I have a customer that needs to digitize the output of a strain gauge. Their power source can vary from 1.6 to 3.6V and is capable of supplying no more than 200 uA. Ideally, they want to use a differential input A/D and want a SPI output. Sample rate is super low. Maybe one sample per minute. 8 bit accuracy is acceptable. The design is high volume 100-200K units and very cost sensitive The Maxim MAX1391 is being considered. As an alternative, I offered the AD7468 + AD8237. I have a few questions:
Attached is my initial idea
A couple new thoughts. Perhaps the AD8236 is a better fit for the Instrumentation amp. It is much lower power. Regarding the reference, I looked for something cheaper than the Maxim part and considered the following:
Both are very low power
No worries on keeping commenting. It always help because, it can be give a better understanding of the problem.
I found an ADC that is differential that is supplied from 2.5V to 5.5V. The AD7687 one of the candidates I found. The reference pin is external and can be connected with the power supply. The reference input voltage range from 0.5V to VDD+0.3. There is a circuit note for the AD7687 that you might want to check CN0225, http://www.analog.com/en/circuits-from-the-lab/CN0225/vc.html, Analog Front signal conditioner for industrial process control.
From what I understand, the stimulus or analog voltage measured on strain gauge are not dynamic. Usually for application that are not dynamic input voltage,sigma-delta ADCs are recommended.
I would recommend, you may check Sigma Delta ADC I found which is a single chip solution for strain gauge application. To mention are the AD7793 ( has on chip reference), AD7798/99 and AD7190.