`1% 12 ""4

`1% 12 ""4
US 20010045470A1
(19) United States
(12) Patent Application Publication (10) Pub. No.: US 2001/0045470 A1
(43) Pub. Date:
Poucher
(54)
INTEGRATED CIRCUIT CHIP FOR USE AS
AN ELECTRONIC THERMOSTAT
(76) Inventor: Frank Poucher, Raheen (IE)
Correspondence Address:
Timothy A. Flory
NOV. 29, 2001
Publication Classi?cation
(51)
Int. Cl? .
(52)
Us. 01. .............................................................. .. 236/94
(57)
....G05D 23/00
ABSTRACT
Van Dyke, Gardner, Linn & Burkhart, LLP
2851 CharlevoiX Drive SE.
PO. Box 888695
An integrated circuit chip, useful as an electronic thermostat,
comprises a temperature sensor for providing a signal cor
responding to ambient temperature. A digital counter con
tains a value Which, after digital-to-analog conversion by a
DAC, corresponds to a desired trip temperature. A compara
tor has an output Which changes state When the magnitude
of the sensor signal exceeds the output of the DAC. The
Grand Rapids, MI 49588-8695 (US)
(21) Appl. No.:
09/797,469
(22) Filed:
Mar. 1, 2001
(30)
Foreign Application Priority Data
Mar. 1, 2000
value in the counter is set by maintaining the sensor at a
(IE) ...................................... .. S2000/0163
desired trip temperature and incrementing the counter until
the comparator changes state.
r
10
—*
2
‘1% ""412
l
A
5
I
<+<11
Patent Application Publication Nov. 29, 2001 Sheet 1 0f 2
US 2001/0045470 A1
Z1>J ili
I i
6
*
5
I
a
Fig. 1
11‘
Patent Application Publication Nov. 29, 2001 Sheet 2 0f 2
US 2001/0045470 A1
Vdd
25
I
+
29
21
—-—r
23
_, 32
:5
33
/.___
‘-—l~
22
‘
I
30
26
24
27
31
Fig. 2
Nov. 29, 2001
US 2001/0045470 A1
INTEGRATED CIRCUIT CHIP FOR USE AS AN
ELECTRONIC THERMOSTAT
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED
EMBODIMENTS
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
[0009] Referring to FIG. 1, the device comprises a tem
perature sensor 1, a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) 2, an
[0001]
This invention relates to an integrated circuit chip
for use as an electronic thermostat. Such a device indicates
Whether the ambient temperature is above or below a
predetermined value (trip temperature).
[0002]
analog comparator 3, a reference circuit 4, control logic 5,
a digital counter 6, a non-volatile digital trip register 7, a
non-volatile digital hysteresis register 8, a timer 9, ?ags (f,
t, p, and o) 10, an input/output pin 11 and a sWitch 12, all
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
connected as shoWn in the draWing. The temperature sensor
1 is of a type Which provides an output voltage Whose
There are many examples in industry Where a need
magnitude is proportional to ambient temperature, for
exists to knoW Whether the ambient temperature is above or
example a current source in series With a forWard biased
beloW a speci?c value. Many existing solutions involve the
diode, Wherein the output voltage is inversely proportional
use of devices such as thermistors, thermocouples, RTDs
to the diode temperature. The reference circuit 4 ensures that
and temperature-to-digital converters. These solutions
involve the use of external components and end-user factory
the trip temperature is not sensitive to poWer supply varia
tion and alloWs for a Wide poWer supply operating range.
calibration. An example of a current solution is the National
Semiconductor LM56 device, Which requires the use of
external resistors to set up the required trip temperature.
Another example is the Maxim MAX6501, Which is avail
[0010] The non-volatile register 8 may be either a repro
grammable memory or a one-time programmable memory.
While the former is preferable for the versatility it provides
able With a number of ?xed-temperature trip points typically
to users, the latter is currently more stable and reliable over
at ten degrees Celsius intervals. In the case of temperature
extended periods.
to-digital converters, softWare development is also required.
An example of this is the Dallas DS1620, Which requires the
end-user to program the required trip point.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
[0003]
The invention seeks to provide an integrated circuit
[0011] The operation of the device is under the control of
the control logic 5, and the function of the various compo
nents identi?ed above is best explained by describing the
various modes of operation of the circuit.
