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Keep Rolling With Thermal Protection and the AEC-Q100 MCP998x Multichannel Temperature Sensor Family

Automotive electronics continue to need quality multichannel digital temperature sensor solutions. However, there are few AEC-Q100 qualified multichannel solutions on the market. To answer this need, the MCP998x provides 10 new devices with 1°C accuracy for monitoring up to five channels and includes shutdown options that cannot be overwritten by software.

Advancing Multi-Zone Automotive Thermal Monitoring with MCP998x

It cannot be denied that automotive applications require a lot of thermal managemement. The application categories range from engine module, to infotainment, to video processing and more. However, it is interesting that there are very few digital temperature sensors you can get that monitor more than one temperature zone. Much like there are opportunities for centralized processing for camera monitors, so too exists the opportunity for some centralized thermal monitoring. Enter the MCP998x family of AEC-Q100 multichannel temperature sensors that delivers 10 new devices with up to five channels of themal readings.

This post will highlight some of the advantages and differentiators of the MCP998x family of multichannel temperature sensors also known as remote temperature sensors. Highlights include:

  • Creating one of the largest multichannel temperature sensors families in the industry

  • Providing better accuracy than other offerings at the higher temperatures where it is important

  • Protecting systems from malicious software where temperature setpoints are critical

While Microchip has had several single channel temperature sensors for the automotive space, we have not had digital temperature sensors for measuring multiple hot spots in that industry.  Moreover, while Microchip has had the technology to measure remote temperature sensors, it had only been applied to computing, communications and consumer electronics. The MCP998x marries the core competency Microchip had in-house with the stringent quality required for AEC-Q100 grade 1.

This marriage, of course, provides the system benefits afforded ongoing designs that Microchip had been servicing for years without the MCP998x remote temperature sensor product category, such as automotive ethernet and PCIe.  Additionally, we have seen embedded PC and server type applications migrate into the vehicle systems. This is most immediately apparent in self-driving cars where there is almost a server in the back seat and ADAS where onboard computing is required.

Another less obvious detail regarding multichannel automotive temperature sensors is that they are generally accurate for 1°C up to 85°C. However, above 85°C and up to 125°C, the accuracy between vendors is not as good. For example, the leading vendor in remote temperature sensors is only 3°C accurate between 85°C and 100°C.  This vendor further degrades in accuracy to only 5°C accurate beyond that point. Fortunately, the MCP998x has superior results above 85°C when compared to these other vendors.

Outside of the Microchip trend for more automotive content, we have a trend for more software related systems in the vehicle. These systems, much of which can receive updates over the air, have increased the caution regarding anything that can be overwritten surreptitiously. For this reason, half of the MCP998x family of devices includes resistor setpoints that ensure alerts occur associated with any overheating events. 

Sorely Needed AEC-Q100 Multichannel Temperature Measurement Solutions

The MCP998x represensts a new automotive multichannel temperature sensor supplier to a corporate supplier base that has been shrinking. In the temperature sensing segment, ADI purchased Linear and Maxim and similarly On Semi purchased Catalyst.

With the MCP998x family release, Microchip has launched 10 new devices that can measure 2, 3, 4 and 5 temperature channels, becoming one of the largest suppliers of AEC-Q100 multichannel temperature sensors. As previously mentioned, there are several applications that can take advantage of measuring thermal packed close together including HVAC, infotainment and ADAS. In fact, it is not unheard of to need monitoring for the growing LCD screens in today’s vehicles.

Better Accuracy Where It Counts!

All vendors of AEC-Q100 digital temperature sensors will be quick to tell you that they are 1°C accurate. Microchip is not different in that respect, but it is important to understand the range of operation and where the accuracy does not keep to the 1°C expectation.

For the Microchip MCP998x, the family will maintain an accuracy of 2.5°C up to 125°C. This is not true for other leading vendors. For the leading vendor, outside of Microchip, they allow for 5°C accuracy at 125°C. This results in serious guardbanding, where temperature alerting is a requirement for the system to function properly.

Protection From Tampering

With the advent of software updates, added caution surrounds what changes are accessible during updates. With the automotive industry, this update feature undergoes even more scrutiny. As a result, half of the MCP998x has added resistor setpoints for thermal shutdown programming. By implementing a resistor driven setpoint, the MCP998xD devices cannot have their critical shutdown temperatures manipulated by software updates.

Want More?

In summary, Microchip has brought additional options, flexibility and security to the tool kit of the automotive electronics engineer with 10 new devices that stay more accurate up to 125°C, while also providing 1°C accuracy up to 85°C.

For more information on this family of flexible multichannel temperature sensors, visit our MCP998x data sheet.  Here you will find a complete description of the family of devices and links to any specific device of interest.

Mitch Polonsky, Jan 25, 2024

Tags/Keywords: Automotive and Transportation, Industrial and IoT

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