September 2005 Embedded News Digest

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Dear Reader,
welcome to the September 2005 edition of MicroController Pros Corporation's Embedded News Digest, your source for microcontroller and embedded system news.

This month's issue:

Atmel Releases Deterministic ARM7 MCUs with Ethernet, CAN, USB, Encryption
Maxim Introduces New Mixed-Signal Microcontroller
Fujitsu Introduces Next-Generation FlexRay 2.0 Controller
Fujitsu Introduces 32-bit Microcontrollers with CAN, LIN Support
Fujitsu Introduces Three New High-Performance, 8-bit Microcontrollers
Maxim Introduces USB Peripheral Controller with 26 MHz SPI Interface
Philips Announces Three Faster ARM7-based Microcontrollers
Rabbit Semiconductor Announces Rabbit 4000 Microprocessor
Renesas Technology Releases 32-Bit SH7650 SuperH Processor
Sensory Introduces New Speech Recognition Microcontroller
STMicroelectronics Extends ST7 USB Flash Microcontroller Family
STMicroelectronics Extends ST7Lite MCU Family
TI and Microchip Introduce ZigBee Protocol Stacks

Atmel Releases Deterministic ARM7 MCUs with Ethernet, CAN, USB, Encryption

Atmel has released the industry's first two ARM7-based, Flash MCUs with embedded 10/100 Ethernet MAC, CAN, full-speed USB 2.0 and a high-speed AES/3DES encryption engine. Designed for extensively networked, real-time embedded systems, the AT91SAM7X128 and AT91SAM7X256 also have a 10-bit ADC, two SPIs, SSC, TWI, three UARTs, an 8-level priority interrupt controller, and a full complement of supervisory functions. The two new 50 MIPS MCUs have 32/64 kBytes of SRAM and 128/256 kBytes of 25 ns Flash memory that supports deterministic processing as required for real-time control systems.

A peripheral DMA controller (PDC) connects each SAM7X peripheral directly to on-chip memory, allowing high throughput data transfers without any processor overhead. Conventional ARM processors, which require the CPU to transfer the data one byte at a time, exhaust 55% of their processing resources at just 2 megabits per second (Mbps) and 100% of it at 4 Mbps. Higher data rates are not possible. In contrast, the SAM7X expends just 2% of its cycles at 4 Mbps and only 4% of its cycles at 10 Mbps.

By allowing data streams to be encrypted/decrypted in hardware and assisted by DMA, the SAM7X offers 80 Mbps AES encryption throughput, which is 20x faster than a software implementation. The encryption and decryption data rate for DES is 32.8 Mbps, with triple DES at 20 Mbps.

Configurable in full- or half-duplex modes, the SAM7X EMAC has programmable interpacket gap, support for virtual-LAN tagged frames and automatic-pause frame generation and termination. A dual-mode interface offers seamless Media Independent Interface for a large selection of PHYs in Fast Ethernet applications, or a Reduced Media Independent Interface which uses less I/O. SAM7X MCUs can be interfaced directly with POS-PHY Level 2/SPI-3-compliant devices, including standard network processors. Lossless flow control via on-chip system buffers eliminates the need for external memory or flow-control mechanisms. Jumbo frames of up to 10240 bytes are supported.

Atmel has given the ARM7 core deterministic processing by adding 25 ns Flash NVM (128 or 256 kBytes) that allows the processor to fetch instructions directly from Flash with no performance penalty, thus eliminating the need for code shadowing, and providing predictable instruction execution suitable for control applications.

SAM7X processors have a comprehensive suite of real-time peripherals and supervisory functions that include an 8-level priority interrupt controller, brownout detection, power-on-reset, single-supply voltage, watchdog timer, real-time clock, and RC oscillator.

The AT91SAM7X128 is available now in a 100-lead LQFP green package for $7.20 in quantities of 10,000. The AT91SAM7X256 comes in a 100-lead LQFP green package for $8.65.

