In most electronic systems, it is important to monitor system voltages both to ensure that processors and other ICs remain reset during power-up, and to detect when brownout conditions occur. This monitoring minimizes code-execution problems, which corrupt memory or cause systems to execute improperly. In high-end systems, it is also critical to ensure proper sequencing of the many power supplies within these systems. Proper sequencing prevents latch-up conditions, which create system problems or damage important components such as microcontrollers (µCs), DSPs, ASICs, or microprocessors (µPs). Commonly, one or more supervisory products are needed to implement the proper sequencing and monitoring functions noted here.
As the number of voltages continue to increase, the number of independent supervisory ICs also may increase. In addition to the number of discrete components, the level of complexity also increase as any changes to the sequencing order, delay timing, or the monitored thresholds levels requires significant changes. Additional information is also required such as exact voltage measurements from an ADC is also often useful in improving reliability in these high end complex systems. New programmable system management ICs such as the eeprom configurable MAX6870/MAX6871 provides a fully integrated solutions that offer this level of flexibility.