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E-Blocks 8kByte serial FRAM, D/A and Amplifier Board US$90.95

E-Blocks 8kByte serial FRAM, D/A and Amplifier Board

This is a downstream E-blocks peripheral module, designed to be controlled by one of the upstream E-blocks processing boards which are available in a variety of MCU/CPLD architectures.

SPI interface D/A Converter with Amplifier and 8kByte FRAM memory board for E-blocks system

This E-block contains a SPI interface 8kByte serial FRAM (ferro-electric random access memory) and 8-bit digital-to-analog (D/A) converter. An on-board amplifier can be connected to the D/A output or an off-board audio source to drive a loudspeaker or headphones.

FRAM and D/A Board Features

Refer to image above

  • 1 -- 9-pin Sub-D downstream connector, used to connect this board to an E-blocks processing module
  • 2 -- Solder Patch system, used to adapt this board for use with non-PIC based processing modules
  • 3 -- SDO, SDI & SCK mode selection jumper pins
  • 4 -- SPI Chip enable mode selection jumper pins
  • 5 -- SPI Serial MAX5385 D/A Converter
  • 6 -- SPI Serial 8kBytes FM25640B FRAM
  • 7 -- +5V power supply screw terminals
  • 8 -- D/A Output
  • 9 -- Amplifier selection jumper pins
  • 10 -- Amplifier output screw terminal
  • 11 -- Headphone socket
  • 12 -- Volume control for amplifier
  • 13 -- EPROM/FRAM jumper
  • 14 -- EPROM socket

The board has been designed to be configurable for use with many different PIC microcontroller devices on E-blocks processing modules. Jumper settings allow you to route the SPI signals SDO, SDI and SCK and chip-enable pins to the appropriate PIC microcontroller pins.

In addition, a solderable patch field gives you complete control of routing the SDO, SDI, SCK and chip-enable signals to any desired pin of the board's 9-pin SUB-D connector to accommodate non-PIC-based processing modules.

FM25640 FRAM Non-Volatile Memory (NVM)

The NVM that is used on this board is FRAM. The device is the FM25640 that uses the high-speed industry standard SPI interface. It is 64Kbit FRAM memory, organized into 8,192 x 8 bits. The memory is accessed using a total of four pins: data-in (SDI), data-out (SDO), clock (SCK) and chip select.

FRAMs read and write at bus speeds comparable to those of a high-speed RAM, but provide non-volatile storage like a conventional EEPROM or Flash. FRAM offers up to 25MHz NoDelay writes so, unlike EEPROM or Flash, no write delays are incurred. Also like high-speed RAM, FRAM supports an unlimited number of read or write cycles, whereas EEPROM wears out after approximately one million cycles. These benefits allow FRAM to perform the functions of RAM and non-volatile memory technologies in a single chip.

MAX5385 Digital to Analog Converter (DAC)

The DAC is an 8-bit digital to analog converter with an SPI compatible serial interface. The MAX5385 offers full 8-bit performance with less than 1 LSB integral / differential non-linearity error. The MAX5385 has a full-scale output voltage of (0.9 x VDD 1LSB) with an output buffer of unity gain. Screw terminal J9 allows direct access to the output of the DAC.


The board features a current amplifier circuit that can be used for audio applications. Screw terminal J10 allows direct access to the amplifier output. The amplifier's input can either be connected directly to the DAC output or alternatively to an external audio source via jumper J9.

The amplifier can be used to drive headphones via the on-board headphone socket J8. The volume of the output can be adjusted using the volume control potentiometer RV1. The amplifier circuit can also be used to drive loudspeakers with a load impedance down to 8 Ohms.

E-Blocks Overview

E-Blocks are small circuit boards each of which contains a block of electronics that you would typically find in an electronic system. Each E-Block performs a separate function as either an input sub-system, an output sub-system, an input/output sub-system or a processing sub-system.

E-Blocks can be put together to form a variety of systems that can be used for teaching and learning electronics, and for the rapid prototyping of complex electronic systems.

Each E-Block has one or more 9-way D-type connectors that provide up to eight input/output lines and a ground line. These D-type connectors allow connection between E-Blocks to be made in buses of multiples of 8 lines, just like a real electronic system. Power is routed separately to those E-Blocks that need it.

Processing E-Blocks based on PIC, dsPIC, ARM or AVR microcontrollers control the whole E-Blocks system. Processing E-Blocks provide up to five input/output ports with up to eight lines per port.

Please see the E-Blocks Category for a list of available components. For more details on E-Blocks, see the E-Blocks User Guide (in English, French, German and Spanish) or watch the Introduction to E-Blocks video.

E-Blocks SPI FRAM and D/A Module Resources

Optional Recommended Products for this Item
9-pin Sub-D Female to Male Cable, 12cm+ US$6.00

This product was added to our catalog on Tuesday 05 October, 2004.


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