An interesting chip for USB applications

From: Marko Mäkelä (
Date: 2006-10-07 21:18:53

A friend of mine recently told me about the MAX3421E from Maxim
He ordered some samples, but the estimated delivery time is in March 2007.
Also, there are virtually no programming examples yet.

The chip implements a USB interface, and it is controlled via SPI bus.
It seems to support enough primitives to implement any USB protocol.
With some restrictions, it can even play a USB master.  Possible
applications of that could be connecting a USB mouse, keyboard,
memory stick, or a USB-equipped PC to a microcontroller, which would
in turn emulate some Commodore peripheral.

Maxim is promising some programming examples, such as a reference
implementation of the usb-storage class, in the future.  I'm looking
forward to that, because the usb-storage class is natively supported
by virtually all operating systems that support USB.  Another nice
thing about this chip is that it adds USB support to any microcontroller
that talks SPI.

For simple projects, USB-to-RS-232 converters could be a better choice.
However, I have had very bad experience from the drivers for FTDI chips,
and I do not think that the PL-2303 (which has excellent driver support
on Linux and Windows) can be ordered in small quantities.


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