Differences Between Maxim's Advanced UART Devices

By:  Scott Lewis
Mar 24, 2011

Abstract: Maxim advanced universal asynchronous receivers/transmitters (UARTs) ease the burden of physical layer management in an asynchronous communications network. The devices include a single UART with two package options (MAX3107/MAX3108), a dual UART (MAX3109), and a quad UART (MAX14830).

These UARTs share a common register set, which eases the task of adapting firmware from one UART to another. This article discusses each UART's unique set of features. It also examines the care that must be taken when adapting software and hardware from one device to another.


Maxim's advanced universal asynchronous receivers/transmitters (UARTs) help the host processor manage the physical layer in an asynchronous communications network. These advanced devices include a single UART with two package options (MAX3107/MAX3108), a dual UART (MAX3109), and a quad UART (MAX14830).

Why So Many UARTs?

Maxim produces four similar types of advanced UARTs to serve the needs of a wide variety of applications, including mobile Internet devices, point-of-sale (POS) systems, and airplane communication buses. Table 1 compares the features of each UART. For a detailed description of features and other specifications common to a UART, see the associated device's data sheet.

Table 1. Comparison of Maxim's Advanced UART Features
Feature MAX3107 MAX3108 MAX3109 MAX14830
Number of UARTs 1 1 2 4
Package 24-pin SSOP/TQFN 25-pin WLP 32-pin TQFN 48-pin TQFN
Number of GPIOs 4 4 8 16
LED-driving capability for GPIOs  
Maximum I²C frequency (Hz) 400k 1M 1M 1M
Minimum width IrDA® pulses    
Automatic sleep control  
Manual sleep control  
Line noise indication 1x rate mode only 1x or 2x rate mode only 1x or 2x rate mode only 1x or 2x rate mode only
Automatic transmitter disable    
Tx synchronization    
Enhanced I²C addressing  
Basic register set (0x00–0x1E)
Extended register set (0x20–0x25)    
RevID register 0x1F N/A 0x25 0x25

Extended Registers and Serial Interface

Unlike the single UARTs, the dual and quad UARTs have registers 0x20 to 0x25. This extended register set provides advanced synchronization features and general-purpose I/O (GPIO) timer options.
The MAX3109 and MAX14830 have a separate register set for each on-chip UART. In order for the host to write to a specific UART's registers, each UART has its own I²C address. There are also two UART select bits (U1 and U0) in the SPI™ command word.

RevID Register

The RevID register is 0x1F for the MAX3107, and 0x25 for the MAX3109 and MAX14830. The MAX3108 does not have a RevID register. Therefore, the RevID register is not compatible among the devices. Do not poll RevID during startup to determine when the UART is ready for programming in order to ensure driver compatibility.


Maxim's advanced UARTs have registers that are compatible among the devices. This allows firmware that was used for one UART to be used with another, as long as only the unique features of the implemented device are utilized in software.

IrDA is a registered service mark of Infrared Data Association Corporation.

Related Parts
MAX14830 Quad Serial UART with 128-Word FIFOs  
MAX3107 SPI/I²C UART with 128-Word FIFOs Free Samples  
MAX3108 SPI/I²C UART with 128-Word FIFOs in WLP Free Samples  
MAX3109 Dual Serial UART with 128-Word FIFOs Free Samples  

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APP 4938: Mar 24, 2011
APPLICATION NOTE 4938, AN4938, AN 4938, APP4938, Appnote4938, Appnote 4938