An automobile is an unforgiving environment for integrated circuits. In the past, electronics were part of the well-protected and centralized Engine Control Unit (ECU). Today, electrically-driven accessories and fault-protection monitoring are leaving the protective umbrella of the ECU and migrating directly into vehicle subsystems. For example, many functions formerly driven by the engine are now electrically driven (motorized). These functions can become a safety risk if they are not continually monitored for operational readiness and/or have a back-up mode of operation. In either case, real-time monitoring is a necessity.

This paper discusses simple current monitoring solutions, including the LT6100 and LTC6101 high side current-sense amplifiers.