[0012]
1. Test Mode
for use as an electronic thermostat Which needs no external
that is it not susceptible, or less susceptible, to the drift
[0013] In this mode the device provides a sequence of
signals to the output pin 11, such as the DAC 2 output and
the output of the temperature sensor 1, via the sWitch 12, and
the state of the ?ags 10 and the state of the trip register 7 and
Which can occur When silicon chips are assembled into
hysteresis register 8 via the control logic 5.
set-up, calibration or programming by the end user. The
invention also seeks to provide a thermostat Which can be
programmed With its trip temperature in the ?nal package so
packages.
[0014] 2. Trip Temperature Programming Mode
[0004] Accordingly, the present invention provides an
integrated circuit chip comprising a temperature sensor for
providing a signal Whose magnitude is a function of the
ambient temperature, a comparator having an output Which
changes state When the magnitude of the sensor signal
exceeds a temperature-equivalent signal corresponding to a
stored digital value, and a control unit for setting the stored
digital value corresponding to a desired trip temperature.
[0015] In this mode the thermostat’s trip temperature is
programmed as folloWs. The ambient temperature of the
sensor 1 is brought to the desired trip temperature. PoWer is
applied to the thermostat and the control logic 5 checks the
status of the ‘device programmed’ ?ag P. If the ?ag is not set
then the control logic proceeds to set the trip temperature as
folloWs.
The term “temperature-equivalent signal” as used
[0016] The control logic 5 begins by incrementing the
herein refers to a signal, Which may be analog or digital,
Which is related to and derivable from a digital value. In
particular, but not exclusively, it may be used to refer to an
digital counter 6 from Zero thereby ramping the analog
[0005]
output of the DAC 2 from Zero upWards until the DAC 2
output voltage is greater than the analog output from the
analog signal generated by converting a digital value using
temperature sensor 1. At this point the output of the com
a digital-to-analog converter (DAC).
parator 3 Will change state and this is detected by the control
logic 5. The control logic 5 stops incrementing the digital
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
counter 6 and then programs the value of the counter 6 into
[0006] Embodiments of the invention Will noW be
described, by Way of example, With reference to the accom
in the trip register 7 as a digital value. At the end of the
the trip register 7. The desired trip temperature is thus stored
panying draWings, in Which:
[0007] FIG. 1 is a block circuit diagram of a ?rst embodi
ment of an integrated circuit chip in accordance With the
invention, and
[0008] FIG. 2 is a block circuit diagram of a second
embodiment of an integrated circuit chip in accordance With
the invention.
programming phase, the ‘device programmed’ ?ag P is set.
[0017] Incremental variation of the digital value is not the
sole means of determining the value corresponding to the
trip temperature. Thus, for example, a method of succes
sively closer approximations could be used to determine the
digital value. In the preferred embodiment, incremental
increases of the counter in single steps are preferred for
simplicity.
Nov. 29, 2001
US 2001/0045470 A1
[0018] 3. Hysteresis Programming Mode
[0019] After the trip temperature has been programmed, it
is necessary to set the amount of hysteresis in the trip
temperature. This is done by inputting a desired number of
pulses to the input/output pin 11, Which are used to incre
ment the hysteresis register 8. The digital value thus stored
[0026] Ambient <90° C.: The trip register 7 contains the
digital value corresponding to the 90° C. trip temperature.
The comparator 3 output is loW. The output pin 11 is loW.
[0027] Ambient >90° C.: The comparator 3 output goes
high. This is transferred to the output pin 11, Which goes
high. The digital value in the hysteresis register 8 is sub
in the hysteresis register is subtracted or added to the value
in the trip register 7 as appropriate When the comparator 3
changes state in the normal operating mode, Which folloWs.
DAC 2.
[0020] 4. Operating Mode.
