Remote tuner solution supports radio standards for automotive applications

Using the remote tuner solution from Maxim Integrated Products, designers can now simplify the head unit design of a vehicle and reduce cables. The MAX2175 RF to Bits tuner within the solution eliminates the need to rework the vehicle’s hardware to support worldwide radio standards, allowing updates by changing the vehicle’s software.

Traditional radio architecture brings many challenges to vehicle designers. The vehicle’s complex head unit must accommodate multiple tuners, manage heat dissipation and receive multiple cables from the antennas. In addition, the received analogue signals pick up noise as they travel from the antenna to the head unit of the vehicle. Baseband processing uses single purpose hardware that requires separate designs to support multiple worldwide radio standards.

In this remote tuner solution, the RF to Bits tuners are now located in a quieter environment close to the antenna to minimise noise. Meanwhile, the digital outputs of the tuners are serialised using Maxim’s gigabit multimedia serial link (GMSL) serialiser and deserialiser (SerDes) onto a single low-cost coax cable.

Power for the remote tuner solution delivered on this single cable is said to improve radio performance and reduce the weight of the vehicle to provide better mileage. Removing all tuners from the head unit saves space and reduces system complexity and heat dissipation in the head unit. In a 4-channel radio, for example, 4W of power can be removed from the head unit. In addition, the MAX2175 allows the baseband processing to be carried out by software on an automotive System-on-Chip (SoC), such as the Renesas Electronics R-Car H3 SoC. This software defined radio (SDR) approach enables flexible implementations by eliminating the need for a dedicated baseband processor. By changing the software, any worldwide radio standard can be supported using the MAX2175.  

Rather than having to redesign the head unit, designers can now optimise a single remote radio tuner architecture that scales to different use cases by managing the number of remote tuners. Replacing multiple tuners with a deserialiser connected to the SoC reduces system complexity, space, and heat dissipation in the head unit.

Tuners are brought closer to the antenna and digital rather than analogue signals are used for a clearer signal. A reduced number of cables reduces the weight of the cable harness.

Available in a 48-pin 7mm x 7mm TQFN package with a -40°C to +85-degree Celsius temperature range, Maxim’s Remote Tuner Solution includes the following Maxim products: MAX2175 analog/digital hybrid radio receiver with RF to Bits front-end, MAX96708 14-bit GMSL deserialiser, MAX96711 14-bit GMSL serialiser, MAX15027 1A, low-dropout linear regulator and MAX20002 36V, 2A, synchronous buck converter.

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