May 2004 Embedded News Digest

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welcome to the May 2004 edition of  MicroController Pros Corporation's Embedded News Digest, your source for microcontroller and embedded system news.


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This month's issue:

ARM Announces First Integrated Multiprocessor Core

Atmel Announces Industry's First ZigBee-ready Chipset

Elan: New Microcontrollers with 10-bit A/D

Freescale Semiconductor Releases Four New ColdFire Families

Microchip dsPIC Design Contest

Renesas Technology Releases SH-Mobile3

Xemics: Microcontroller with 16-bit Zooming A/D

ARM Announces First Integrated Multiprocessor Core

ARM  announced the availability of a new form of licensable processor, which has been developed as part of its ongoing partnership with NEC Electronics.  The MPCore™ synthesizable multiprocessor, based on the ARMv6 architecture, can be configured to contain between one and four processors delivering up to 2600 Dhrystone MIPS of performance.  The MPCore multiprocessor implements Adaptive Shutdown™ technology and the ARM® Intelligent Energy Manager technology to reduce power consumption by up to 85 percent. NEC Electronics will use the configurable ARM processor in high-performance, low-power products across the consumer electronics, automotive and mobile markets. 

The MPCore multiprocessor implements between one and four processors with cache coherency using a modified MESI protocol. It also features configurable level 1 caches, 64-bit AMBA™ AXI interfaces, vector floating-point coprocessors and programmable interrupt distribution. The processor supports Adaptive Shutdown of unused processors to give dynamic power consumption as low as 0.57mW/MHz from a generic 130nm process excluding cache. The ARM Intelligent Energy Manager technology can further reduce consumption by dynamically predicting the required performance and lowering the voltage and frequency.

For more information about the MPCore Multiprocessor please visit

Atmel Announces Industry's First ZigBee-ready Chipset

Atmel announced a turnkey solution for ZigBee systems. Atmel's Z-link solution consists of the AT86ZL3201 Z-Link microcontroller, the only dedicated, ZigBee-ready, full function device for 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz 802.15.4 frequency bands, a low power AT86RF210 Z-Link 868 MHz/902-928 MHz 802.15.4 radio, and plug-and-play ZigBee and 802.15.4 protocol stacks.

ZigBee is a low data rate, low power, networked wireless standard for control and monitoring applications based on IEEE Standard 802.15.4. ZigBee-enabled products do not need hard wiring between a powered device and its switch therefore, offering the potential to save millions of dollars in wiring costs in new and existing construction. Target applications include home and office lighting, environmental control and security, industrial sensors and controls, and medical monitoring systems.

Atmel's AT86ZL3201 Z-Link Controller integrates encryption hardware with an 8-bit AVR RISC processor and memory structures that are optimized specifically to implement the ZigBee standard at the lowest possible cost with the longest possible battery life.  It also eliminates the need for any firmware engineering for the ZigBee and 802.15.4 stacks. The controller uses standard AVR development, debugging and emulation tools. Thus, code development for the Z-Link Controller is identical to code development for any other AVR-based design.

The AT86RF210 Z-Link 802.15.4 Radio is an 868 MHz/902-928 MHz, 802.15.4 and ZigBee-compliant transceiver with10 channels at 40 kpbs in the 915 MHz ISM band, and one channel at 20 kpbs in the European 868 MHz band. The air interface is DSSS, including spreading and despreading, using BPSK. The PHY includes receiver energy detection, link quality indication and clear channel assessment. The Z-Link MAC allows network association and disassociation, has an optional superframe structure with beacons for time synchronization and a GTS mechanism for high priority communications. Atmel's AT86RF210 Z-Link radio supports up to 65,000 nodes in star, cluster or mesh networks, with a range of one to 100 meters. CSMA-CA is used for channel access, using contention-based and contention-free access modes.

The radio uses 14.5 mA receive current and 4 mW (6 dBm) transmit current at 1.8 volts. Power consumption in sleep mode is 1 uA.

Price and Availability:

Atmel's Z-Link ZigBee chipset will be available in May 2004 and will be priced at $6.75 in quantities of 100,000 for the radio, FFD controller and 802.15.4 and ZigBee protocol stacks.

The AT86ZL3201 Z-Link controller will be available in 64-lead TQFP and 64-ball LFBGA packages. The AT86RF210 Z-Link 868MHz/902-928MHz 802.15.4 transceiver will be available in a 48-pin QFN package.

Elan: New Microcontrollers with 10-bit A/D

Elan Microelectronics announced a new series of low cost 8-bit RISC microcontrollers with 4K program ROM, 10-bit ADC, PWM, SPI and embedded LCD driver. All seven eFH5830 products deliver up to 9 MIPS of computing power, -30 to 70 degrees Celsius operating temperature range and 2.2V to 5.5V operating voltage. All products are available as OTP and mask versions in different packages, ranging from 18 pin SOP and DIP to 48 pin SSOP.

Freescale Semiconductor Releases Four New ColdFire Families

Freescale has unveiled four new ColdFire® families - MCF547x, MCF548x, MCF523x and MCF527x - which are made up of more than 20 microcontrollers.

