SerDes chipset uses coax cables to cut car connectivity costs by half

September 24, 2012 // By Nick Flaherty
Maxim Integrated has launched two high-speed serialization/deserialization (SerDes) chipsets that significantly lower the costs for automotive camera systems by operating over standard coax cables.

The MAX9273/MAX9272 (22 bits) and MAX9271/MAX9272 (16 bits) chipsets do not need the extra wires of an Ethernet setup to power a camera and with today's high-end automotive camera systems often using multiple cameras and cables, this coax solution represents a 50% reduction in cable and connectivity costs compared to current standard twisted-pair (STP) solutions.
Maxim's new camera chipsets operate at very high data rates (1.5Gbps), which is critical for today's fast video and megapixel image transmissions. Using coax cables, the chipsets do not need to compress data and thus process images immediately—a crucial requirement for safety applications like sign recognition, collision avoidance, and night vision. In comparison, Ethernet-based solutions require data compression, which requires external components, resulting in higher costs, power consumption, and power dissipation. The chipsets' reduced power consumption, from both the elimination of external components and low 75mA supply current, helps to prevent camera heat sensitivity issues. Finally, the coax cables on the chipsets are more robust than Ethernet cables; they provide better shielding, which reduces emissions and interference. Compared to solutions using Ethernet cables, the end result now is a cleaner, crisp image from the camera.
The 1.5Gbps serial data rate ensures high image quality while the 75mA power consumption allows plastic encapsulation of camera.
"The market for automotive park assist cameras is forecast to grow at a significant double digit rate over the coming years. Safety is the main factor driving demand, however, the increasing use of large, color displays within vehicles is also an enabler. IHS Automotive forecasts global demand for park assist cameras to exceed 11 million units in 2013," said Helena Perslow, senior Analyst for IHS Automotive
The MAX9271 available in a 32-pin TQFN (5mm x 5mm); MAX9272 available in 48-pin TQFN (7mm x 7mm); MAX9273 available in 40-TQFN (6mm x 6mm) and are specified over the -40°C to +105°C temperature range for rugged environments. The MAX9271 is $3.74; MAX9272 is $3.96; MAX9273