Is Lime Microsystems failing as Chip Manufacturer? [tldr; no]

#1

Its been 4 years since the release of LMS7002M. Its a great chip but we are eagerly waiting for the next generation IC. One with higher ADC sampling speeds hopefully. What is the Status of the next IC? Any News?

#2

Any more stupid questions? / or claims…

2 Likes
#3

Colleague, the technology of this level is very, very expensive! Such costs can only allow “Analog Devices” or “Texas Instruments”. But even in AD/Ti, there are no “cool” chips for very good parameters in the range up to 3 … 6GHz, or they offer low-frequency solutions (up to 500MHz) with good dynamics (14 or 16 bits ADC).
On steeper chips, the new lime will cost as a spaceship. Who can afford to buy such a device?
Rejoice for now, that is, because very few people have mastered it properly.

#4

AD9371 not “cool” enough for you?

#5

Hello Mleech.
You are right, the AD9371 chip is one of the best, created in today’s time for broadband solutions.
BUT! The cost of 1 chip ad9371 is comparable to the cost of the entire Mini-Lime board.

In its essence and technical data, the whole SERIES of chips AD93xx differs little from lms7002. The identical structure of the construction of receiving paths, the same ADC 12 bits. The difference is only in the extreme frequency limits, 0.1 … 3800 MHz versus 70 … 6000MHz and a few little significant characteristics.

For you, as a radio amateur and end user, which parameter is more important, 0.1MHz at the bottom of the band or 6GHz at the top?

I believe that the lime chip is an extremely GOOD combination of parameters (very high enough) for the received frequency bands (successfully for both ham radio and DSP studies), the sampling band (30 / 60MHz) and this at an extremely low price!

In which direction can Lime be improved?

  1. Extension of the lime frequency to the top in frequency. This means a shift in the target audience of users to a more professional area of ​​broadband professional communication with (attention!) A significant rise in price. There will be an analog of the USRP from NI at a price. Whom does it need?
  2. Revolutionary improvement of parameters by ADC parameters. But, even in AD and Ti there are no such solutions … And, again, the price …

I have, in comparison, both USRP and Adalm-Pluto. They differ little in reception from lime. But it’s extremely expensive for ordinary average radio amateurs! Adlm-Pluto has practically no support and development. Both radios do not work on the HF ham band.

#6

You asserted that AD had no “cool” chips, and I refuted that argument.

I’m not arguing that the Lime isn’t a decent chip, just refuting the “no cool chips from AD”.

Also, the LMS7002 in small quantities is not wildly cheaper than the AD9361. My suspicion is that the LimeSDR exists at the current price-point as a loss-leader. Mixed-signal chips of this type are expensive
to produce, whether you’re AD or Lime Micro.

Plus, I have little interest in HF personally, since I’m largely a radio astronomer, and ham-radio is an entirely secondary interest for me these days…

-Marcus

#7

Marcus in my first answer had a slightly different meaning. I did not mean to say that AD does not have any cool chips. I meant that even AD and Ti have no more “cool chips”. Agree, since the LMS7002 and AD93xx have roughly the same order of equipment.

#8

Well, then, what you’re doing is speculating on what might or might not be in the respective R&D pipelines at AD/Ti/Lime. Which, unless you have inside knowledge, is just speculation.

TBH, the only place where adding a lot more ADC bits seems to make sense is HF, where there are lots of tightly-packed, strong signals. But there are other ways of preserving dynamic range, like filtering early in the analog chain rather than later in the digital side of things. There have been advances in electronically tuned filters that cover a few octaves of bandwidth, for example. Along with this, LNAs seem to keep getting better and better at maintaining linearity at higher and higher input signal levels.

I don’t want to do a “Bill Gates” here and state that nobody will ever need more than 14-bits in an RF ADC, but I don’t see that as being nearly as important as other advances…

-Marcus

#9

If you think that I am exaggerating something please read this article:
https://zeptobars.com/en/read/AD9361-SDR-Analog-Devices-DAC-ADC-65nm
and I totally agree with the title.

#10

Sorry but your conclusions are strange, even after reading that blog.
I was expecting some serious comparison analyze…
You must have some extransense knowledge for sure.

