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[FAQ] TPL1401: What is the lowest-cost, 8-bit DAC or digital potentiometer?

Part Number: TPL1401
Other Parts Discussed in Thread: DAC43401,

There are many low-cost, 8-bit DACs in TI’s portfolio, but if I only need to create a simple DC bias – what is the lowest-cost solution?

  • TI offers many great low-cost solutions for creating a simple DC bias in our DACs and DPOT portfolio, but when it comes to our lowest-cost device then we have one clear solution. The TPL1401 is a digital potentiometer (digipot) with a buffered wiper. Unlike standard digipots, this device offers higher load regulation in voltage-divider applications as a result of the integrated buffered wiper.

    The TPL1401 is tiny, feature-rich, and easy-to-use building block device that can be integrated into many applications.

    This device can easily replace common circuits found in many applications, such as resistor dividers, LASER trimmed voltage dividers, shunt regulators, and load regulators.

    The TPL1401 can be considered similar to our 8-bit precision DAC, the DAC43401, but we are able to achieve a lower cost by removing some features that are not needed in simple, DC-bias/setpoint applications. 

    The TPL1401 is differentiated from other digipots with the addition of an EEPROM memory, which allows the default configuration to be programmed in the device.  This enables calibration and factory programming to enhance applications beyond simple bill-of-material variants can allow.  In addition, the integrated buffer allows for better load regulation than a standard digipot.  Most importantly, this device also features an internal reference voltage.  This reference allows for a greater level of precision and temperature drift.

    The external feedback pin allow allows for the device to be configured into a current source or sink.

    The TPL1401 can be found in many common applications:

    End equipment


    Exit and emergency lighting

    Barcode scanners

    Barcode readers

    Smart speakers

    Video doorbells

    Cordless vacuum cleaners

    Robotic lawn mowers

    Laser distance meter

    You can find some additional information about the TPL1401 here:



    You can find more information about precision DACs here:

    Precision DAC Learning Center

    TI Precision Labs - DACs

    Data Converter Circuit Cookbook