TI's Digital Signal Controllers Power Chronotek's Ultrasonic Flow Meter

5/26/2004 - Providing ultra-high accuracy and faster response in industrial metering applications, the digital signal processor (DSP) based TMS320F2810 digital signal controller from Texas Instruments (TI) (NYSE: TXN) is enabling Chronotek to increase sampling rates by more than one hundred times in their Chrondyne Pulse Module ultrasonic transit time liquid flow sensor system. TI's F2810 controller enables the Pulse Module to make 300 calculations per second, where high data density is essential in difficult applications due to unstable flows or contaminants. For more information, please see: www.ti.com/C2000sensemeasure.

Flow metering technologies are coming under increasing pressure to adapt to growing environmental concerns, demands for greater accuracy, and reduced maintenance costs. Traditional mechanical measurement techniques have proved to be inaccurate, slow and maintenance intensive. Modern flow metering solutions have adopted ultrasonic techniques using microcontroller (MCU) based systems, but are still hampered by the lack of processing power to provide highly accurate and fast response measurements.

By leveraging DSP capabilities of the F2810 controller, Chronotek's Pulse Module is able to make 300 calculations per second compared to three to four per second from some MCU-based systems. The 150MHz multiply/accumulate (MAC) instruction of the F2810 controller allows the Pulse Module to send ultrasonic signals and calculate the differential time-of-flight with a resolution of a few picoseconds.

"The ultrasonic flow meter system is an excellent example of the innovation that can be achieved with the F2810 controller. We were able to redesign the ultrasonic flow meter to make it faster, more precise, smaller and less costly,” said David Tigwell, president, Chronotek. “Developers in the sensor and measurement space will be able to pursue innovative products by leveraging the powerful combination of processing performance, integration, small footprint, and low cost of the F28x digital signal controller." The high integration offered by the F2810 controller has also enabled the system to be reduced to the size of a credit card compared to current systems that take up to 40 square inches of board space. The F2810 controller-based Pulse Module is designed to bring high performance and accurate fluid measurement to a variety of OEM industrial applications, including semiconductor manufacturing, medical metering and aviation.

The F2810 controller integrates 128 Kilowords (Kw) of Flash memory for simple reprogramming during development and in-field software updates. Optimized event managers include pulse-width modulation (PWM) generators, programmable general-purpose timers and glueless capture encoder interfaces. The device also features a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) capable of achieving throughput of 12.5 mega samples per second and dual sample-hold, providing fast response for tight control loops. Five different on-chip standard communication ports, including CAN, provide simple communication interfaces to hosts, test equipment, displays and other components or networks.

The Pulse Module also utilizes TI's analog solutions, including TPS380x power supply supervisors and OPA355 amplifier devices. TI provides control solutions from 40 to 150 MIPS designed for virtually all control applications and provides designers with application-focused hardware and software tools designed to speed time to market.

About Texas Instruments
Texas Instruments Incorporated provides innovative DSP and analog technologies to meet our customers' real-world signal processing requirements. In addition to Semiconductors, the company's businesses include Sensors & Controls, and Educational & Productivity Solutions. TI is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and has manufacturing, design or sales operations in more than 25 countries.

Texas Instruments is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TXN. More information is located on the World Wide Web at www.ti.com.

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