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Learn How to Use Windows Serial Downloader for Microconverters in 4 Easy Steps



Analog Devices Microconverter Windows Serial Downloader: A Guide for Beginners




If you are working with Microconverters, which are precision analog microcontrollers from Analog Devices, you might need a simple and reliable way to program them. One of the tools that can help you with this task is the Windows Serial Downloader, which is a software program that allows you to serially download standard Intel HEX files to the Microconverter via the serial port. In this article, we will explain what Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader are, how to use them, and some tips and tricks for getting the best results.




analog devices microconverter windows serial downloader


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What is a Microconverter?




Definition and features of Microconverters




A Microconverter is a type of microcontroller that integrates high-performance analog components, such as analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), digital-to-analog converters (DACs), amplifiers, comparators, voltage references, and temperature sensors, with a core processor, memory, timers, serial interfaces, and other peripherals. Microconverters are designed to provide accurate and efficient data acquisition and control for various applications, such as industrial automation, medical devices, smart sensors, instrumentation, and communication systems.


Some of the features of Microconverters are:



  • They offer high-resolution ADCs (up to 24 bits) and DACs (up to 16 bits) with fast conversion rates (up to 1 MSPS) and low power consumption (as low as 420 µA).



  • They support multiple analog input channels (up to 16) and output channels (up to 4) with flexible multiplexing and configuration options.



  • They have on-chip voltage references (up to 2.5 V) and temperature sensors (3C accuracy) that eliminate the need for external components.



  • They have programmable gain amplifiers (PGAs), comparators, and watchdog timers that enhance the analog functionality and performance.



  • They use either an ARM7 or an 8052 core processor with up to 62 kB of Flash/EE memory and up to 8 kB of SRAM memory.



  • They have various serial interfaces, such as UART, SPI, I2C, CAN, LIN, USB, and IrDA, that enable easy communication with other devices.



  • They have on-chip download/debug kernel that allows in-circuit serial programming (ICSP) and debugging via the serial port or JTAG.



  • They operate from a single supply voltage (from 2.7 V to 5.5 V) and have a wide temperature range (from 40C to +125C).



Applications and benefits of Microconverters




Microconverters are suitable for applications that require high-precision analog data acquisition and control in a small form factor and low power budget. Some of the applications that can benefit from using Microconverters are:



  • Industrial automation: Microconverters can be used for process control, data logging, motor control, sensor interfacing, signal conditioning, and fault detection in various industrial systems.



  • Medical devices: Microconverters can be used for vital signs monitoring, blood glucose measurement, electrocardiography (ECG), pulse oximetry, and other medical applications that require accurate and reliable analog measurements.



  • Smart sensors: Microconverters can be used for environmental monitoring, gas detection, vibration analysis, acoustic sensing, and other applications that involve smart sensors that can process and communicate analog signals.



  • Instrumentation: Microconverters can be used for test and measurement equipment, such as digital multimeters, oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, and power meters, that require high-performance analog conversion and processing.



  • Communication systems: Microconverters can be used for wireless communication, such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, Wi-Fi, and RFID, that require analog modulation and demodulation of signals.



Some of the benefits of using Microconverters are:



  • They reduce the system cost and complexity by integrating multiple analog components into a single chip.



  • They improve the system performance and accuracy by providing high-resolution and low-noise analog conversion and processing.



  • They increase the system flexibility and scalability by supporting various analog input/output configurations and serial interfaces.



  • They save the system power and space by operating from a single supply voltage and having a small package size.



What is a Windows Serial Downloader?




Definition and function of Windows Serial Downloader




A Windows Serial Downloader is a software program that allows you to serially download standard Intel HEX files to the Microconverter via the serial port. It is provided by Analog Devices as a free tool that can be downloaded from their website. The Windows Serial Downloader can be used to program the Flash/EE memory of the Microconverter with the application code or to update the firmware of the Microconverter. It can also be used to verify the download and to erase the memory of the Microconverter.


Requirements and compatibility of Windows Serial Downloader




To use the Windows Serial Downloader, you need the following requirements:



  • A PC running Windows 98/2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10 operating system.



  • A serial port (COM1 to COM9) on the PC or a USB-to-serial adapter.



  • A serial cable (RS-232 or TTL) that connects the PC to the Microconverter.



  • A power supply (2.7 V to 5.5 V) that powers the Microconverter.



  • A HEX file that contains the code or data to be downloaded to the Microconverter.



