transmission range is up to 500 feet in "free air" and up to 100 feet through three or four surfaces, according to Philsar. That's 1.5 to 6 times greater than other solutions, said the company.
In high-volume quantities, the BiCMOS transceiver will sell of $4 each in a 32-pin LQFP package. Samples are available now with volume production starting this spring.
--J. Robert Lineback