Maxim Introduces New Mixed-Signal Microcontroller

Maxim Semiconductor has introduced the MAXQ3120, a mixed-signal microcontroller with integrated precision analog functions. The MAXQ3120 has two 16-bit sigma-delta A/D converters, each with independently programmable gain amplification. This microcontroller also integrates a digitally trimmable RTC, an LCD controller supporting up to 112 segments, and a single-cycle MAC module. The device is suited for analog applications such as electricity metering, medical instruments, portable data acquisition, weight scales, industrial sensors, and controls.

The MAXQ3120 approaches 1 MIPS per MHz with a single-cycle execution, 16-bit RISC core. It uses an intelligent clock-management scheme that minimizes digital switching noise. Its integrated single-cycle MAC module provides a powerful signal processing function for the microcontroller. The integration of high performance signal-processing capability and low digital noise enables the MAXQ3120 to acquire analog signals with high precision, and then process them using only a small fraction of its clock-input bandwidth.

The MAXQ3120 takes only about 2.7 MIPS (or 33% of a 8MHz input clock) to process and manipulate all the data in a multifunction single-phase electricity meter. In this short interval, both voltage and current inputs are digitized into two streams of 16-bit values, while the active and reactive energies and the voltage channel's RMS value are computed at every data conversion. This activity still leaves 5.3 MIPS for other tasks. The remaining 5.3 MIPS is equivalent to the full speed of most popular 20MHz, 4-cycle microcontrollers. MAXQ3120 also allows a customized low-pass filtering to be applied in order to optimize the ADC output for its target application.

MAXQ cores (including the MAXQ20 in the MAXQ3120 microcontroller) distribute clocks only to the paths where the clock is needed, thus achieving much lower switching noise compared to other architectures.

The MAXQ3120 is packaged in an 80-pin MQFP, and operates over the -40 to +85 degrees C temperature range. MAXQ3120 reference designs are available to help customers shorten design time-to-market. Prices start at $4.08 in 1000-unit quantities.

Fujitsu Introduces Next-Generation FlexRay 2.0 Controller

Fujitsu Microelectronics Europe has announced the world's first FlexRay controller featuring version 2.0 FlexRay IP developed by Robert Bosch GmbH. Fujitsu's MB88121 delivers 10 Megabits per second over two channels. It provides fault-tolerant, deterministic data transmission, which is suitable for engine control, braking and steering subsystems.

The MB88121 is designed to complement all of the existing standard automotive buses, including CAN and LIN, thereby protecting the investment made developing legacy assets and sustaining the reliability of existing products.

The MB88121 can be connected directly to existing CPUs, enabling the development of production systems that use a next-generation network while simultaneously maximizing the performance of equipment already in the vehicle. Internal speeds reach 80MHz, with a 4, 5, 8, 10MHz external oscillator or with external clock. The chip's parallel interface affords a maximum frequency of 33MHz.

Production quantities of the MB88121 already are available in 64-pin LQFP, priced at under $5 each. A 48-pin package is under development.

The FlexRay IP is being continually upgraded, and samples of the MB88121 that comply with FlexRay protocol specification 2.1 will become available in November 2005. In addition, new products with enhanced microcontroller-based interfaces are under development, with Fujitsu also expecting to deliver a FlexRay device featuring its 32-bit FR core in 2006.

Fujitsu Introduces 32-bit Microcontrollers with CAN, LIN Support

The new Fujitsu MB91270 series MCUs integrate an FR60lite 32-bit CPU core that features internal clock speeds up to 32 MHz. They support CAN, a maximum of seven LIN channels which can be configured as SPI or UART, and three channels of I2C.

The new MCUs are designed to deliver maximum processing power to the control units that supervise vehicle airbag sensors, anti-lock braking systems, vehicle air conditioners, and other safety and comfort systems. The MB91270 also incorporates a 24-channel A/D converter for analog signal input from sensors, and delivers the speed and overall performance required to manage 11 channels of serial communications.

Each is designed for high compatibility with the Fujitsu MB90340A series of 16-bit microcontrollers, allowing engineers to use the same basic circuit board design when developing new control units that requires higher CPU performance.

The MB91270 series includes the MB91F272, which has both a main and a sub clock, and the MB92F1272S, which includes only a main clock. The devices, packaged in 100-pin, low-profile QFPs, are available now in sample quantities for under $8.85 each.

