August 2003 Embedded News Digest

Embedded News Digest
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Dear Reader,

welcome to this month's edition of  MicroController Pros Corporation's Embedded News Digest, your source for microcontroller and embedded system news.


  • Embedded Tool of the Month, September 2003: The Atmel AVR Educational Kit provides a flexible development and training system. Based around the BASIC programmable ABC Mini Board, a large collection of add-on modules (keypad, opto-isolated inputs, relay outputs, power MOSFET outputs...) allows for quick prototyping of applications for design engineers and offers a broad variety of interesting training exercises for beginners.

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This month's issue:

Call for Papers: Embedded World Nuernberg, Germany

Cirrus Logic: ARM9 Controller for Networked Media Applications

Cypress: With Wireless USB Against Bluetooth

Elan Announces New Telecom Micro

Microchip Expands PIC18 Family

National Semiconductor Finalizes Sale of Embedded Geode Processor Family to AMD

Philips USB Interface Devices

Texas Instruments: New MSP430 Microcontrollers with Analog Front-End

ZiLOG Releases Royalty-Free TCP/IP Stack

Call for Papers: Embedded World Nuernberg, Germany

The Embedded World Congress is from February 17th-19th at the Messezentrum Nuernberg, Germany. Technical papers (no marketing or PR articles) are sought in the areas of: communication technologies, embedded design flow, tools & debugging, software development, software security, embedded internet & networking, sensors, embedded O/S, new architectures and peripherals.

Submissions should consists of:  title of paper; author's name; author's mail and email address; telephone and fax number; and a maximum 3 page abstract.  Abstracts should be submitted by the deadline of September 12th 2003 to:

Design & Electronic

Mr. Caspar Grote

Gruber Str. 46a

85586 Poing



Cirrus Logic: ARM9 Controller for Networked Media Applications

The EP9312 is an ARM920T-based controller. The ARM920T microprocessor core with separate 16 Kbyte, 64-way, set-associative instruction and data caches is augmented by the MaverickCrunch™ coprocessor. The EP9312's MaverickCrunch engine is an advanced mixed-mode math coprocessor that greatly accelerates the single- and double-precision integer and floating-point processing capabilities of the ARM core. The MaverickCrunch engine allows the EP9312 to offer speed and performance when encoding digital audio and video formats, processing data via Ethernet, and performing other math-intensive computing and data-processing functions.


200 MHz ARM920T processor: 16 KB data cache and 16 KB instruction data cache; MMU enabling Linux® and Microsoft® Windows® CE; 100 MHz system bus.

MaverickCrunch math engine: Floating point, integer, and signal-processing instructions; Optimization for digital music compression and decompression algorithms with hardware interlocks.

MaverickKey security: 32-bit unique ID; 128-bit random ID

Integrated peripheral interfaces: 1/10/100 Mbps Ethernet MAC; EIDE (up to 2 devices), 3-port USB 2.0 Full Speed Host Interface (OHCI); 3 UARTs; IrDA interface; LCD and Raster interface with graphics accelerator

External memory options: 32-bit SDRAM interface; 32/16/8-bit SRAM/FLASH/ROM; Serial EPROM interface

Internal peripherals: 12 direct memory access (DMA) channels; Dual PLLs control all clock domains; Real-time clock with software trim; Boot ROM; Watchdog; Debug; and 3 general-purpose timers

General-purpose I/Os: 16 enhanced GPIOs; 31 additional optional GPIOs multiplexed on peripherals

Package: 352-pin PBGA

Cypress: With Wireless USB Against Bluetooth

Cypress announced that it has begun sampling WirelessUSB LS devices that can communicate at distances of up to 10 meters using the 2.4GHz ISM band. With WirelessUSB LS, Cypress uses its own DSSS coding scheme and targets the devices at USB peripherals with low data rate requirements, such as keyboards, mice, and video game controllers.

WirelessUSB LS is available as a transceiver or a transmit-only device, providing bi-directional or unidirectional RF transmission at 62.5 kbit/s. Both devices have a typical standby current of 1 mA.

Looking at how many years it took to get Bluetooth into applications, it will be interesting to see how successful Cypress will be with penetrating the market with its proprietary wireless solution and how willing consumers and manufacturers will be to put yet another wireless interface into PCs besides IEEE802.11 and Bluetooth.

Elan Announces New Telecom Micro

Elan announced the launch of a new telecom microcontroller, the EM78P815, beginning of October 2003. The new micro integrates a FSK/DTMF transceiver, a CAS block for call waiting function, current D/A for ring music, 256k internal data ROM and a SPI interface. The EM78P815 can address up to 128k external program ROM in addition to the 64k internal program ROM and up to 64K external flash memory.

