SLAS476H March   2006  – June 2017 DAC8550


  1. Features
  2. Applications
  3. Description
  4. Revision History
  5. Pin Configuration and Functions
  6. Specifications
    1. 6.1 Absolute Maximum Ratings
    2. 6.2 ESD Ratings
    3. 6.3 Recommended Operating Conditions
    4. 6.4 Thermal Information
    5. 6.5 Electrical Characteristics
    6. 6.6 Timing Characteristics
    7. 6.7 Typical Characteristics
      1. 6.7.1 VDD = 5 V
      2. 6.7.2 VDD = 2.7 V
  7. Detailed Description
    1. 7.1 Overview
    2. 7.2 Functional Block Diagram
    3. 7.3 Feature Description
      1. 7.3.1 DAC Section
        1. Resistor String
        2. Output Amplifier
      2. 7.3.2 Power-On Reset
    4. 7.4 Device Functional Modes
      1. 7.4.1 Power-Down Modes
    5. 7.5 Programming
      1. 7.5.1 Serial Interface
      2. 7.5.2 Input Shift Register
      3. 7.5.3 SYNC Interrupt
  8. Application and Implementation
    1. 8.1 Application Information
      1. 8.1.1 Bipolar Operation Using DAC8550
    2. 8.2 Typical Applications
      1. 8.2.1 Loop-Powered 2-Wire 4-mA to 20-mA Transmitter With XTR116
        1. Design Requirements
        2. Detailed Design Procedure
        3. Application Curves
      2. 8.2.2 Using REF02 as a Power Supply for DAC8550
        1. Design Requirements
        2. Detailed Design Procedure
    3. 8.3 System Examples
      1. 8.3.1 Microprocessor Interfacing
        1. DAC8550 to 8051 Interface
        2. DAC8550 to Microwire Interface
        3. DAC8550 to 68HC11 Interface
  9. Power Supply Recommendations
  10. 10Layout
    1. 10.1 Layout Guidelines
    2. 10.2 Layout Example
  11. 11Device and Documentation Support
    1. 11.1 Documentation Support
      1. 11.1.1 Related Documentation
    2. 11.2 Receiving Notification of Documentation Updates
    3. 11.3 Community Resources
    4. 11.4 Trademarks
    5. 11.5 Electrostatic Discharge Caution
    6. 11.6 Glossary
  12. 12Mechanical, Packaging, and Orderable Information

Package Options

Mechanical Data (Package|Pins)
Thermal pad, mechanical data (Package|Pins)
Orderable Information

Detailed Description


The DAC8550 is a small, low-power, voltage output, single-channel, 16-bit DAC. The device is monotonic by design, provides excellent linearity, and minimizes undesired code-to-code transient voltages. The DAC8550 uses a versatile, three-wire serial interface that operates at clock rates of up to 30 MHz and is compatible with standard SPI, QSPI, Microwire, and digital signal processor (DSP) interfaces.

Functional Block Diagram

DAC8550 fbd_las476.gif

Feature Description

DAC Section

The architecture of the DAC8850 consists of a string DAC followed by an output buffer amplifier. Figure 46 shows the block diagram of the DAC architecture.

DAC8550 too_arch_las476.gif Figure 46. DAC8550 Architecture

The input coding to the DAC8550 is 2's complement, so the ideal output voltage is given by Equation 1.

Equation 1. DAC8550 q1_las476.gif


  • D = decimal equivalent of the 2's complement code that is loaded to the DAC register

In Equation 1, D ranges from –32768 to 32767 where D = 0 is centered at VREF / 2.

Resistor String

The resistor string section is shown in Figure 47. It is simply a string of resistors, each of value R. The code loaded into the DAC register determines at which node on the string the voltage is tapped off to be fed into the output amplifier by closing one of the switches connecting the string to the amplifier. Monotonicity is ensured because of the string resistor architecture.

Output Amplifier

The output buffer amplifier is capable of generating rail-to-rail output voltages with a range of 0 V to VDD. It is capable of driving a load of 2 kΩ in parallel with 1000 pF to GND. The source and sink capabilities of the output amplifier can be seen in the Typical Characteristics. The slew rate is 1.8 V/μs with a full-scale setting time of 8 μs with the output unloaded.