Fujitsu Introduces Three New High-Performance, 8-bit Microcontrollers

The MB95F136H, MB95F128H, and MB95F118H high-performance 8-bit MCUs are the latest additions to the Fujitsu F2MC-8FX family.

All three new microcontrollers are designed for use with 5V single power supplies, and each also can be used with 3V supplies. The devices have been designed to function at a wide range of voltages in order to accommodate a wide range of power-supply designs.

The 28-pin MB95F136H is meant to function as a sub-microprocessor in home appliances. It incorporates 32 kBytes of Flash memory and 1 kByte RAM, along with an 8-channel, 10-bit A/D converter; eight external interrupts input; and a maximum of 19 I/O ports. The device supports two channels of either UART, LIN or SIO interfaces.

The 100-pin MB95F128H is designed for use as a primary controller for applications that have display features. It includes 60 kBytes Flash and 2 kBytes RAM on board, along with support for LIN, UART and I2C interfaces. The device incorporates Fujitsu's proprietary dual-operation Flash memory with two memory banks, which can access the same Flash memory to read data for the program execution and to write data to storage like an EEPROM. This dual-operation memory architecture reduces part counts and the total circuit board footprint.

The MB96F128H includes the features of the MB95F128H, and adds 12 channels of 10-bit A/D, along with up to 12 external interrupts and as many as 86 I/O ports. This device supports three channels of either UART, LIN or SIO interfaces.

The MB95F118H provides 60 kBytes Flash and 2 kBytes RAM, with eight 10-bit A/D channels and up to eight external interrupts. It supports three channels of either UART, LIN or SIO interfaces.

The MB95F136H comes in a 28-pin SO package with prices starting at $4.50 each in sample quantities. The MB95128H is available in 100-pin LQFP or in 100-pin QFP at $7.25 each in sample quantities. The MB95F118H is packaged in a 48-pin QFP with a sample quantity price of $5.45 each.

Maxim Introduces USB Peripheral Controller with 26 MHz SPI Interface

Maxim has introduced the MAX3420E 12Mbps USB peripheral controller with SPI interface. This device integrates all the necessary digital logic and analog circuitry to implement a full-speed USB peripheral compliant to USB 2.0.

Functions integrated within the MAX3420 include a ±15kV ESD-protected USB transceiver, a USB serial interface engine (SIE), endpoint buffer memory, an SPI slave interface, and a 1.5 kΩ D+ pullup resistor. The integrated USB transceiver features a programmable USB connect and disconnect, while the SIE handles low-level USB protocol details such as automatic NAK until ready, bit stuffing, CRC generation/checking, and bus retries.

The MAX3420E operates using a register set accessed by the SPI interface, which operates up to 26MHz. Any SPI master (microprocessor, ASIC, DSP, etc.) can add USB functionality using the simple 3- or 4-wire interface. A programmable interrupt output can be used to reduce or eliminate microprocessor polling. Integrated logic-level translators allow the SPI interface to operate at a system voltage between 1.71V and 3.6V. Additionally, four general-purpose inputs and outputs allow any microprocessor that uses I/O pins to implement the SPI interface to reclaim those pins and gain additional ones.

The MAX3420E operates over the extended temperature range (-40 to +85 degrees C). This device is available in 7mm x 7mm, 32-pin TQFP. A 4mm x 4mm, 24-pin TQFN package is planned. Prices start at $2.65 in quantities of 1000.

Philips Announces Three Faster ARM7-based Microcontrollers

Royal Philips Electronics has announced three new additions to its LPC2000 microcontroller family: the LPC2101, the LPC2102 and the LPC2103. Based on the ARM7TDMI-S architecture, the new LPC210x series can operate at speeds up to 70 MHz (63 MIPs) -- 10 MHz faster than the current fastest LPC series ARM MCUs on the market.