The Windows Serial Downloader is compatible with the following Microconverters from Analog Devices:



Microconverter FamilyPart Number


ADuC7xxxADuC7019/20/21/22/24/25/26/27/28/29/30/31/32/33/34/35


ADuC8xxADuC831/832/834/836/837/841/842/843


ADuC702xADuC7020/21/22/23/24/25/26/27


ADuC703xADuC7030/31/32


ADuC706xADuC7060/61


ADuC712xADuC7121/22


ADuC715xADuC7150/51


ADuC71xxADuC7124/25/26/27; ADuC7128; ADuC7129; ADuC7130; ADuC7131; ADuC7132; ADuC7133; ADuC7134; ADuC7135; ADuC7136; ADuC7137; ADuC7138; ADUC7140; ADUC7141; ADUC7142; ADUC7144; ADUC7146; ADUC7148; ADUC7150; ADUC7151; ADUC7152; ADUC7154; ADUC7156; ADUC7160; ADUC7162; ADUC7164; ADUC7166;


ADuCM36xAD CM360/361/362/363


How to use Windows Serial Downloader for Microconverters?




Step 1: Install the software and connect the hardware




The first step is to install the Windows Serial Downloader software on your PC. You can download it from the Analog Devices website or from the CD-ROM that comes with the Microconverter evaluation board. To install the software, simply run the setup file and follow the instructions on the screen. The software will create a shortcut on your desktop and a folder in your program files.


The next step is to connect the hardware. You need to connect the Microconverter to the PC via the serial port or the USB-to-serial adapter. You also need to connect the power supply to the Microconverter and turn it on. The Microconverter should have a jumper or a switch that enables the serial download mode. Refer to the datasheet or the user guide of your Microconverter for more details on how to connect and configure the hardware.


Step 2: Select the COM port and the HEX file




The second step is to select the COM port and the HEX file that you want to use for downloading. To do this, launch the Windows Serial Downloader software from your desktop or your program files. You will see a window like this:



In this window, you need to do the following:



  • Select the COM port that corresponds to your serial connection from the drop-down menu.



  • Click on the Browse button and locate the HEX file that contains the code or data that you want to download to the Microconverter.



  • Click on the Open button to load the HEX file into the software.



You can also change some of the settings of the software, such as the baud rate, the parity, and the timeout, by clicking on the Options button. However, it is recommended to use the default settings unless you have a specific reason to change them.


Step 3: Download the HEX file to the Microconverter




The third step is to download the HEX file to the Microconverter. To do this, simply click on the Download button and wait for the process to complete. You will see a progress bar and a status message that indicate the download progress and status. The download time will depend on the size of the HEX file and the baud rate of the serial connection. Typically, it takes a few seconds to a few minutes to download a HEX file to the Microconverter.


When the download is finished, you will see a message that says "Download Complete". You can also click on the Verify button to check if the download was successful and if the HEX file matches the memory of the Microconverter. If there is any mismatch or error, you will see a message that says "Verification Failed". In that case, you may need to repeat the download process or check your hardware and software settings.


Step 4: Verify the download and exit the program




The fourth step is to verify the download and exit the program. To do this, you can do one of the following:



  • Click on the Run button to execute the downloaded code or data on the Microconverter. This will reset the Microconverter and start running the application or firmware that you downloaded. You can use another software tool, such as a terminal emulator or a debugger, to communicate with the Microconverter and observe its behavior.



  • Click on the Erase button to erase the memory of the Microconverter. This will delete all the code or data that you downloaded to the Microconverter and restore it to its default state. You can use this option if you want to clear the memory of the Microconverter before downloading another HEX file or before returning or disposing of the Microconverter.



  • Click on the Exit button to close the Windows Serial Downloader software. This will terminate the serial connection and free up the COM port. You can use this option if you are done with downloading and verifying and you want to quit the program.



Tips and tricks for using Windows Serial Downloader for Microconverters




How to troubleshoot common errors and issues




Sometimes, you may encounter some errors or issues when using Windows Serial Downloader for Microconverters. Here are some of the common ones and how to fix them:



  • No COM port detected: This means that the software cannot find any serial port on your PC or any USB-to-serial adapter connected to your PC. To fix this, make sure that your serial port or USB-to-serial adapter is properly installed and configured on your PC. You may need to install or update the driver for your serial port or USB-to-serial adapter. You may also need to restart your PC or reconnect your serial port or USB-to-serial adapter.



