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Intersil Expands LINEARLINK for Handhelds

Mobile devices are great for working on the go, but most handheld battery-powered equipment run out of juice in a few hours.

So instead of working on extending the battery's life, networking equipment maker Intersil Thursday said it is focusing on making its transceivers more energy efficient.

The Irvine, Calif.-based company said it is expanding its LINEARLINK high-performance RS-232 interface line with its new ISL4238E with serial interface IC. Intersil is best known for working with players such as Cisco, IBM, Nokia, and Sony. All incorporate Intersil's PRISM wireless networking chipsets into their equipment.

The new ISL4238 has 5 transmitters (drivers) and 3 receivers. It is optimized for DCE applications with full handshake capability and is intended to reside in small handheld devices such as PDAs, digital cameras, and data cables.

The company said the transceiver is designed for applications including all portable and handheld battery-powered equipment in which space and power consumption are concerns and serial interface is needed. The powered-down chip current (ICC) runs at a mere 10 nA (0.00000001 A). Intersil said the feature is good in portable battery-powered devices where the RS-232 port is used infrequently and thus spends most of its time in the powered-down mode. Intersil said the ISL4238 awakens automatically from this powered-down sleep mode.

A central land on the underside provides efficient heat transfer to the circuit board along with small lands on the underside perimeter, which also provide circuit connection. There are also no leads to become bent during handling or assembly and special manufacturing equipment is not needed.

"The ISL4238E was designed to meet five key requirements for new handheld device applications - small size, low power consumption, low cost, high performance and high reliability," said Intersil Analog Solutions Products director of marketing Mamoon Rashid. "The ISL4238E is further evidence that Intersil continues to support industry-wide product miniaturization with the most reliable and cost-effective interface solutions."

Intersil said its LINEARLINK ISL4238E is the complement to the already released ISL4243E transceiver. The ISL4243 is optimized for DTE applications such as notebook or desktop PCs and has 3 transmitters and 5 receivers to communicate with those of the ISL4238. Thus, the two ICs complement each other from each end of the RS-232 interface cable.

The company was also proud to mention that the ISL4238E has +/-15 kV ESD protection (IEC61000-4-2 Air Gap and Human Body Model) on transmitter outputs and receiver inputs for safeguards against zaps that occur during the frequent connecting and disconnecting of the RS-232 cable.

Intersil said the ISL4238E is available with an industrial temperature rating in QFN package for $2.76 each in 100- to 999-unit quantities.