+3.0V to +5.5V, 10nA, 250kbps RS-232 Transceivers with ±15kV ESD-Protected I/O and Logic Pins

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The MAX3238E/MAX3248E transceivers use Maxim's revolutionary AutoShutdown Plus™ feature to achieve 10nA supply current. These devices shut down the on-board power supply and drivers when they do not sense a valid signal transition on either the receiver or transmitter inputs. This occurs if the RS-232 cable is disconnected or if the transmitters of the connected peripheral are turned off. The devices turn on again when a valid transition is applied to any RS-232 receiver or transmitter input. AutoShutdown Plus automatically achieves this power savings through its on-board circuitry, as no changes are required to the existing BIOS or operating system.

All RS-232 inputs and outputs, as well as the logic I/O pins, have enhanced ESD protection to ±15kV. The additional ESD protection on the logic I/O pins makes the MAX3238E/MAX3248E ideal for cell phone data cable applications because it eliminates the need for costly external TransZorb™ or protection schemes.

The MAX3238E/MAX3248E contain five drivers and three receivers and are 3V-powered EIA/TIA-232 and V.28/V.24 communication interfaces intended for cell phones, data cables, and modem applications. A proprietary, high-efficiency, dual charge-pump power supply and a low-dropout transmitter combine to deliver true RS-232 performance from a single +3.0V to +5.5V supply. A guaranteed data rate of 250kbps provides compatibility with popular software for communicating with personal computers.

The MAX3238E and the MAX3248E differ only in their input logic thresholds. The MAX3238E has standard logic thresholds, while the MAX3248E has low-level logic thresholds of 0.6V to 1.2V, which are ideal for 1.8V systems.

The transmitter inputs, FORCEON, and active-low FORCEOFF have a 400 kilohms active positive feedback resistor. Once driven to a valid logic level, they will retain this level if the driving signal is removed or goes high impedance. Unused transmitter and logic inputs may be left unconnected. The MAX3238E/MAX3248E can operate with supply voltages ranging from +3.0V to +5.5V.
MAX3238E, MAX3248E: Typical Operating Circuit MAX3238E, MAX3248E: Typical Operating Circuit Enlarge+

Key Features

  • Enhanced ESD Protection on RS-232 I/O Pins and All Logic Pins
    • ±15kV—Human Body Model
    • ±8kV—IEC 1000-4-2 Contact Discharge
    • ±15kV—IEC 1000-4-2 Air-Gap Discharge
  • Guaranteed Data Rate: 250kbps
  • 10nA Low-Power Shutdown with Receivers Active
  • Schmitt Triggers on All Inputs
  • Flow-Through Pinout
  • Meets EIA/TIA-232 Specifications Down to 3.0V
  • Guaranteed 6V/µs Slew Rate
  • Low-Level Logic Thresholds (MAX3248E)
  • RS-232-Compatible Outputs to 2.7V


  • Battery-Powered Applications
  • Cellular Data Cables
  • Data Cradles
  • Modems
  • Peripherals
  • Printers

Pricing Notes:
This pricing is BUDGETARY, for comparing similar parts. Prices are in U.S. dollars and subject to change. Quantity pricing may vary substantially and international prices may differ due to local duties, taxes, fees, and exchange rates. For volume-specific and version-specific prices and delivery, please see the price and availability page or contact an authorized distributor.
Product Reliability Reports: MAX3238E.pdf 
Device   Fab Process   Technology   Sample size   Rejects   FIT at 25°C   FIT at 55°C   Material Composition  

Note : The failure rates are summarized by technology and mapped to the associated material part numbers. The failure rates are highly dependent on the number of units tested.

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