Exar Releases Family of I2C and SPI GPIO Expanders; Marks Entry into New Market Segment for Interface Products

Fremont, California (EastBayDaily) — Exar Corporation (Nasdaq:EXAR) unveiled today the XRA120x I2C/SMBus GPIO expander and XRA140x SPI GPIO expander product families – a total of 12 device offerings. Exar’s GPIO (General Purpose Input/Output) expander products enable straightforward serial expansion of I/O through an industry-standard I²C, SMBus™, or SPI™ interface. The XRA120x and XRA140x devices are optimized for a variety of markets including industrial monitoring, handheld battery operated applications, and popular consumer devices such as cellular phones, PDAs and GPS systems.

“Responding to customer demands, and seizing a market opportunity, Exar now offers GPIO bridging solutions as part of its market leading Interface products,” said Levent Ozcolak, vice president, Interface Product Line. “With these new devices we have widened our product portfolio and extended our serviceable market beyond our existing reach. System architects who already rely on Exar’s robust UARTs and serial transceivers can now design-in our GPIO expanders with the same confidence.”

GPIO products can provide additional control and monitoring when the microcontroller or chipset has an insufficient number of I/O pins or in systems where serial communication and control from a remote location is advantageous.

“Encompassing both 8-bit and 16-bit options, and the range of popular interfaces offered, the XRA120x and XRA140x series give customers immediate off-the-shelf choices for their designs,” said Rakesh Bhatia, director, strategic marketing, Interface Products.

GPIO Expander Product Features

The XRA120x and XRA140x can operate from 1.65V to 3.6V with 5V tolerant inputs. Depending on the part number, there are 8 or 16 GPIOs. When configured as an input, each GPIO has an internal pull-up resistor that can be enabled or disabled. The polarity of the input can also be inverted and there are filters on each input so that noise or glitches on the inputs will be ignored. The input filter feature can also be disabled. The interrupt for the GPIO can be configured to generate an interrupt on the rising edge, falling edge or both edges. There are individual interrupt enable and interrupt statuses for all of the GPIOs so that the software can easily identify which input generated the interrupt. When configured as an output, the GPIO output levels can individually be controlled or tri-stated.

The XRA120x can operate with an I2C/SMBus frequency up to 400kHz. There are noise filters on both of the SDA and SCL inputs and there can be up to 32 I2C slave addresses. The XRA140x can operate with an SPI clock frequency of up to 26MHz, addressing applications that require higher GPIO switching rates.

Targeted to serve a range of applications, a total of 24 different ordering part numbers (12 offerings in 2 different package types each) are offered. All 16 of the I2C packages are pin compatible with one or more industry standard device. Although the devices are pin compatible, additional features are offered as value-add options.

Interface Products

Exar has one of the broadest portfolios of high-performance interface solutions including UARTs, RS-232, RS-485, GPIO expanders, and multi-protocol serial transceivers and integrated UART/transceiver combinations. For chip-to-chip or system-to-system connections, Exar’s single and multi-channel interface ICs provides immediate competitive advantages to system architects: low power, reduction in board space requirements, increased bandwidth capacity, and enhanced product features. Interface devices are found practically everywhere including point-of-sale (POS) terminals, digital televisions, industrial automation equipment, handheld devices, and networking environments

Prices, Packages, Availability and Additional Information

The XRA1200/1200P/1202/1206: 8-bit I2C/SMBus GPIO expanders are available in 16-pin QFN and 16-pin TSSOP. Pricing starts at $0.56 for 1k units.

The XRA1201/1201P/1203/1207: 16-bit I2C/SMBus GPIO expanders are available in 24-pin QFN and 24-pin TSSOP. Pricing starts at $0.83 for 1k units.

The XRA1402/1404: 8-bit SPI GPIO expanders are available in 16-pin QFN and 16-pin TSSOP. Pricing starts at $0.56 for 1k units.

The XRA1403/1405: 16-bit SPI GPIO expanders are available in 24-pin QFN and 24-pin TSSOP. Pricing starts at $0.83 for 1k units. Additional information on the I/O expander series can be found at:

http://www.exar.com/Common/Content/Product.aspx?Parent=266 Additional information on Exar’s Interface Products can be found at:


About Exar Exar Corporation delivers highly differentiated silicon, software and subsystem solutions for data communication, storage, consumer and industrial applications. For over 40 years, Exar’s comprehensive knowledge of end-user markets along with the underlying analog, mixed signal and digital technology has enabled innovative solutions that meet the needs of the evolving connected world. Exar’s product portfolio includes power management and interface components, communications products, storage optimization solutions, network security and applied service processors. Exar has locations worldwide providing real-time customer support to drive rapid product development. For more information about Exar, visit http://www.exar.com.


Greg Kaufman
Exar Corporation