The inverting input of the output amplifier is brought out to the VFB pin. This architecture allows for better accuracy in critical applications by tying the VFB point and the amplifier output together directly at the load. Other signal conditioning circuitry may also be connected between these points for specific applications.

DAC8550 too_res_string_las476.gif Figure 47. Resistor String

Power-On Reset

The DAC8550 contains a power-on reset circuit that controls the output voltage during power-up. On power-up, the output voltages are set to midscale; they remain that way until a valid write sequence is made to the DAC. The power-on reset is useful in applications where it is important to know the state of the output of the DAC while it is in the process of powering up.

Device Functional Modes

Power-Down Modes

The DAC8550 supports four separate modes of operation. These modes are programmable by setting two bits (PD1 and PD0) in the control register. Table 1 shows how the state of the bits corresponds to the mode of operation of the device.

Table 1. Operating Modes

0 0 Normal operation
Power-down modes
0 1 Output typically 1 kΩ to GND
1 0 Output typically 100 kΩ to GND
1 1 High-Z

When both bits are set to 0, the device works normally with a typical current consumption of 200 μA at 5 V. However, for the three power-down modes, the supply current falls to 200 nA at 5 V (50 nA at 3 V). Not only does the supply current fall, but the output stage is also internally switched from the output of the amplifier to a resistor network of known values. The advantage with this configuration is that the output impedance of the device is known while in power-down mode. There are three different options. The output is connected internally to GND through a 1-kΩ resistor, a 100-kΩ resistor, or it is left open-circuited (High-Z). The output stage is illustrated in Figure 48.

DAC8550 too_out_stage_las476.gif Figure 48. Output Stage During Power-Down

All analog circuitry is shut down when the power-down mode is activated. However, the contents of the DAC register are unaffected when in power-down. The time to exit power-down is typically 2.5 μs for VDD = 5 V, and 5 μs for VDD = 3 V. See the Typical Characteristics for more information.


Serial Interface

The DAC8550 has a 3-wire serial interface (SYNC, SCLK, and DIN), which is compatible with SPI, QSPI, and Microwire interface standards, as well as most DSP interfaces. See Figure 1 for an example of a typical write sequence.

The write sequence begins by bringing the SYNC line LOW. Data from the DIN line are clocked into the 24-bit shift register on each falling edge of SCLK. The serial clock frequency can be as high as 30 MHz, making the DAC8550 compatible with high-speed DSPs. On the 24th falling edge of the serial clock, the last data bit is clocked in and the programmed function is excuted (that is, a change in DAC register contents and/or a change in the mode of operation).

At this point, the SYNC line may be kept LOW or brought HIGH. In either case, it must be brought HIGH for a minimum of 33 ns before the next write sequence so that a falling edge of SYNC can initiate the next write sequence. Since the SYNC buffer draws more current when the SYNC signal is HIGH than it does when it is LOW, SYNC should be idled LOW between write sequences for lowest power operation of the part. As mentioned above, it must be brought HIGH again just before the next write sequence.

Input Shift Register

The input shift register is 24 bits wide, as shown in Figure 49. The first six bits are unused bits. The next two bits (PD1 and PD0) are control bits that control which mode of operation the part is in (normal mode or any one of three power-down modes). For a more complete description of the various modes see Power-Down Modes. The next 16 bits are the data bits. These bits are transferred to the DAC register on the 24th falling edge of SCLK.

23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0
Unused PD1 PD0 D15 D14 D13 D12 D11 D10 D9 D8 D7 D6 D5 D4 D3 D2 D1 D0
Figure 49. DAC8550 Data Input Register Format

SYNC Interrupt

In a normal write sequence, the SYNC line is kept LOW for at least 24 falling edges of SCLK and the DAC is updated on the 24th falling edge. However, if SYNC is brought HIGH before the 24th falling edge, it acts as an interrupt to the write sequence. The shift register is reset and the write sequence is seen as invalid. Neither an update of the DAC register contents nor a change in the operating mode occurs, as shown in Figure 50.

DAC8550 too_tim_sync_las476.gif Figure 50. SYNC Interrupt Facility