Analog-to-Digital Conversion

May 14th, 2015
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Connecting digital circuitry to sensor devices is simple if the sensor devices are inherently digital themselves. Switches, relays, and encoders are easily interfaced with gate circuits due to the on/off nature of their signals.

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Adcs 1Analog-to-Digital ConversionCurtis A. NelsonEngr355IntroductionConnecting digital circuitry to sensor devices issimple if the sensor devices are inherently digitalthemselves. Switches, relays, and encoders areeasily interfaced with gate circuits due to the on/offnature of their signals. However, when analogdevices are involved, interfacing becomes muchmore complex. What is needed is a way toelectronically translate analog signals into digital(binary) quantities, and vice versa. An analog-todigital converter, or ADC, performs the former task while a digital-to-analog converter, or DAC, performsthe latter.1ADC ConverterAn ADC inputs an analog electrical signal such asvoltage or current and outputs a binary number. Inblock diagram form, it can be represented like this:Flash ADCAlso called the parallel A/Dconverter, this circuit is thesimplest to understand. It isformed of a series of comparators,each one comparing the inputsignal to a unique referencevoltage. The comparator outputsconnect to the inputs of a priorityencoder circuit, which thenproduces a binary output. Thefollowing illustration shows a 3-bitflash ADC circuit:2Flash ADCV is a stable reference voltage provided by a precision voltage regulator as part of the converter circuit, not shown in the schematic. As the analog input voltage exceeds the reference voltage at each comparator, the comparator outputs will sequentially saturate to a high state. The priority enco

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