[0028] Ambient >88° C. and <90° C.: The comparator 3
[0021] In order to reduce energy requirements, the illus
trated thermostat is provided With a timer enabling it to
output remains high.
operate intermittently, by poWering up for short periods to
sample the temperature, and poWering doWn for longer
dormant periods to reduce energy requirements. The dura
tion of the poWer-up and poWer doWn periods can be
programmed into control logic 5, depending on the appli
tracted from the value in the digital counter 6. This effec
tively places a digital equivalent of (say) 88° C. into the
[0029] Ambient <88° C.: The comparator 3 output goes
loW. The digital value in the hysteresis register 8 is added to
the value in the digital counter 6, thus re-establishing the
original reference level. This may done by re-loading the
contents of the trip register 7 into the digital counter 6.
cation to Which the thermostat is to be put, the environment
in Which the thermostat is located, and the thermal response
[0030] In a practical implementation all of the components
time of the thermostat chip. This mode of operation may
reduce the poWer requirements of the thermostat by eg
circuit With eXternal connections made by pins connecting to
90%, Which may be particularly important in battery-poW
ered devices, or in other poWer-sensitive applications.
[0022] Each time that poWer is applied to the thermostat
the control logic 5 checks the value of the ‘device pro
grammed’ ?ag P. If this ?ag is set then the digital value
stored in the trip register 7 is buffered into the digital counter
6 and applied to the DAC 2 Which effectively reconstructs
(Within the resolution limits of the circuit) the analog value
Which Was output from the temperature sensor 1 at the
desired trip temperature, also referred to as the temperature
equivalent signal. The temperature-equivalent signal serves
shoWn in the Figure may be integrated onto the same silicon
external circuitry.
[0031] The minimum possible package pin count imple
mentation has three pins—positive poWer supply (VCC),
ground (GND) and input/output Pin 11. The pin 11 acts as an
input/output pin When the device is being tested and pro
grammed and as an output pin When the device is in
operating mode. The desired sWitching voltage may be
factory-programmed to suit user requirements. The tempera
ture resolution to Which the device can be programmed is
effectively set by the resolution and monotonicity of the
DAC.
as a level against Which the analog output from the tem
[0032]
perature sensor 1 is compared by the comparator 3, the
output of the comparator 3 changing state from loW to high
requires no user calibration and Which can be made very
When the sensor output eXceeds the temperature-equivalent
signal. The output of the comparator 3 is applied to the
output pin 11.
[0023] At the same time, the digital value in the hysteresis
register 8 is subtracted from the digital value in the counter
6 (Which initially stored the value in the trip register 7) so
that the analog output of the DAC 2 is loWered by a small
voltage. Then, When the sensor output once more falls beloW
the temperature-equivalent signal (as thus adjusted for hys
teresis) by the output of the comparator 3 going from high
to loW, the digital value in the hysteresis register 8 is added
to the digital value in the counter 6 to restore the value to its
former level. These operations occur each time the output of
The above embodiment provides a device Which
accurate, physically small (and hence has a very good
thermal response time) and With loW poWer consumption. A
particular advantage is that the trip temperature may be set
in the ?nal package. This alloWs for a lot of ?exibility in the
provision of thermostats that sWitch at temperatures that are
very close to the eXact temperatures that customers need. It
also means that small quantities can be provided to suit
customer demands. This is in direct contrast to other devices
Where the trip temperature is set at Wafer level, Which
generally means that all of the dice on the Wafer have the
same trip temperature. So, if a customer Wishes to purchase
a non-standard trip temperature, he may have to buy a
minimum of all of the dice on a single Wafer. This could
mean a minimum purchase quantity of ten thousand pieces.
the comparator changes state, the temperature-equivalent
signal being loWered each time the output of the comparator
[0033] A second embodiment of the invention, FIG. 2,
3 goes from loW to high and being raised each time it goes
verter (DAC) 22, an analog comparator 23, control logic 24,
from high to loW. This hysteresis effect avoids “hunting”
When the ambient temperature is ?uctuating around the trip
temperature.
[0024] An eXample of hoW the thermostat operates includ
ing the hysteresis function is as folloWs:
[0025] Let us say that the device is programmed to shoW
an output signal ‘1’ on the pin 11 When the ambient
temperature rises above 90° C. and an output signal ‘0’ When
the ambient temperature falls beloW 88° C. The device
operates internally as folloWs:
comprises a temperature sensor 21, a digital-to-analog con
a current source 25, a digital counter 26, a non-volatile
digital trip register 27, a ?ag P, ?rst and second hysteresis
resistors 29 and 30, an input/output pin 31, and a pair of
ganged changeover sWitches 32 and 34, all connected as
shoWn in the draWing.
