Another app note from ON Semiconductors about various digital potentiometers application. Link here (PDF)
Analog circuits are made programmable by using digital potentiometers (POTs) to vary the key circuit parameters. This application note provides the analog design engineer with basic reference designs and circuit ideas for controlling the key parameters of analog circuits using digital POTs connected to a computer bus or microcontroller. Analog circuits are made programmable by using digital potentiometers (POTs) to vary the key circuit parameters. This application note provides the analog design engineer with basic reference designs and circuit ideas for controlling the key parameters of analog circuits using digital POTs connected to a computer bus or microcontroller.
Controlling LED brightness through digital potentiometer and a LED driver from ON Semiconductor. Link here (PDF)
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) require a regulated current, and their brightness is proportional to the current that flows through them. Some LED drivers use an external resistor to set the LED current. A digital POT can replace a discrete resistor with the advantage of providing an adjustable value allowing the LED brightness to dynamically change. Most digital POT circuits have the ability to store permanently the resistor value in non-volatile memory.
Another application note from Analog Devices this time about the superiority of digital over mechanical potentionmenters. Link here (PDF)
Potentiometers have been widely used since the early days of electronic circuits, providing a simple way to calibrate a system, adjusting offset voltage or gain in an amplifier, tuning filters, controlling screen brightness, among other uses. Due to their physical construction, mechanical potentiometers have some limitations inherent to their nature, such as size, mechanical wear, wiper contamination, resistance drift, sensitivity to vibration, humidity, and layout inflexibility.
Digital potentiometers are designed to overcome all these problems, offering increased reliability and higher accuracy with smaller voltages glitches. The mechanical potentiometer has now been relegated to environments where the digital potentiometer cannot be a suitable replacement, such as high temperature environments or in high power applications.
Comparing both technologies is the simplest way to discern which is the optimal solution for your system.
Application notes from NIDEC COPAL Electronics Corp. about digital potentiometer’s temperature dependence. Link here (PDF)
The digital potentiometers (DP) has two temperature dependent parameters, the TC of the end-to-end resistance Rpot and the ratiometric TC. The temperature dependence of the parameters of an analog circuit using a digital potentiometers is reduced if the performance of the circuit is shifted from the TC of the end-to-end resistance of the pot to the ratiometric TC.
An old application note from Analog Devices about configuring multiple digital potentiometers to improve resolution, accuracy and programming complexity might add-up to the mix though. Link here (PDF)
Digital potentiometers usually come with standard resistance values of 10k, 100k, and 1MW at a given number of adjustable steps. If an application requires a resistance range that falls between these values, users will most likely apply a part with a resistance larger than needed scarifying resolution. Fortunately, users can parallel, stack, or cascade multiple digital potentiometers to optimize the resolution for a given application. In this article, we will share some of the ideas that may solve the challenge.