The MCF547x and MCF548x families feature the new V4e ColdFire core. Devices from these V4e-based families are capable of delivering up to 410 MIPS at 266 MHz. The MCF548x meets industrial temperature demands and is one of the first dual-CAN (controller area network), dual-Ethernet processors available today. The MCF547x and MCF548x families also include an USB 2.0 High Speed interface with integrated PHY and offer optional hardware accelerated encryption to support SSI, SSH, or IPSec.

The MCF523x family, based on the V2 ColdFire core,features an enhanced Time Processing Unit (eTPU), a real-time control co-processor dedicated to performing high-speed, complex timing and input/output, freeing up the central processing unit (CPU) for other tasks. The MCF523x family also serves as a natural migration path and upgrade for Freescale MC68332 customers requiring higher performance and/or networking support.

Other on-chip features include up to two integrated CAN interfaces, an Ethernet interface along with cryptography acceleration for cost-effective processors used in networked and stand-alone complex real-time control applications. The ColdFire core on these families includes an enhanced Multiply-Accumulate Unit (eMAC) providing high performance of 144 MIPS (Dhrystone 2.1) at 150 MHz.

The MCF527x family builds upon the peripheral mix of the MCF5272 processor. These devices offer an upgrade at no additional cost for current MCF5272 users - with added performance, a second 10/100 Mbps Ethernet MAC and hardware encryption to help ensure the application can enable secure communication.

To support these ColdFire families, Freescale has developed an affordable companion power management IC, the MC34710. The MCF34710 offers built-in flexibility through user-adjustable voltages, which allow reduced power dissipation by removing or lowering voltages under MCU control. This helps reduce design time, procurement costs and risk.

Suggested resale prices for 10,000 units:

 MCF548x devices range from $20 to $27 (USD).
 MCF547x devices range from $17 to $23 (USD).
 MCF523x devices range from $10 to $15 (USD).
 MCF527x devices range from $7 to $12 (USD).

Microchip dsPIC Design Contest

Microchip announced an design contest for the dsPIC® 16-bit Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs). First price is a Harley-Davidson® Motorcycle or $15,000USD in cash. Other prizes include a 43” plasma television or $7,500USD cash and a DVD home theater entertainment system or $3,000 USD cash, among others.

To participate in the design contest you must buy the dsPIC30F Design Contest Kit by June 11, 2004. The kit contains a dsPICDEM™ 1.1 General Purpose Development Board and all of the tools necessary to participate in Microchip’s Contest.`

For complete information or questions on the contest please visit

Renesas Technology Releases SH-Mobile3

Renesas announced the SH-Mobile3, product name: SH73180, incorporating a new SH4AL-DSP high-performance CPU core as the top-end model in the SH-Mobile Series of application processors for mobile phone systems.

The SH-Mobile3 is an application processor for high-end next-generation mobile phone models. It incorporates a high-processing-performance 32-bit RISC CPU core, 2D/3D graphics engine, and MPEG-4 full hardware accelerator, allowing it to handle various kinds of advanced multimedia applications with ease.

The SH-Mobile3 incorporates a newly developed SH4AL-DSP CPU core and achieves processing performance of 389 MIPS (million instructions per second) at a maximum operating frequency of 216 MHz. This represents an approximately 2.3-fold improvement in performance over the 173 MIPS maximum processing performance (at 133 MHz operation) of the current SH-Mobile Series. The instruction set of the SH4AL-DSP is upward-compatible with that of the current product CPU core SH3-DSP, allowing existing programs to be used and system development time to be shortened.

The SH-Mobile3 incorporates a camera interface allowing direct connection to a 3-megapixel class camera module. It is also equipped with a video output unit, making it possible to connect a mobile phone system to a TV set and display moving images shot with a camera.

A PowerVR MBX Lite IP from Imagination Technologies, Ltd. (IMG) is used as a 2D/3D graphics engine, providing high-speed display of realistic, high-quality 2D/3D images. In addition, an MPEG-4 full hardware accelerator provides the high-quality moving image processing capability required for video-mail and video-phones.

The package used is a 409-pin CSP (12 mm × 12 mm × 1.4 mm, 0.5 mm pin pitch), unit pricing for 10k quantities is 4000 Yen.

Xemics: Microcontroller with 16-bit Zooming A/D

The XE88LC02 microcontroller from XEMICS features a "zooming", high-resolution A/D converter with programmable gain/offset amplifier. The ADC has 4 differential or 7 pseudo differential inputs. It can apply a gain of 1000 to the sensing element's signal while rejecting its offset, and then convert the resulting signal with a resolution of 16 bits. The XE88LC02's A/D can be directly connected to any type of resistive sensor, and benefits from simplified calibration.

The XE88LC02 also features a 120 segments LCD driver, FLASH program memory with 100 years data retention, UART and SPI communication interfaces, and numerous IO.

The XE88LC02 programmable version is available from $5 in large volume in LQFP100, and from $2.90 in bare die for the ROM version

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