[0034]
The temperature sensor 21 is of a type Which
provides an output voltage Whose magnitude is proportional
to ambient temperature, for eXample a current source in
series With a forWard biased diode, Wherein the output
voltage is inversely proportional to the diode temperature.
Nov. 29, 2001
US 2001/0045470 A1
[0035]
The DAC 22 can be a form of string DAC, e.g.
resistor string, folded resistor string, or multiple resistor
string. It is supplied by the current source 25 Which elimi
nates the need for the reference circuit 4 of FIG. 1, thereby
reducing the complexity and cost of the circuit.
[0036] The current source 25 is connected via the sWitch
32 to the “reference” connection 33 of the DAC, the
“ground” connection 35 of the DAC being connected to a
ground point by the sWitch 34. When the sWitch contacts of
the ganged changeover sWitches 32/34 are in their loWer
position, as seen in FIG. 2, the resistor 29 in the reference
circuit is connected in series betWeen the current source 25
and the reference connection 33, and the ground connection
is directly connected to ground. HoWever, When the sWitch
contacts are in their upper position, the resistor 30 in the
ground circuit is connected in series betWeen the ground
connection 35 and ground, and the current source is directly
connected to the reference connection 33. This alloWs the
reference input voltage to the DAC to be varied and,
accordingly, the level of the reconstructed analog signal for
a given digital input signal.
[0037] The current source 25 ensures that the DAC output
is not sensitive to poWer supply variation and alloWs for a
Wide poWer supply operating range. The DAC output Will
vary With temperature due to changes in the resistance
values of the DAC internal resistors; hoWever, since these
changes are effectively taken account of in the trip tempera
ture register 27 at the time the trip temperature is pro
grammed, this DAC output change With temperature is not
a source of error. These changes in the DAC output due to
DAC resistor changes With temperature Will not increase the
error of the circuit provided that the temperature coefficient
of the DAC resistors is of opposite sign to the temperature
coefficient of the temperature sensor, or that the effect of
temperature on the output of the DAC is not signi?cant
compared to the effect of temperature on the output of the
temperature sensor.
[0038]
The current source driving the DAC may be mir
rored using conventional current-mirroring techniques and
the mirrored current thus generated used to drive the tem
perature sensor. This has the result that errors due to poWer
supply variations are minimised.
[0039] The operation of the device is under the control of
the control logic 24 and the input/output pin 31, and the
function of the various components identi?ed above is best
eXplained by describing the various modes of operation of
the circuit.
[0040] 1. Trip Temperature Programming Mode
[0041] In this mode the thermostat’s trip temperature is
programmed as folloWs. The ambient temperature of the
sensor 21 is brought to the desired trip temperature. PoWer
is applied to the thermostat and the control logic 24 checks
the status of the ‘device programmed’ ?ag P. If the ?ag is not
set then the input/output pin 31 and the control logic 4 are
used to set the trip temperature as folloWs.
[0042]
The input/output pin 31 is driven to a sequence of
logic highs and loWs thereby incrementing the digital
counter 26 from Zero and thereby ramping the analog output
of the DAC 22 from Zero upWards until the DAC 22 output
voltage is greater than the analog output from the tempera
ture sensor 21. At this point the output of the comparator 23
Will change state and this is detected by the control logic 24
Which inhibits the input/output pin 11 from further incre
menting the digital counter 26. The input/output pin 31 is
then raised to a programming voltage Vpp Which is used to
then program the value of the counter 26 into the trip register
27. The desired trip temperature is thus stored in the trip
register 27 as a digital value. At the end of the programming
phase, the ‘device programmed’ ?ag P is set.
[0043] 2. Operating Mode
[0044] Each time that poWer is applied to the thermostat
the control logic 24 checks the value of the ‘device pro
grammed’ ?ag P. If this ?ag is set then the digital value
stored in the trip register 27 is buffered into the digital
counter 26 and applied to the DAC 22 Which effectively
reconstructs (Within the resolution limits of the circuit) the
analog value Which Was output from the temperature sensor
21 at the desired trip temperature. The reconstructed analog
value serves as the temperature-equivalent signal against
Which the analog output from the temperature sensor 21 is
compared by the comparator 23, the output of the compara
tor 23 changing state from loW to high When the sensor
output eXceeds the reference level.