The only thing I know is that thanks to Lime break trough high end lab/military/professional-communications
we see high end SDR technology on the desk of average STEM student or RF hacker or ham, etc.
After all tnx to LimeSDR even big players turned their head and soon we see Pluto for $99 but no any
sign of level of support provided by Lime people here.

1 Like
#11

Hi Booth.
In your first post, you asked about the next generation of chips.

Usually the next generation implies something very different from what is now.
Did you mean something in particular or a question in general?

For example, AD9361 and AD9371 can not be considered as chips of different generations. 9371 is only slightly more functional in terms of characteristics than 9361. But this is not a new generation.
But 9361 compared to previous chips (for example, conventional ADCs) can already be a new generation.

#12

No, they did a fantastic job on this and the LMS8002 and unless their books show them as going under they are not a failing chip maufacturer. What’s it matter you anyway, are you a rival manufacturer?

As for the rest of the thread, it reminds me of the Linux vs Windows vs BSD wars that morphed into the Linux distro A vs Linux distro X wars. Pointless and just as inane.

3 Likes
#13

IMHO, Lime-micro is a very successful, timely and excellent solution. Especially, Lime is revolutionary in relation to HakRF for the same price, as for the technical content of the transceiver, and the digital component.

And now, when they ask about the new generation of Lime Micro, I would like to understand what exactly is meant by “this new generation”? This is a new thing - it can be a big field for discussions.

#14

I found that blog post nicely illustrating a point I’ve been making for many years. That is that most people tend to think of the “costs” of a product as just the raw manufacturing cost, without considering any of the other costs, like R&D, keeping the lights on, having staff, buildings, etc, etc. If the end customer doesn’t, in some sense, pay for those in product pricing, then the business isn’t a business–it’s a charity.

Now that AD9361 is several years old, ADI might be able to drop their margins to encourage sales, which will encourage other vendors to do the same. It’s a tricky business though, where you end up in the commodity spiral, where you can’t sell the thing for anything other than meagre margins, and at that point, where’s the incentive to keep manufacturing?

-Marcus

#15

I’m not at liberty to share any details beyond those which are publicly available, and I am also not involved in any way in IC design, so by no means the best person to comment in any case. However, I think it is safe for me to put any fears at rest and say that the roadmap does indeed extend far beyond presently available devices.

As to the original topic title — ouch btw, we do have feelings! — I think evidence to the contrary is fairly abundant. For example, the many fantastic applications we’re seeing in the community, not to mention in excess of 10,000 pledges across the three crowdfunding campaigns, which includes support from BT, Vodafone and European Space Agency. Plus groundbreaking work with partners laying the foundations for large scale deployments.

In short, what you can see is really just the tip of the iceberg and I’m constantly being surprised to discover new and extremely exciting projects that colleagues and partners are working on.

Stay tuned, as they say :sunglasses:

6 Likes
#16

On https://limemicro.com/technology/ you see the LMS8001+ that seems similar to the LMS7002M but that goes up to 12GHz instead of 3.8GHz (very important if you want to work on the 5.8GHz band). That chip is supposedly available since Sep 2017. There’s also the LMS9000 that would go up to 100GHz with more than 2GHz bandwidth…
A question could be “(when) will there be a LimeSDR with the LMS8001+?”. The LMS9000 has still no availability date, and there’s been 3 years between each previous chip, so it’s probably still several years from now.

#17

Hello,
We need to know about the availability of the LMS7002M chips as we are interested in using it for a new project. We have sent multiple emails to almost all the email addresses mentioned on LimeMicro’s website but haven’t received a single response and no one even answers the phone.
Please advise on its suitability for a new project and its availability.
Regards,
EnthuMan.

#18

It’s usually in stock at DigiKey and just seen they don’t have any in at present. Have you tried calling them? I’ll see if I can find anything out this end. It certainly is suitable for new designs and there are no plans to stop producing the chip.

#19

Thanks for the response.
Digikey says that they do not have any date from LimeMicro about when devices will be available again (we have been pursuing them since the last three weeks).
But thank you for the assurance. We really look forward to getting an update about the availability of the chips.

#20

Hello Andrew,
May I ask if you have any update about the LMS7002M? Still haven’t heard from the folks at LimeMicro.
Regards,