Design Tools and Support Communities Make Analog Fun, not Fearful


Dear James, I’m well versed with digital design, but have been asked to add thermocouple based temperature measurement to our system. My tie is beginning to curl from fright. Where should I start? Bert.

RAQ:  Issue 98


Dear Bert, Don't panic! With its history of providing “augmented” products, ADI delivers more than silicon, offering a wealth of application notes, reference circuits, and design expertise. Our newest design tool, Signal Chain Designer, provides a complete selection and design environment with everything you need to create sensor based designs, faster and more effectively.

You can create your own design, choosing devices using the parametric search engines, or start with one found in the library, which comprises over 200 reference circuits and verified product combinations, including those optimized for conditioning sensor outputs and driving analog-to-digital converters. After choosing a circuit design, you can customize it to your specifications, and download complete documentation including schematics, bill of materials, and PCB layout files. Signal Chain Designer, which is currently in Beta testing, is fully integrated with the newly released Analog Filter Wizard.

Analog Devices supports design tools for every phase of your design. These are grouped into: Amplifier and Linear Design Tools, Data Converter Design Tools, RF Design Tools, and Power Management Design Tools. Amongst the many linear tools, you’ll find SPICE simulation using Multisim, the ADI DiffAmpCalc downloadable calculator for designing differential amplifier circuits, and the newly redesigned Photodiode Wizard, whose beta version will be released on October 10. For ADCs, try ADIsimADC, a web-based application that allows control of test conditions and provides design-specific performance plots. In the RF domain, you’ll have the opportunity to calculate important parameters within the RF signal chain, including cascaded gain, noise figure, IP3, P1dB, and power consumption using ADIsimRF, or evaluate high-performance PLLs using ADIsimPLL. And with ADIsimPower, you’ll find spreadsheets that produce complete power designs optimized to your design goals.

In addition, ADI provides tutorials and educational opportunities via its Engineering University program, webcasts, and videos; FPGA reference designs through its Alliance Program; and personalized support via the EngineerZone Support Community and Technical Support.

These design tools and support communities combine to lower your development risk, shorten your design cycle, and accelerate your product’s time to market. So don’t fear your next analog design. Use it as an opportunity to learn a new skill while also having fun!

I invite you to comment on Design Tools in the Analog Dialogue Community on EngineerZone.



James Bryant

James Bryant was a European applications manager at Analog Devices from 1982 to his retirement in 2009 and he still writes and consults for the company. He holds a degree in physics and philosophy from the University of Leeds and is also C.Eng., EurEng., MIET, and an FBIS. In addition to his passion for engineering, James is a radio ham and holds the call sign G4CLF.