Silicon Labs adds software-defined radio tech to Si479xx automotive tuners

Hybrid software-defined radio (SDR) tuners have been added by Silicon Labs, to meet automotive radio manufacturers’ need to support all global digital radio standards with a common platform. The Si479x7 devices are Silicon Labs’ first automotive radio tuners supporting the Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) standard. They extend Silicon Labs’ Global Eagle and Dual Eagle AM/FM receivers and digital radio tuners.

Silicon Labs is also enhancing its Si4790x/1x/2x/5x/6x automotive tuners with ‘SDR-friendly’ technology, effectively transforming these devices into hybrid SDR tuners. The hybrid SDR technology includes DSP-based automotive features such as maximal ratio combining (MRC), digital automatic gain control (AGC), digital radio fast detect and dynamic zero-IF (ZIF) I/Q. As a result, automotive radio manufacturers can support global digital radio standards with a common radio hardware and software design. This added flexibility helps OEM and Tier 1 customers reduce design, qualification, sourcing and inventory costs and supporting multiple automotive radio platforms.

Silicon Labs’ automotive tuner portfolio includes integrated single and dual device options with what is claimed to be best-in-class AM/FM receiver performance. The tuners support all broadcast radio bands including AM, FM, LW, SW, weather band, HD radio, digital audio broadcasting (DAB) (Band III) and DRM.

The tuners are built on Silicon Labs’ RF CMOS technology and the mixed-signal, low-IF RF CMOS design is claimed to provide “excellent sensitivity in weak signal environments and superb selectivity and intermodulation immunity in strong signal environments”.

The DRM standard offers a digital replacement for current analogue radio standards operating in the AM and FM/VHF bands. It supports two frequency bands, namely DRM30, operating up to 30MHz, and DRM+, operating up to 300MHz. DRM30 is prevalent in India; DRM+ trials are underway in Russia and South Africa. HD Radio and DAB are predominant standards in the US and Europe respectively.

Samples and production quantities of the Si479x7 DRM hybrid SDR tuners are available now. Single DRM hybrid SDR tuners are available in a 48-pin, 7.0 x 7.0mm QFN package fitting a board area of less than 55mm2.

Dual DRM tuners are offered in a 56-pin, 8.0 x 8.0mm QFN package on a board area of less than 79mm2.

Evaluation kits for designs based on Global Eagle and Dual Eagle tuners are available.

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