Traditional automotive radio head units are complex, presenting significant design challenges. The head units must accommodate multiple tuners, requiring multiple cables from the antennas. Heat generated by the concentration of electronics may require the use of heatsinks and degrade reliability. The received analog signals pick up noise as they travel from the antenna to the head unit. The monolithic nature of a traditional head unit also implies that any change to the radio features requires at least a partial redesign of the head unit.
Our remote tuner architecture simplifies head unit design while improving radio signal quality and reducing cost, weight and power consumption. Tuners are not located in the head unit, but rather are located close to the antennas. Received signals are serialized and sent to the head unit over a single coax cable which also provides I2C communication and power. This results in a smaller, cooler head unit and a dramatic reduction in the number of cables. The digital signals are immune to ambient noise which improves signal quality and the reception of weak signals. Another advantage of the remote unit architecture is scalability—it’s very easy to add more tuners for background scan and phase diversity without changing the design of the head unit.
In addition, our RF to Bits® radio tuner IC allows the baseband processing to be done in a system-on-chip (SOC) using software. This software defined radio (SDR) approach enables flexible implementations by eliminating the need for a dedicated baseband processor. By simply changing the software, any worldwide radio standard can be supported.
Remote Tuner Advantages
- Ease of design and space savings: Replacing multiple tuners with a deserializer connected to the SoC reduces head unit complexity, size, and heat dissipation.
- Enhanced radio performance: Tuners are located close to the antennas; Digital rather than analog signals propagating over the long cables improve noise immunity.
- Design flexibility and scalability: A single remote tuner architecture can be scaled to support different radio use cases; Simply change software to support any worldwide radio standard.
- Reduced cost: Reduced number of cables reduces cost of vehicle cabling. The reduced weight also improves gas mileage.
Remote Tuner Solution Chipset
- MAX2175 RF to Bits Automotive Radio Tuner
- MAX96711 14-bit GMSL Serializer
- MAX96708 14-bit GMSL Deserializer
- MAX15027 1A, low-dropout linear regulator
- MAX20002 36V, 2A, synchronous buck converter
Design Solution: Remote Tuner Architecture Reduces Wiring Weight and Cost While Improving Noise Immunity