Maxim makes a big noise in shrinking wireless ear buds

Form factor and cost of wireless ear buds can be reduced dramatically with the MAX20340 bi-directional DC powerline communications (PLC) device from Maxim Integrated Products. It can reduce the size of a power and communication interface to the charging dock by up to 80 per cent, says the company.

The MAX20340 is claimed to be the industry’s smallest two-pin bi-directional DC powerline communications (PLC) device. It has power and communication on a single line to eliminate the pins and discrete devices typically needed to communicate between a charging dock and a low-voltage end product such as true wireless earbuds, rings and other small wearables. This simplifies the design process and saves up to 13mm2 per earbud compared to the closest competitive solution, claims Maxim.

The PLC chip minimises the number of mechanical contact points for the charging and communication interface, which reduces cost, limits points of failure and increases reliability. It also incorporates automatic presence detection, enabling flexible design and eliminating unreliable and costly alternative methods such as mechanical pogo pins or Hall effect sensors, continues Maxim.

The device is configured as either a communication master or slave by a single external resistor. Multiple modes of operation offer designers the opportunity to minimise power consumption based on the needs of an application.

The communication protocol uses a simple mailbox communication scheme for read and write functions via an I2C interface. The MAX20340 manages all communication across the interface.

The MAX20340 and the MAX20340EVKIT# evaluation kit are available now.

Maxim Integrated develops innovative analogue and mixed-signal products and technologies to make systems smaller and smarter, with enhanced security and increased energy efficiency. Its products are used in the automotive, industrial, healthcare, mobile consumer, and cloud data centre markets.

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