The new MCUs also feature Fast I/O capabilities, which allow bit-toggling at a speed of 17.5 MHz -- four times faster than competing ARM MCUs on the market. In addition, innovative power management features allow deep power-down mode current consumption, with the real-time clock running, to be less than 10 µA. On-board communication peripherals include two 16C550-compatible UARTs, two Fast I2C-bus interfaces, two SPI/SSP interfaces, four timers with PWM capability and a 10-bit ADC.

The new LPC210x MCUs will be available starting in November 2005.

Rabbit Semiconductor Announces Rabbit 4000 Microprocessor

The Rabbit 4000, like its predecessors, is designed specifically for embedded control, communications, and Ethernet connectivity. The new features include integrated 10Base-T Ethernet, DMA, 16-bit memory device support, page-mode memory device support, and memory enhancements with physical address space of up to 16 MB. It also features hardware security features, hardware breakpoints, improved I/O, and variable-phase PWM.

Programming the Rabbit 4000 is accomplished simply by connecting an interface cable from a PC to a Rabbit-based target system. Software development and debugging can be performed over Ethernet/Internet using appropriate accessory hardware or RabbitSys.

The Rabbit 4000 will be offered in two RoHS-compliant packages: 128-pin TQFP and 128-pin TFBGA. It will be available in production quantities in March 2006.

Renesas Technology Releases 32-Bit SH7650 SuperH Processor

Renesas Technology has announced the 32-bit SuperH Family SH7650 microprocessor, incorporating the industry's first DTCP-IP (Digital Transmission Content Protection over Internet Protocol) compatible encryption/decryption functions and an Ethernet controller, intended for use in digital audiovisual and office automation devices with built-in network functions.

The SH7650 offers DTCP-IP support and Ethernet connection in a single chip, enabling secure network transfer of high-definition digital content. An inter-device authentication function and content encryption/decryption function are implemented by hardware and also by firmware provided together with the SH7650. An IEEE802.3-compliant media access controller is also incorporated, facilitating the development of a 10/100 Mbps Ethernet LAN connection function. By this means it is possible to connect a user device to an Ethernet, transfer digital content up to high definition resolution encrypted in real time, and receive, decrypt, and use encrypted content, all with a single SH7650 chip.

In addition, firmware performs DTCP-IP processing automatically when content is transferred. This allows the user to treat such transfers as normal data transfers without having to worry about DTCP-IP processing.

The SH7650 includes a PCI bus controller, so existing PC peripheral devices can be used. In addition, an on-chip host interface (HIF) allows easy connection of the SH7650 to another microprocessor. This function enables the SH7650 to be recognized and controlled by a main microprocessor performing system control in the same way as SRAM, allowing network-related function development to be carried out independently, simplifying product development.

The SH7650 incorporates a 32-bit SH-2 CPU core, with processing power of 173 MIPS at a maximum operating frequency of 133 MHz. DTCP-IP compatible functions provided in the SH7650 comprise a hardware encryption circuit block, plus firmware for encryption circuit block and content data transfer control.

Sample shipments of the SH7650 will begin in November 2005 in Japan. The package used is a 336-pin CSP (17 mm x 17 mm).

Sensory Introduces New Speech Recognition Microcontroller

Sensory has released the RSC-464 integrated circuit as the latest member of the RSC-4x family. It joins the RSC-4128, one of the most widely deployed speech recognition ICs, in providing speech recognition, synthesis and system control on a single chip.

The RSC-464 is a powerful general-purpose microcontroller inside a speech recognition system-on-chip that includes 16-bit ADC, DAC, digital filter unit, math unit, 4K RAM, 64K ROM, output amplification, timers, comparators and more. Priced at under $1.10 each in production quantities, the RSC-464 can be used as a replacement for existing microcontrollers, or as a slave for speech recognition, voice biometrics, and speech and music playback. The slave approach makes it easy to add to existing product designs with minimal changes to the primary controller software.

A variety of technologies in Sensory's FluentChip2.0 firmware library runs on the RSC-464, including speaker independent recognition (SI), speaker dependent recognition (SD), speaker verification (voice password) biometrics, voice record, speech compression/playback and MIDI-like music synthesis. This new version of FluentChip offers new options for combining SI and SD in a single command set, allowing for personalization that was never before possible.

