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High sensitivity reduces system costs

23 June 2014

Honeywell has introduced the industry’s first Nanopower Anisotropic Magnetoresistive Sensor ICs that provide the highest level of magnetic sensitivity while requiring nanopower.

According to James McKenna, product director electronic sensing, EMEA Honeywell Sensing and Control, the SM351LT and SM353LT – which feature very low current draw of 360nA and 310nA typical, respectively – represent a 'game changer 'in the field of magnetoresistive sensors and have the potential to render reed switches virtually obsolete in some applications.

Compared to other widely used magnetic technologies, these sensors offer design engineers a number of advantages, enabling them to realise applications that were not previously possible, as well as reduce system costs.

Smaller and more durable and reliable than reed switches, at the same sensitivity and essentially the same cost, the new Nanopower Series Magnetoresistive Sensor ICs are ideal for battery powered applications where previously only reed switches could be used due to very low power requirements and large air gap needs.

Higher sensitivity improves design flexibility

Compared with Hall-effect sensors, the new Nanopower Series Magnetoresistive Sensor ICs’ higher sensitivity can allow the ability to sense air gaps two times the distance of Hall-effect sensors. The higher sensitivity improves design flexibility and can offer significant application cost savings by utilising smaller or lower strength magnets.

The Nanopower Series Magnetoresistive Sensor ICs are designed for use in a wide range of battery-operated applications including water and gas meters, electricity meters, industrial smoke detectors, exercise equipment, security systems, handheld computers, scanners, as well as white goods such as dishwashers, microwaves, washing machines, refrigerators and coffee machines, and medical equipment such as hospital beds, medication dispensing cabinets, infusion pumps, and consumer electronics such as notebook computers, tablets, and cordless speakers.

Unlike many of its competitors, Honeywell tends to move away from products that have become commodified, preferring instead to operate in markets where technology is valued, with particular focus on energy, safety and security. In line with this philosophy, the Nanopower series is not simply a 'me too' product, but a genuinely new development that offers a combination of low power consumption, small size and high level of sensitivity, which, according to Honeywell 'leap frogs' existing technology and products on the market.

"Due to the significant price increases for rare earth magnets, design engineers using Hall-effect sensors have been looking for ways to decrease the total cost of design by using less magnetic material, or moving to a more common magnet in their applications,” said Josh Edberg, senior product marketing manager for Honeywell Sensing and Control. "Design engineers are also looking for an alternative to reed switches to reduce size and increase quality and durability, while maximizing battery life. Honeywell’s new Nanopower Series Magnetoresistive Sensor ICs are ideal for these battery powered applications due to their high sensitivity and nanopower.”

The Nanopower Series is available in two magnetic sensitivities:

  • Ultra-high sensitivity SM351LT: 7 Gauss typical operate, 11 Gauss maximum operate, 
very low current draw (360 nA typical)
  • Very high sensitivity SM353LT: 14 Gauss typical operate, 20 Gauss maximum operate, 
very low current draw (310 nA typical)

Omnipolarity allows the sensor to be activated by either a north or south pole, eliminating the 
need for the magnet polarity to be identified, simplifying installation and potentially reducing system cost. The push-pull (CMOS) output does not require external resistors, making it easier and more cost-effective to operate. The non-chopper stabilised design eliminates electrical noise generated by the sensor. The subminiature SOT-23 surface mount package, supplied on tape and reel (3000 units per reel), is smaller than most reed switches, allowing for use in automated pick- and-place component installation and can reduce production costs. 


Key Points

  • Nanopower Series Magnetoresistive Sensor ICs are ideal for battery powered applications where previously only reed switches could be used
  • Omnipolarity allows the sensor to be activated by either a north or south pole, eliminating the 
need for the magnet polarity to be identified
  • Push-pull (CMOS) output does not require external resistors, making it easier and more cost-effective to operate

   
 
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