[0045] The output of the comparator 23 is applied to the
output pin 31. At the same time the control logic 24 sWitches
over the ganged changeover sWitches 32/34 so that the
analog output of the DAC 22 is loWered by a small voltage
(Without any change in the digital reference level in the
counter 26) to provide a pre-determined amount of hyster
esis in the temperature comparison process. When the sensor
output once more falls beloW the temperature-equivalent
signal (as thus adjusted for hysteresis) the changeover
sWitches 32/34 are once more sWitched over to raise the
analog output of the DAC 22 to its former level.
[0046]
In this embodiment it Will therefore be seen that the
adjustment for hysteresis takes place in the DAC 22, by
varying its reference input voltage, While the value in the
counter 26 remains constant. This contrasts With FIG. 1,
Where the counter value Was adjusted to provide the hys
teresis. In order to ensure that the amount of hysteresis is
reasonably accurate, the tWo hysteresis resistors 29 and 30
may consist of a multiple of the unit resistor used to
construct the DAC 22.
[0047] The invention is not limited to the embodiments
described herein Which may be modi?ed or varied Without
departing from the scope of the invention.
1. An integrated circuit chip comprising a temperature
sensor for providing a signal Whose magnitude is a function
of the ambient temperature, a comparator having an output
Which changes state When the magnitude of the sensor signal
eXceeds a temperature-equivalent signal corresponding to a
stored digital value, and a control unit for setting the stored
digital value corresponding to a desired trip temperature.
2. An integrated circuit chip as claimed in claim 1,
Wherein the control unit comprises counter control logic for
varying a digital counter to generate a plurality of digital
values, and a memory for storing the digital value for Which
a comparison betWeen the corresponding temperature
equivalent signal and the sensor signal causes the output of
the comparator to change state.
3. An integrated circuit chip as claimed in claim 1,
Wherein said sensor signals and said temperature-equivalent
US 2001/0045470 A1
Nov. 29, 2001
signals are analog signals and said chip further comprises a
digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for converting a digital
value into its corresponding ternperature-equivalent signals.
9. An integrated circuit chip as claimed in claim 8,
Wherein said sensor signals and said ternperature-equivalent
signals are analog signals and said chip further comprises a
4. An integrated circuit chip as claimed in claim 3,
digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for converting a digital
value into its corresponding ternperature-equivalent signals.
Wherein said variations of the digital counter are incrernen
tal.
5. An integrated circuit chip as claimed in claim 3,
Wherein the DAC is provided With reference and ground
inputs and Wherein the DAC is poWered by a current source
connected to the reference input.
6. An integrated circuit chip as claimed in claim 5, further
10. An integrated circuit chip as claimed in claim 8,
Wherein the DAC is provided With reference and ground
inputs and Wherein the hysteresis circuit for increasing and
decreasing the ternperature-equivalent signal comprises
means is operable to adjust the reference input to the DAC.
11. An integrated circuit chip as claimed in claim 10,
thus generated to drive the temperature sensor.
7. An integrated circuit chip as claimed in claim 1, further
Wherein the hysteresis circuit comprises circuit elements for
varying resistance values in the reference and ground cir
cuits respectively in opposite directions.
12. An integrated circuit chip as claimed in claim 10,
including hysteresis logic for subtracting a predetermined
Wherein the DAC is poWered by a current source connected
digital value from the stored digital value When the output of
the comparator changes state in one direction and for adding
a predetermined digital value to the stored digital value
When the output of the comparator changes state in the
to the reference input.
13. An electronic therrnostat comprising an integrated
circuit chip comprising a temperature sensor for providing a
signal whose magnitude is a function of the ambient tern
perature, a comparator having an output Which changes state
When the magnitude of the sensor signal eXceeds a ternpera
comprising a current mirror for mirroring the current source
driving the DAC, and for supplying the mirrored current
opposite direction.
8. An integrated circuit chip as claimed in claim 1, further
including a hysteresis circuit for decreasing the temperature
equivalent signal When the output of the comparator changes
state in one direction and increasing the ternperature-equiva
lent signal When the output of the comparator changes state
in the opposite direction.
ture-equivalent signal corresponding to a stored digital
value, and a control unit for setting the stored digital value
corresponding to a desired trip ternperature.
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF

advertisement