Also available is a new technology that allows the RSC-464 to control mouth movements of animated dolls so the movements appear naturally in time with speech. All this makes it possible to create a product that "understands" speech out of the box, can be trained to recognize a particular person's voice, and also generates movements that make the product appear to be more natural and lifelike.

Sensory's Quick T2SI (Text to Speaker Independent) Toolkit complements the RSC-464, allowing for rapid creation of speaker independent command sets by simply typing in the desired recognition vocabulary as text. The recognition set of words or phrases can then be downloaded onto the included RSC-4x Demo/Evaluation Board for quick prototype creation and testing. This process yields a proven recognition set in a matter of minutes.

STMicroelectronics Extends ST7 USB Flash Microcontroller Family

The ST7263B now adds a 32-kByte high-density Flash memory variant to the existing 4-kByte, 8-kByte, and 16-kByte devices. For secure applications, the user memory code can be locked using the read/write protection feature. The family supports the Device Firmware Update class specification which allows the Flash memory content to be upgraded through the USB line, enabling new firmware to be downloaded directly from the Host to the USB product for field upgrades of application software.

The USB interface embeds an internal 3.3V voltage regulator and a USB transceiver, minimizing the need for external components. It supports low-power modes through the Suspend and Resume operations, and the data exchange between Host and the device is managed through three endpoints with In/Out configuration. With its embedded asynchronous serial communication interface, the ST7263B series can be used as a simple USB-to-serial bridge, useful for stand-alone applications that occasionally need to interact and exchange short messages with the host computer.

A broad range of package options is now available, including SO24, TQFP48 7x7mm, SO34, and SDIP32, and devices can also be supplied in die form. Pricing is $1.99 in quantities of 10,000.

STMicroelectronics Extends ST7Lite MCU Family

STMicroelectronics has announced a new series of 8-bit Flash microcontrollers within the low-cost ST7Lite family which add new embedded peripherals to the established ST7Lite feature set. The ST7FLITE3 MCUs introduce an enhanced 12-bit auto-reload timer and a master/slave LINSCI asynchronous interface into the 20-pin package.

The 12-bit timer offers four independent PWM output channels with programmable Dead Time generation, intended for use in half-bridge driving mode in motor control applications where PWM signals must not be allowed to overlap; a 2kHz to 4MHz frequency range; programmable duty cycles; polarity control; and programmable output modes.

The embedded hardware LINSCI asynchronous serial interface will enable smooth implementation of LIN bus applications. LINSCI is a hardware-enhanced SCI port designed to simplify software design and to increase system performance by reducing CPU overhead.

Other on-chip functions include an internal 1MHz oscillator, a 10-bit ADC with op-amp, and a trimmable Reset circuit with low voltage detection. The 8 kByte Extended Flash memory operates on a single power supply voltage.

The ST7FLITE3 is available now in 20-pin SO and DIP packages. Pricing is $1.30 in quantities of 10,000.

TI and Microchip Introduce ZigBee Protocol Stacks

Texas Instruments has partnered with Airbee Wireless to produce the free ZNS-Lite 4-node ZigBee-ready networking stack for the MSP430 platform.

Based on the MSP430F161x MCU with a Chipcon 802.15.4 radio for receiving and transmitting, TI's reference design also includes an example application note and PCB layout files. The software stack includes a "getting started" guide and a programmer's reference manual. A full version of the Airbee ZNS software can be purchased directly from Airbee.

ZigBee MSP430 Hardware evaluation boards, DZ1611/1612, are available from the MicroControllerShop. The boards feature the ZNS-Lite software pre-programmed on an MSP430F1611 or MSP430F1612 MCU, and also include a Chipcon CC2420 transceiver and PCB antenna.

Microchip Technology's free ZigBee Protocol Stack version 3.3 now supports the UBEC uz2400 ZigBee transceiver in addition to the Chipcon CC2420. The stack is small enough to fit onto a 16 kByte microcontroller for node applications. Full coordinator functions require 33.7 kBytes. There are no license or royalty fees for incorporating Microchip's stack into end-user applications.

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