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A/D Converter Terminology

Some of the more commonly used terms while interpreting the specifications and salient features of

A/D converters are briefly described in the following paragraphs.

 Unipolar Mode Operation

In the unipolar mode of operation, the analogue input to the A/D converter varies from 0 to full-scale voltage of one polarity only.

 Bipolar Mode Operation

An A/D converter configured to convert both positive and negative analogue input voltages is said to be operating in bipolar mode.

 Coding

Coding defines the nature of the A/D converter output data format. Commonly used formats include straight binary, offset binary, complementary binary, 2’s complement, low byte and high byte.

 Low Byte and High Byte

In A/D converters with a resolution greater than eight bits, some products are offered in high-byte or low-byte format to simplify their interface with eight-bit microprocessor systems. The low-byte output contains the least significant bit and some or all of the lower eight bits of the A/D converter output. In the high byte, the output contains the MSB and some or all of the upper eight bits.

 Right-Justified Data, Left-Justified Data

Data bit sets shorter than eight bits are placed in byte-oriented data output format, starting with the right side of the data output transfer register. This could apply to the upper or lower byte. For example, a 12-bit ADC will have four extra bits which could be right justified. Data bit sets shorter than eight bits are placed in left-justified data, starting with the left side of the data output transfer register. This could apply to the lower or upper byte. For example, a 12-bit ADC will have four extra bits which could be left justified.

 Command Register, Status Register

 The command register is an internal register of the ADC that can be programmed by the user to select various modes of operation such as unipolar or bipolar mode selection, range selection, data output format selection, etc. The status register indicates the current status of the analogue-to-digital conversion with a ‘busy’ or ‘conversion complete’ signal.

 Control Lines

Digital input/output pins that activate/monitor and control ADC operation are called control lines. Some examples are chip select, write, start convert, conversion complete, etc.


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