Level Translators

Technical Documentation

The portfolio of Level Translators from onsemi includes a wide variety of single and multichannel voltage level translators with CMOS, TTL, or LVTTL input levels that enable the proper operation between buses with different supply voltages. The ideal performance characteristics of the high speed, low power level translators include flexible voltage supply operating range, live insertion and withdrawal support, low static and dynamic power consumption, power down high impedance inputs and output, and patented noise and EMI reduction circuitry. The portfolio also includes AEC-Q101 Qualified and PPAP Capable options specifically engineered and qualified for automotive industry applications.

What Does a Level Shifter Do?

Level shifters are also referred to as voltage-level translators or logic-level shifters. This device is used to translate signals from a voltage domain or logic level to another to check for the compatibility of integrated circuits with different voltage requirements. In most cases, the circuit is used to translate shifts between 5V and 3.3V; however, you can use it on other voltages as needed. When using a level shifter, you need to consider the following factors:

  • What voltages are available
  • How much the shift may introduce a time delay
  • If the shift is unidirectional or bidirectional

Hardware Implementation of Level Shifters

Level shifters have numerous implementations in digital electronics. This circuit is used in systems to bridge domains between sensors, logic, processors, and other circuits. However, when it comes to hardware implementation, there are two main uses:

  1. Configurable mixed-signal ICs – A voltage level translator can be implemented in CMICs. This is mainly because of the no-code programmable nature of CMICs that also makes it easy to implement a customizable logic-level shifter. This feature also allows designers to include timing adjustments or integrated configurable logic within the device.
  2. Fixed function level shifter ICs – Designers use these ICs to provide different types of level shifters in a fixed-function device. They are often designed in 2-bit, 4-bit, and 8-bit configurations with various VDD1 and VDD2 ranges. These shifters are able to translate logic levels without the help of a timing adjustment or an integrated logic.

Application of Level Shifters

Level shifters have numerous applications across several industries. Their ability to resolve the voltage incompatibility between different parts of a system makes them an invaluable component in a digital device. These circuits are mostly used in interfacing legacy devices with varied applications in audio codecs, UARTs, SIM cards, SD cards, and CF cards.

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