Texas Instruments (TI) today introduced an automotive system basis chip that is claimed to be the industry's first to integrate a controller and transceiver for Controller Area Network with Flexible Data Rate (CAN FD). Designed to meet the high-bandwidth and data-rate flexibility needs of in-vehicle networks, the TCAN4550-Q1 uses the Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) bus of almost any microcontroller to implement, with minimal hardware changes, a CAN FD interface or increase the amount of CAN FD bus ports in a system.
According to the company, before this latest development, designers had to incorporate multiple discrete components into their designs or change microcontrollers entirely when upgrading to or expanding CAN FD functionality - an often time-consuming and expensive process.
With the TCAN4550-Q1 system basis chip (SBC), designers can maintain their existing microcontroller-based architecture and streamline CAN FD upgrade or expansion in body electronics and lighting, advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automotive gateway designs.
What is CAN FD?
The CAN FD communications protocol builds on the original CAN bus standard (also known as "Classical CAN") to help ensure that automotive microcontrollers and connected systems can communicate effectively as the variety and speed of data rates throughout in-vehicle networks continue to evolve. With support for data rates up to 5 Mbps and payloads up to 64 bytes, the CAN FD protocol empowers designers to move data faster in their next-generation automotive applications.
Key features and benefits of TI's TCAN4550-Q1:
- Reduced bill of materials (BOM) and system costs: Designers can simplify their designs with the high integration of the TCAN4550-Q1 - including integrated ±58-Vdc bus fault protection, watchdog timer and fail-safe modes - and its cross-compatibility with the Classical CAN protocol.
- Easier bus expansion in automotive designs: Designers can also use the chip to add more CAN FD buses via the existing SPI port in an automotive system when the microcontroller has a limited number of CAN FD ports. Typically, this type of bus expansion can require system redesign, which is not necessary when using the TCAN4550-Q1.
- Small power design footprint: With an integrated 125-mA low-dropout (LDO) linear regulator, the TCAN4550-Q1 can power itself while also providing a 70-mA external output that can be used to power sensors or additional components, which enables a smaller power design footprint by reducing the need for external power components.
- Reduced power consumption: The TCAN4550-Q1 helps designers lower system power consumption when in standby mode through wake and inhibit features.
- Increased maximum data rate: The new SBC enables faster programmability of automotive software during vehicle assembly through a maximum data rate of 8 Mbps, which exceeds the 5-Mbps maximum data rate of the CAN FD protocol.
Package, availability and pricing
The TCAN4550-Q1 is available now through the TI store and authorized distributors. The TCAN4550-Q1 comes in a 4.5-mm-by-3.5-mm very thin quad flat no-lead package and is priced at US$1.79 in 1,000-unit quantities.