CN-0151: Versatile High Precision Programmable Current Sources Using DACs,...

Circuit Note
CN-0151
Devices Connected/Referenced
Circuit Designs Using Analog Devices Products
Apply these product pairings quickly and with confidence.
For more information and/or support call 1-800-AnalogD
(1-800-262-5643) or visit www.analog.com/circuit.
AD5446/
AD5543
14-/16-Bit High Bandwidth DACs
with Serial Interface
OP1177/
AD8510
Precision, Low Noise, Low Input Bias
Current Op Amps
ADR425/
ADR512
Precision, Low Noise 5 V/1.2 V References
Versatile High Precision Programmable Current Sources Using DACs,
Op Amps, and MOSFET Transistors
CIRCUIT FUNCTION AND BENEFITS
CIRCUIT DESCRIPTION
Digitally controlled current sources are critical functions in a
variety of applications, such as power management, solenoid
control, motor control, impedance measurement, sensor
excitation, and pulse oximetry. Here we describe three current
sources with serial interface digital control using DACs,
op amps, and MOSFET transistors.
All three circuits require a single 5 V supply for the DACs and
±15 V supplies for the op amps. Some circuits may need an
accurate external voltage reference (see MT-087 Tutorial).
Each circuit contains two stages. The first stage is the input
stage, composed of the DAC and an op amp. The second stage is
an N-channel MOSFET transistor output stage (Figure 1 and
Figure 2), which supplies the current in response to the digital
word sent to the system.
The DACs selected are high resolution (14- or 16-bit), low
power CMOS with standard serial interfaces. The AD5543
16-bit DAC is packaged in ultracompact (3 mm × 4.7 mm)
8-lead MSOP and 8-lead SOIC packages. The AD5446 14-bit
DAC is available in a small 10-lead MSOP package. The two
DACs are both compatible with most DSP interface standards
and also SPI, QSPI, and MICROWIRE. The external reference
voltage input allows many output level variations, up to 10 V.
The input stage of the circuit, shown in Figure 1, is composed of
a current output DAC (AD5446) and its op amp (AD8510). It
provides the conversion of the command word and drives the
transistor. It also modulates the voltage applied to the single
resistor. The command word is sent via an SPI interface.
The output stage is composed of an N-channel MOSFET
transistor (NTE4153N), which can provide more current
than the output of the op amp and a single resistor. The single
resistor, R1, produces the current with the voltage applied to its
pins. The transistor regulates this current.
The combination of parts represents industry-leading small PC
board area, low cost, and high resolution. The three designs
offer low risk solutions and use industry-standard parts.
+5V
4 SCLK
AD5446
DIN
5 SDIN
RFB
IOUT1
SYNC
SDO
6
7
SYNC
SDO
OUT
VDD 8
IOUT2
GND
+15V
3pF
ILOAD
10
1
2
2
D
−
7
AD8510
3 +
3
VREF 9
VIN
SEE TEXT
AGND
6
NTE4153NT1G
G
S
4
−15V
R1
100Ω
AGND
08977-001
SCLK
Figure 1. Current Source Using a Current Output DAC (All Connections and Decoupling Not Shown)
Rev. A
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CN-0151
Circuit Note
The load current is
− D × V IN
R1 × (1 + R1/R DAC )
The op amp used in this case is the OP1177. It is a high
precision and very low offset device (60 µV maximum). Low
offset voltage is essential when the DAC is used in voltage
output mode because of the reduced signal swing.
where D is the fractional representation of the digital word
loaded into the DAC. However, RDAC >> R1, (RDAC is nominally
9 kΩ); therefore, the load current can be approximated as
I LOAD =
− D × V IN
R1
The N-channel MOSFET transistor in conjunction with the op
amp makes a high current output follower circuit.
The negative feedback from the source pin of the transistor to
the op amp input regulates the value of the current through the
R1 resistor.
With R1 = 100 Ω and VI N = −5 V, ILOAD is programmable from
0 mA to 50 mA with a resolution of 3 µA (1 LSB at 14 bits). The
output compliance voltage is approximately 20 V and is limited
by the breakdown voltage of the MOSFET transistor. The ADR425
is an ideal 5 V low power precision reference for this circuit, but
its output must be inverted with an additional op amp to
generate the −5 V reference.
The load current is
I LOAD =
With R1=10 Ω and VIN = 1.2 V, ILOAD can be programmed from
0 mA to 120 mA with a resolution of 7 µA (1 LSB at 14 bits).
The circuit shown in Figure 2 also uses the AD5446 DAC.