Microchip Expands PIC18F Family

The new PIC18F8525/6525 and PIC18F8621/6621 microcontrollers are available in 64- and 80-pin TQFP packages and  feature either 48 or 64 Kbytes of Flash memory, 4 Kbytes of RAM memory and 1024 bytes of high-endurance EEPROM data memory. The  peripheral set includes an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) with up to 16 channels x 10-bit resolution, 2 Capture/Compare/PWM modules, 3 Enhanced Capture/Compare/PWM modules, up to 10 MIPS performance at 10 MHz, two 8-bit timers, three 16-bit timers and one watch-dog timer (WDT), dual analog comparators and a parallel slave port (PSP).

Additional features include an operating voltage range of 2.0-5.5 volts, programmable brown-out detection/reset (PBOR), programmable 16-level Low Voltage Detection module (PLVD), 32 kHz secondary oscillator clock input and a 4x phase lock loop (PLL) for high-frequency oscillators. Serial I/O features include SPI™, I2C™, and two LIN compatible addressable USART modules.

National Semiconductor Finalizes Sale of Embedded Geode Processor Family to AMD

National Semiconductor has finalized the sale of its Geode x86 embedded processor line to AMD for undisclosed terms. This step ends National's stint in the 80x86 market. The Geode family is the embedded version of the Cyrix MII/III processor design targeted at set-top boxes and information appliances. National sold Cyrix to Taiwanese chipset manufacturer VIA some years back after unsuccessfully trying to compete with Intel and AMD in the PC market, but retained property rights in and continued to develop the embedded version of the Cyrix design, which was renamed to Geode.

Philips USB Interface Devices

Not a microcontroller, but an interesting peripheral for some applications:

The Philips ISP1582/83 USB interface devices have a unique and patented power supply circuit, which allows customers to add 12Mbps USB peripheral capability without placing heavy power requirements on the end product. The ISP1582 draws power from both the USB cable and the product's power supply. Therefore, while competitive low-power USB peripheral solutions draw approximately 85 mA from a system's power supply, Philips ISP1582/83 consumes only 45mA with less than 4mA required from the power supply of the end product.

The device power supply and corresponding input / output logic thresholds have been designed for 1.8 volts. The package pinout features 32 pins in a 5 mm x 5 mm package, with an 8-bit, general-purpose parallel microcontroller interface.

Texas Instruments: New MSP430 Microcontrollers with Analog Front-End

Targeted at electronic metering applications, the new MSP430FE42x family integrates an embedded signal processor (ESP), ideal for single phase e-meters, plus the following key features to perform the energy metrology functions:

  • Three independent 16-bit sigma-delta analog-to-digital converters operating at an oversampled rate of 1MHz
  • Three programmable gain amplifiers
  • A temperature sensor and a precision voltage reference.

The converted line voltage and current signals are digitally processed, providing: energy and line period measurement; negative power flow indication; peak voltage and current; phase and line-to-neutral current comparisons for tamper detection. With precise phase matching between current and voltage channels, the ESP performs the necessary calculations to supply accurate active energy, apparent energy, RMS voltage, current and waveform samples. The ESP provides a 0.1 percent accurate energy measurement over a dynamic current range of 1000 to 1.

The family also includes standard MSP430 peripherals such as: an enhanced watchdog timer;
integrated LCD driver for up to 128 segments; brownout protection; supply voltage supervisor;
three channel pulse width modulation timer; serial communication interface (Asynchronous UART or Synchronous SPI); and serial onboard programming, which requires no external programming voltage.

Supporting ultra-low power, the MSP430FE42x operates at 3V with the CPU and ESP active at only 2.5mA. The device can operate in a standby mode with a typical current consumption of 1.1uA with a real-time-clock function active.

The MSP430FE42x family offers 8kB, 16kB or 32kB on-chip Flash memory options and 256B to 1kB RAM. The family is offered in a 64-pin quad flat package (QFP) and is available for preproduction and engineering evaluation now with full production planned for late 2003. The 8kB MSP430FE423 is priced at $2.95 per unit in 100,000-piece quantities.

ZiLOG Releases Royalty-Free TCP/IP Stack

Royalty-Free TCP/IP Stacks seem to become the norm. After an open-source TCP/IP stack for the Atmel AVR family, 8051 and PIC are already available for some time, ZiLOG now announced the availability of a free stack for its eZ80Acclaim! product family. 

The new protocol stack supports TCP, UDP, IP, ARP, RARP, ICMP, IGMP, PPP, Ethernet, HTTP, SMTP, DHCP/BOOTP, SNMP, TFTP, TELNET, and TIMEP protocols. It includes enhancements such as SNMPv1 support and other user-extensible MIBs. Registered ZiLOG customers can download the stack for free directly from ZiLOG's Web site.

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