  • No response from device: This means that the software cannot communicate with the Microconverter via the serial port. To fix this, make sure that your Microconverter is powered on and in serial download mode. You may need to check the jumper or switch settings on your Microconverter or evaluation board. You may also need to check the serial cable connection and the COM port settings on your PC and on the software.



  • Download failed: This means that the software cannot download the HEX file to the Microconverter successfully. To fix this, make sure that your HEX file is valid and compatible with your Microconverter. You may need to check the format and size of your HEX file and the memory map and configuration of your Microconverter. You may also need to check the power supply and the serial connection of your Microconverter.



  • Verification failed: This means that the software cannot verify that the downloaded HEX file matches the memory of the Microconverter. To fix this, make sure that your HEX file and your Microconverter are not corrupted or damaged. You may need to re-download or re-generate your HEX file or re-program or replace your Microconverter.



How to optimize the download speed and performance




If you want to download the HEX file to the Microconverter faster and more efficiently, you can try some of the following tips:



  • Use a higher baud rate for the serial connection. The Windows Serial Downloader software supports baud rates from 9600 bps to 115200 bps. The higher the baud rate, the faster the download speed. However, you need to make sure that your PC, your serial port or USB-to-serial adapter, and your Microconverter can support the baud rate that you choose.



  • Use a smaller HEX file for the download. The Windows Serial Downloader software supports HEX files up to 64 kB in size. The smaller the HEX file, the faster the download time. However, you need to make sure that your HEX file contains all the code or data that you need for your application or firmware.



  • Use a direct serial connection instead of a USB-to-serial adapter. The Windows Serial Downloader software supports both RS-232 and TTL serial connections. The direct serial connection is more reliable and stable than the USB-to-serial adapter, which may introduce some delays or errors in the communication.



How to secure the code and protect the Microconverter




If you want to secure the code and protect the Microconverter from unauthorized access or modification, you can try some of the following tips:



  • Use the security features of the Microconverter. Some Microconverters have built-in security features, such as code protection, code encryption, code signature, and code lock, that prevent unauthorized reading, writing, or erasing of the memory. Refer to the datasheet or the user guide of your Microconverter for more details on how to enable and use these features.



  • Use a secure serial connection. You can use a secure serial connection, such as RS-485 or AES-encrypted UART, that encrypts the data that is transmitted and received between the PC and the Microconverter. This can prevent eavesdropping or tampering of the data by third parties. You may need to use a special hardware or software module that supports the secure serial connection.



  • Use a password or a key for the download. You can use a password or a key that is required for downloading the HEX file to the Microconverter. This can prevent unauthorized access or modification of the code by unauthorized users. You may need to modify the HEX file or the Windows Serial Downloader software to include the password or the key.



Conclusion




In this article, we have explained what Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader are, how to use them, and some tips and tricks for getting the best results. We hope that this article has helped you to understand and appreciate these tools and how they can help you with your projects involving Microconverters. If you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to contact us or leave a comment below.


FAQs




Here are some of the frequently asked questions about Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader:



  • Where can I get Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader?



You can get Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader from Analog Devices website or from their authorized distributors. You can also get evaluation boards and kits that include Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader from Analog Devices website or from their authorized distributors.


  • How much do Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader cost?



The cost of Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader depends on various factors, such as the part number, the quantity, the package type, and the shipping method. You can check the price and availability of Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader on Analog Devices website or on their authorized distributors websites.


  • What are the alternatives to Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader?



There are other types of microcontrollers that integrate analog components, such as PIC microcontrollers from Microchip Technology, MSP430 microcontrollers from Texas Instruments, STM32 microcontrollers from STMicroelectronics, and Arduino boards from Arduino. There are also other tools that allow you to program microcontrollers via serial port, such as Flash Magic from Embedded Systems Academy, AVRDUDE from Atmel Corporation, and Arduino IDE from Arduino.


  • How can I learn more about Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader?



You can learn more about Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader by reading the datasheets, user guides, application notes, tutorials, videos, blogs, forums, and other resources that are available on Analog Devices website or on other websites. You can also contact Analog Devices technical support or customer service for more assistance.


  • How can I share my feedback or suggestions about Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader?



You can share your feedback or suggestions about Microconverters and Windows Serial Downloader by leaving a comment below this article or by contacting us via email or social media. We appreciate your input and we will try to improve our products and services based on your feedback or suggestions.


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