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14.5: Parte Quattro – Using a DAC IC

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    The R-2R ladder network is certainly workable for this application. It is by no means highly accurate. If higher bit resolutions are desired, the accumulated error from resistor tolerance variation and port pin voltage variation could be significantly greater than the LSB. Also, for proper operation the ladder must be only very lightly loaded. It would be much better if we could isolate the output from the load and increase the system accuracy. These goals can be achieved with only modest rewiring through the use a simple parallel input DAC feeding an op amp buffer. A good example is the DAC0808. A datasheet may be found here:

    The DAC0808 is an 8 bit parallel input DAC with current mode output. It requires minimal external circuitry. The eight output pins from the microcontroller are connected directly to the DAC’s eight input pins (in our case, the entire R-2R network may be removed). As the DAC uses a current mode output, it is common to use an op amp in the current-to-voltage transducer mode (current controlled voltage source) to produce a stable output voltage. A good example can be found on the data sheet listed as “Typical Application”. The LF351 op amp may be substituted with the newer LF411. Also, note that the required power supply connections to the op amp are not shown and an output coupling capacitor may be needed if the output DC offset is to be avoided. Wire up this variation and test it. Also, set the output frequency to 390 Hz using a sine wave and measure the residual THD. Compare the result to the THD measured with R-2R network earlier.

    This page titled 14.5: Parte Quattro – Using a DAC IC is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by James M. Fiore via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.