Remote tuner supports worldwide automotive radio standards

January 09, 2017 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
A remote tuner system from Maxim Integrated Products enables designers to significantly simplify the head unit design of a vehicle and reduce cables.

The MAX2175 RF to Bits tuner within the system eliminates the need to rework the vehicle’s hardware to support worldwide radio standards, allowing updates by simply changing the vehicle’s software.

Traditional radio architecture brings many challenges to vehicle designers. The vehicle’s complex head unit must accommodate multiple tuners, manage heat dissipation, and receive multiple cables from the antennas. In addition, the received analog signals pick up noise as they travel from the antenna to the head unit of the vehicle. Finally, baseband processing uses single purpose hardware, requiring separate designs to support multiple worldwide radio standards.

With Maxim’s remote tuner system, the RF to Bits tuners are now located in a quieter environment close to the antenna to minimize noise. Meanwhile, the digital outputs of the tuners are serialized using Maxim’s gigabit multimedia serial link (GMSL) serializer and deserializer (SerDes) onto a single low-cost coax cable. Power for the remote tuner system is also delivered on this single cable. Not only does this improve radio performance, but it also reduces the weight of the vehicle to provide better mileage. Removing all tuners from the head unit saves space and reduces both system complexity and heat dissipation in the head unit.