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Powerline Comms IC Shrinks Footprint of Wireless Earbuds

Maxim Integrated has announced a what it claims is the industry’s smallest 2-pin bi-directional DC powerline communications (PLC) device. With power and communication on a single line, the MAX20340 eliminates pins and discrete devices 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, says Maxim.

This ultra-small PLC chip minimizes the number of mechanical contact points for the charging and communication interface, which reduces cost, limits points of failure and increases reliability. In addition, the MAX20340 incorporates automatic presence detection, enabling flexible design and eliminating unreliable and costly alternative methods such as mechanical pogo pins or hall effect sensors.

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 minimize power consumption based on their application needs. Finally, the communication protocol is as simple as reading and writing via I2C with the MAX20340 managing all communication across the interface.

The MAX20340 is available at Maxim’s website for $0.82 (1000-up); also available from authorized distributors. The MAX20340EVKIT# evaluation kit is available for $57.

Maxim Integrated | www.maximintegrated.com


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