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PC Card UART - High Integration for Compact Flash Designs : VPU16551

If you are looking for a Compact Flash UART bridge solution then the VPU16551 is the perfect choice. Compact Flash designs pose some serious challenges for the card designer, especially when you need to integrate numerous other devices into your solution. To address this the VPU16551 uses a tiny 8x8mm BGA package standing just 1.1mm (typ.) off the PCB (allowing reverse side or top side PCB mounting).

That's not the only advantage with the VPU16551...it also integrates the parallel EEPROM used for the Card Information Structure, meaning that this is truly a single chip solution. You get all the flexibility to reprogram the CIS as many times as you like, plus store any serial number or production lot data into the card while the VPU is in-circuit.

VPU16551's tiny size can be seen by comparing it to a 1 Dime coin

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.

The VPU chip, programmed 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 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 VPU16551 is ideally suited to the creation of Compact Flash 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 compatable UART with 16-byte TX and RX FIFOs for high speed and reliable communications
chip features Integrated parallel EEPROM, re-programmable in-circuit (with software un-lock mechanism)
chip features Ultra-thin 64 ball BGA package, just 8mm x 8mm x 1.1mm typ.
chip features Supports industry standard baud rates and enhanced x8 mode to reach up to 2.5MBaud
chip features Supports PCMCIA and Compact Flash interfaces
chip features Very simple to use, no specialized knowledge required
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
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 2 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
power Software controlled power-down signal available at pin for use with your circuit.

Further Data

Download the UsersGuide (428KB) 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 available for this item.