• Precision Measurement Technologies
  • Technology Center for

TDC-GP21 Application: Ultrasonic Heatmeter

TDC-GP21 Time to Digital Converter for Ultrasonic Heatmeter Applications

The TDC-GP21 is Perfectly Suited for Low-Cost Ultrasonic Heatmeter Designs.

Thanks to the implemented functionality, including analog section, precision temperature measurement, fire pulse generation, windowing and clock calibration it is sufficient to add a simple microprocessor (without A/D converter). The extremely low current consumption guarantees the necessary long battery lifetime in such applications.

The measurement is fairly automated by the TDC-GP21. The microprocessor just sends a start command. The TDC then fires the transducers and measures the time of flight. It calibrates the results and provides them to the microprocessor.

Current Consumption

a. Time measurement

32.768kHz: typ. 1.0 µA
4 MHz: < 1nA in power down, 130 µA when active (@3.0V)
TDC: 4 mA during active time of the high-speed unit

With 2 measurements per second (forth and back flow) the total consumption is < 2 µA.

b. Temperature measurement

A full measurement over all four ports takes less than 2 µAs current. Typically the temperature is measured once in 30 seconds. The average current then is about 0.08 µA. This is about 50 times less than with solutions without a TDC.

c. Quiescent current

Thanks to the current optimized technology the quiescent current is less than 100 nA.

d. Total system current

The complete current for the measuring unit ( incl. Transducer) can be reduced to 2.2 µA.

With a low-power µP (e.g. MSP430 series from TI) the average current consumption of the total device might be in the range of 10 to 15 µA.

It is possible to operate the system from a lithium-thionylchloride ½ AA cell for 10 years without changing the battery. At 6 years runtime it maybe even possible to work with a low-cost 3V CR2450 coin cell battery.

Ultrasonic Heatmeter

(click to enlarge)