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Elan VPU16550 interface chip

PC Card UART - High Integration for Compact Flash Designs : VPU16550

The VPU16550 is Elan's solution for developers wishing to create PC Cards or Compact Flash cards that have a serial data connection.

The VPU, standing for Versatile PC Card UART, implements all the required decoding and protocol logic for the host interface, integrated with an industry standard 16550 UART (Universal Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter). This allows direct connection to any asynchronous device at up to 2.5MBaud.c

The VPU chip, coupled with a suitable Card Information Structure will use the default drivers from all Windows Operating Systems; that's Windows95, 98, 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, CE, PocketPC, MacOS. The VPU will also work with DOS drivers from companies like SystemSoft and Award.

The VPU16550 chip has many possible applications

The VPU also implements some novel features beyond the normal operation of the UART, to allow proprietary capabilities to be added to the card design, but without needing to write kernel device drivers.

To aid developers with the use and productionisation of their card, there is a VPU reference kit that includes chips, software tools, schematics and sample CIS data.

The VPU16550 is ideally suited to the creation of PC Cards that require a standard "COM" port type functionality, for example :

  1. Bluetooth radio
  2. RS232, 422, 485 interface cards
  3. Scanner interface
  4. Smart transmitters / tags
  5. RF modules with serial I/O
  6. GSM, GPRS radio modules
  7. CDMA radio modules
  8. GPS modules

 Technical Features

chip features 16C550 compatible UART with 16-byte TX and RX FIFOs for high speed and reliable communications
chip features Supports industry standard baud rates and enhanced x8 mode to reach 1MBaud (and beyond)
chip features Ultra-thin 100-pin VQFP package, 16mm x 16mm x 1.1mm typ.
chip features Supports PCMCIA and Compact Flash interfaces 
chip features Very simple to use, no specialized knowledge required
chip features Uses in-circuit re-programmable parallel EEPROM (like AT28C16).  VPU provides control signals to EEPROM to allow software driven "unlock" sequence prior to writes (to protect against accidental corruption by host)
chip features 8-Bit wide general purpose Digital I/O port (needs Elan driver)
chip features "Parallel port" access to TX and RX buffers (from card side) for designs that cannot use serial
chip features Built-in pull-up and pull-down resistors (rev Ch onwards)
chip features UART register activity LED driver
chip features Signal for RS485 auto-tristate called "TXRDY" is provided
chip features Support for crystal oscillator or external TTL clock drive
chip features Multi-function support...up to 8 VPUs in one card, or share with another logical function
sortware drivers Supported by standard drivers in DOS, Windows95, 98, 98SE, Me, 2000, XP, CE/ Pocket PC, MacOS.
sortware drivers Enhanced driver for PocketPC also available to support extended features of the VPU (other OS support is coming soon)
power Low power consumption: Typical 5mA at 5V or 3.3V.  Support for reduced power sleep mode by oscillator stop, current drops to <100uAcc
power Software controlled power-down signal available at pin for use with your circuit.

Further Data

Download the UsersGuide (441KB) or contact us with a particular query.
Users Guides are in PDF format which can be read with Adobe Acrobat Reader

A Reference Design kit is also available for this item.