So you know you need a voltage reference, but you are not sure how to pick the best one for your application. You have come to the right place! In this post, I will discuss some of the key voltage-reference parameters and help you weigh them based on your application needs in your search for a “Goldilocks” voltage reference that’s “just right.”
First, think about your application and whether you are going to need a shunt reference or a series reference. You don’t have to settle on a topology right away, but it will be helpful to know the best use cases for each. If you are not familiar with the difference between a shunt reference and a series reference, I have written a blog post “Understanding Voltage References: Shunt vs series. Which topology is right for you?” and a white paper “Shunt versus series: How to select a voltage-reference topology” on this topic, so check those out.
Second, define the system boundaries of your application. Understanding the physical environment, ambient temperature changes and whether any system calibration will take place are important considerations when looking for a voltage reference. I have outlined a few key parameters below, with some corresponding calculations and questions. At the end of each section are example devices and applications where those devices are often used.
Now that you have a basic understanding of some of the most important voltage-reference parameters, you can more confidently browse the library of voltage references available from Texas Instruments. If you are interested in more detail about topics discussed in this blog, read the white paper, “Voltage Reference Selection Basics.”
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