You Are Here: Home » Blog » News » CATALYST SEMICONDUCTOR CONTINUES DIVERSIFICATION with NEW DIGITAL POTENTIOMETER ICs * 64-Tap Dual and Quad Devices * SPI Serial Interface


Sunnyvale, Calif. (PRWEB) January 12, 2003

Catalyst Semiconductor (Nasdaq: CATS) today announced two new Digitally Programmable Potentiometers DPP™). The quad CAT5401 and dual CAT5411 are 64-tap, nonvolatile digital potentiometers that are controlled over an SPI™ serial bus interface. Separate nonvolatile memory data

registers store each digital potentiometer’s wiper position and each digital potentiometer is individually adjustable. Each DPP is capable of 1 million nonvolatile write cycles and will retain data for 100 years.

The CAT5401 and CAT5411 are offered with 2.5 kohm, 10 kohm, 50 kohm and 100 kohm end-to-end resistance options. Wiper settings are automatically recalled during power-up. Wiper resistance has been minimized to just

300 ohms maximum with a 3 volt power supply and 150 ohms maximum with a 5 volt supply. This represents a significant three-fold improvement over competitive devices. Typical wiper resistance is 50 ohms.

Power requirement is minimal with a 1 microampere maximum standby current drain. The devices operate with

a single supply over a range of 2.5 volts to 6.0 volts.

“Nonvolatile DPP solutions allow wiper position to be stored during power off and the industry standard SPI interface make computer controlled system adjustments easy and fast,” said Catalyst Product Marketing Manager Gary Craig. “Catalyst has introduced nearly a dozen different DPP solutions over the last 2 years that

are based on our proven nonvolatile EEPROM memory technology. The CAT5401 and CAT5411 feature a lower wiper resistance than competitive devices. Digitally programmable potentiometers can be used to bias

laser diodes in fiber optic transceiver modules, bias RF amplifiers, adjust display brightness and contrast, adjust sensors and trim power supply voltages.”

Price, Packages and Availability


The quad CAT5401 and dual CAT5411 digital potentiometers are available in 24-lead SOIC and 24-lead TSSOP packages. Lead-free, halogen-free “Green” SOIC and TSSOP packages are also available. Ball grid array packages will be offered in the second quarter of 2003. Commercial, 0 degree centigrade to 70 degree

centigrade, and industrial, -40 degree centigrade to 85 degree centigrade, temperature range devices are offered. Prices start at $ 1.25 in 1,000 piece quantities. Devices are available for sampling now with production volume cheduled for the second quarter of 2003.

Data sheets are available at

DPP Advantages over Mechanical Potentiometers


For decades, Trimpots® and other mechanical potentiometers have been universally employed in electronic

circuitry. They are used in millions of electronic products, for every conceivable application. Yet, until quite

recently, electronic potentiometers were not sufficiently cost-competitive to be considered a viable alternative.

However, with improved productivity and yields from Catalyst’s sub-micron CMOS manufacturing processes, electronic potentiometers are now cost-competitive with mechanical potentiometers and, for many applications, actually provide a lower total system cost.

Digitally programmable potentiometers offer many benefits for both the design and manufacturing engineer. They have better settability, drift specifications and cycle-life specifications than mechanical potentiometers. They fit into smaller spaces with multiple potentiometers possible in a single package. They provide superior tracking between multiple potentiometers. It is easier to change a setting with electronic potentiometers and accurately change it back. Using industry standard IC packages, they are machine-insertable and offer far better resilience to contaminants encountered in a manufacturing environment.

DPP Applications


Potential applications include optical networking, telecommunications, instrumentation, white goods and power

supplies, power meters, temperature controllers, smart instruments, personal communication devices, white

goods, office equipment, automatic test equipment, Internet appliances, cell phones, industrial process

controllers and communication systems.

About Catalyst Semiconductor


Founded in 1985, Catalyst Semiconductor, Inc. is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California. The Company is a

developer and marketer of programmable products used in telecommunications, networking systems,

computation, automotive, industrial and consumer markets. The Company designs and markets a broad range

of programmable products including Flash Memories, Parallel and Serial EEPROMs with I2C, SPI and Microwire

interfaces, NVRAMs, Digitally Programmable Potentiometers, Microcontroller Supervisory circuits and other

programmable Mixed Signal products. Typical applications for the Company’s products include optical networks,

modems, wireless LANs, network cards, PC BIOS, DIMM modules, cellular telephones, digital satellite box

receivers, set-top boxes and Internet routers. Catalyst’s Quality Management System is ISO 9001 certified.

Additional information about Catalyst Semiconductor is available on the Company’s web site at

Except for those statements that report the Company’s historical results, the statements being made are

forward-looking statements. Actual results could differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking

statements. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from

those in the forward-looking statements is contained under the heading “Certain Factors That May Affect the

Company’s Future Results of Operations” listed from time to time in Catalyst’s SEC reports including but not

limited to the report on Form 10-K for the year ended April 30, 2002, and to the reports on Form 10-Q for the

quarters ended July 31, 2002, and October 31, 2002.

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