However, in this case the DAC is used in the reverse or voltage
mode, which provides a voltage output by using a 1.2 V voltage
reference such as the ADR512.
4 SCLK
SCLK
AD5446
SYNC
SYNC
7
SDO
RFB
IOUT1
6
OUT
VDD 8
5 SDIN
DIN
IOUT2
GND
SDO
VREF
V IN × D
R1
+5V
+15V
ILOAD
10
1
2
VIN = 1.2V
SEE TEXT
3
2
OP1177
+
6
NTE4153NT1G
G
S
4
3
9
D
7
−
−15V
R1
10Ω
AGND
08977-002
I LOAD =
The DAC output voltage range on Pin 9 varies from 0 V to 1.2 V.
See the AD5446 data sheet for more details on the reverse
voltage mode of operation.
AGND
Figure 2. Current Source Using a Current Output DAC Connected in the Reverse Voltage Mode (All Connections and Decoupling Not Shown)
+5V
7
VDD
SDI
1 SCLK
2 SDI
RFB
IOUT
3
+15V
3pF
5
2
7
AD8510
CS
8
CS
VREF 4
VIN
SEE TEXT
3
6
R2
15kΩ
R1
150kΩ
10pF
4
AD5543
GND
6
AGND
+15V
−15V
2
AD8510
3
AGND
6
−15V
R1'
150kΩ
R3
50Ω
4
7
R3'
50Ω
R2'
15kΩ
OUT
ILOAD
AGND
08977-003
SCLK
Figure 3. Bipolar Current Source Based on the Howland Current Source (All Connections and Decoupling Not Shown)
Rev. A | Page 2 of 3
Circuit Note
CN-0151
LEARN MORE
The third circuit, shown in Figure 3, uses an AD5543 16-bit
DAC as the input and a Howland current pump circuit as the
output stage. Howland current pumps have two advantages over
MOSFET outputs: high output impedance and the ability to
provide bipolar output currents. Usually, to improve stability,
the circuit is symmetrical. Therefore R1 = R1', R2 = R2', and
R3 = R3'.
MT-015 Tutorial, Basic DAC Architectures II: Binary DACs.
Analog Devices.
The load current is (see the AN-843 Application Note for
derivation)
MT-031 Tutorial, Grounding Data Converters and Solving the
Mystery of "AGND" and "DGND," Analog Devices.
I LOAD =
MT-087 Tutorial, Voltage References. Analog Devices.
V IN × D × (R2 + R3)
R1× R3
MT-101 Tutorial, Decoupling Techniques. Analog Devices.
Voltage Reference Selection and Evaluation Wizard.
Output impedance is
Z OUT =
Brennan, Sean. AN-843 Application Note, Measuring a
Loudspeaker Impedance Profile Using the AD5933, Analog
Devices.
Data Sheets and Evaluation Boards
R1' R3 × (R1 + R2)
R1 × (R2'+R3' ) – R1' × (R2 + R3)
AD5446 Data Sheet
With R1 = 150 kΩ, R2 = 15 kΩ, R3 = 50 Ω, and VIN = 10 V,
ILOAD is programmable from 0 mA to 20 mA with a resolution
of 300 nA (1 LSB at 16 bits), and the circuit has a very high
output impedance.
Excellent layout and grounding and decoupling techniques
must be used in all three circuits to separate correctly DACs and
op amps and to achieve the desired performances (see the
MT-031 and MT-101 tutorials).
COMMON VARIATIONS
In both circuits, other voltage references can be used to get
more or less current output range (see Voltage Reference
Selection and Evaluation Wizard). Note that a positive reference
voltage input generates a negative output current because of the
DAC architecture. Although a wide variety of DACs can be used
to optimize the design for speed, precision, and so on, CMOS
current output DACs such as the AD5543 and AD5446 give
more flexibility and provide low risk solutions.
Regarding the op amps, if you have a relatively small output
signal range, CMOS amplifiers should work fine. If you want
high input impedance, FET input op amps are good choices. In
either case, precision amplifiers are required to maintain 14-bit
to 16-bit precision.
AD5446 Evaluation Board
AD5543 Data Sheet
AD5543 Evaluation Board
AD5553 Data Sheet
AD5553 Evaluation Board
AD8510 Data Sheet
ADR425 Data Sheet
ADR512 Data Sheet
OP1177 Data Sheet
REVISION HISTORY
4/11—Rev. 0 to Rev. A
Changes to Circuit Description Section......................................... 2
Changes to Figure 3 .......................................................................... 2
Changes to Learn More Section ...................................................... 3
4/10—Revision 0: Initial Release
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CN08977-0-4/11(A)
Rev. A | Page 3 of 3
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