April 2006 Embedded News Digest

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Welcome to the April 2006 edition of MicroController Pros Corporation's Embedded News Digest, your source for microcontroller and embedded system news.

This month's issue:

Atmel Introduces AP7000 Family AVR32-based SoCs
Fujitsu Introduces 32-bit MB91470 Microcontroller Series
Infineon Begins Volume Production of 130nm Embedded Flash MCUs
Microchip Launches ROM PICs with Flash Socket Compatibility
Philips Introduces Advanced Hi-Speed USB Microcontrollers
TI Announces Sampling of MSP430FG461x Family; Production of TMS470R1B1M
Toshiba Announces Availability of TMP92CZ26AXBG 32-bit CISC MCU
Toshiba Introduces New 8-bit and 16-bit MCUs
Toshiba Announces 32-bit RISC MCU with 2MB NANO FLASH

ZeroPlus Logic Analyzer Real-Time Data Compression: Up to 225x Increase in Available Sample Memory

Atmel Introduces AP7000 Family AVR32-based SoCs

Atmel Corporation has announced the AP7000 family of high-performance 32-bit digital signal controllers, the first family based on the company's high-throughput AVR32 core announced in February.

The AP7000 is the first processor family to integrate, on a single chip, virtually all the functionality required for multimedia systems deployed in mobile phones, digital cameras, PDAs, automotive infotainment, set-top boxes and home entertainment systems as well as network switches/routers and printers. It includes a vectored multiplier co-processor, 32 KB on-chip SRAM, 16 KB instruction and 16 KB data caches, memory management unit, DMA for high-speed peripherals and peripheral DMA controller that allows data to be transferred between peripherals and memories without wasting processor cycles.

Peripherals include a 16-bit stereo audio DAC, 2048x2048 pixel TFT/STN LCD controllers, 480 Mbps USB 2.0 with on-chip transceivers (PHY), and two 10/100 Ethernet MACs. Serial interfaces include RS232, USART, I2S, AC97, TWI/I2C, SPI, PS/2 and several synchronous serial modules (SSC) supporting most serial communication protocols.

The exceptional throughput of the AVR32 core allows applications to be executed at a lower clock frequency than is required by competing processors. Since power consumption is affected directly by the clock rate, low-frequency operation results in an immediate and proportional reduction in power consumption. The AP7000 family's dynamically controlled, multi-clock bus structure and SoC-level integration further reduce system power drain.

For example, streaming a 320x240 MPEG movie over the AP7000's on-chip Ethernet MAC at 100 Mbit/s and decoding it at 30 frames per second requires a CPU clock of only 120 MHz and system bus clock of only 60 MHz. The processor simultaneously also can run a full Linux operating system and drive a QVGA TFT LCD with these clock frequencies. Total power consumption for this application is only 250 mW when using an AP7000-family processor.

The AP7000 architecture has a multi-layer, high-speed bus architecture that increases performance by allowing multiple operations to take place in parallel. In addition, there are two peripheral bus bridges that allow different clock frequencies to be set for high- and low-speed peripherals. In a conventional bus structure, the bus clock is determined by the fastest peripheral, resulting in slower peripherals that could operate on a slower bus drawing unnecessary power. The AP7000 architecture allows the dynamic configuration of the individual clock frequencies of these two bridges, as well as those of the CPU's internal clock and that of the bus matrix.

Dynamic frequency scaling algorithms are used to set the clocks in each of the four domains at the lowest possible frequency for the function it is performing. For example, when the application is inactive but a Bluetooth or IrDA data transfer is occurring, clocks for the CPU, bus matrix and high-speed bridge may shut down, while the clock for the low-speed bridge is maintained.

The AVR32 core was designed from the ground up as a low clock frequency, low-power CPU with special emphasis on 1) maximizing the use of computational resources with a 7-stage pipeline and three parallel sub-pipelines that support automatic data forwarding and out-of-order execution, 2) single-cycle load/store instructions with pointer arithmetic that reduces cycles required for load/store, 3) accurate branch prediction with zero-penalty branches, and 4) maximizing code density to reduce cache misses.

Unlike multicore or two-processor solutions, the AP7000 family uses a single development environment for straightforward debugging. The AVR32 Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) is specifically designed for high-level programming languages like C, C++ and Java. Compilers with C and C++ support include GNU GCC and IAR Systems' Embedded Workbench. The compilers are able to utilize the AVR32 architecture's SIMD- and DSP instructions from within the C/C++ programming environment. Both compilers support access to in-line assembly for tight-loop / inner-loop algorithmic optimizations.

The AP7000 family has a fully-supported Linux 2.6 kernel to further ease the transition of existing code or the adoption of the freely available numerous open-source applications that are available for use in embedded systems.

The first device of the AP7000 family, the AT32AP7000, is available now in a 256-ball CABGA package and is priced at $16.60 in quantities of 10,000. The new STK1000 starter kit is available from Atmel at $499, providing a complete development environment.

Fujitsu Introduces 32-bit MB91470 Microcontroller Series

Fujitsu Microelectronics America has announced that the latest addition to its FR family of RISC-based 32-bit microcontrollers, the MB91470 series, will be available in June 2006.

Fujitsu's first offering in the series, the MB91F479, includes triple ADC modules that support a total of 20 channels of high-performance A/D converters, which permits the microcontroller to accept inputs from as many as 20 sensors. Three of these channels can execute simultaneously. Two of the ADC units have 12-bit resolution, and another one supports 8- or 10-bit resolution to support a highly accurate control requirement. The incorporation of 20 sensors allows the MCU to detect very small changes in data from the sensors and to operate very smoothly.

Built around the 80MHz FR60, the MB91F479 operates at high speeds to process complex information in real time. A MAC (Multiplication and Addition Calculator) circuit performs product-sum calculations separate from the CPU, providing faster processing and reducing the total CPU load.

The MB91F479 is manufactured using Fujitsu's 0.18-micron CMOS process, and packaged in 144-pin LQFP. Samples will be available in June 2006, with sample prices starting at $15 each.

Infineon Begins Volume Production of 130nm Embedded Flash MCUs

Infineon Technologies has begun series production of its most advanced 32-bit embedded Flash microcontrollers for automotive applications. This marks the first high-volume output of embedded Flash products using 130nm technology.

The TC1796 and TC1766 Flash microcontrollers differ from each other in their clock frequency, the size of the embedded Flash memory, and the set of peripherals they offer. Each is designed for use in a different type of vehicle. The TC1796 is optimized primarily for top-end vehicle classes with engines of six or more cylinders, and the TC1766 is intended for four- to six-cylinder engines. The microcontrollers meet the very demanding performance, safety and reliability requirements of modern intelligent diesel and gas engine control systems, and help to reduce fuel consumption and emissions so that vehicles comply with current and future European and American emission regulations.

The TC1766 was developed for use in cost-optimized engine and transmission control systems. It offers clock rates of up to 80 MHz and a powerful set of peripherals tailored to the requirements of standard powertrain applications, and comes with 1.5 Megabyte (MB) of embedded Flash memory. The TC1796 operates at clock rates of up to 150 MHz and has 2 MB of embedded Flash memory. It is almost twice as fast as the TC1766, has around 30 percent more memory and considerably more I/O. It also offers an expanded peripheral set capable of satisfying the requirements of even the most complex engine control systems.

The AUDO-NG family is based on Infineon's TriCore processor architecture, which combines the strengths of a microcontroller, a microprocessor and a digital signal processor (DSP) in a single core. All AUDO-NG products feature a multiprocessor interface (MultiLink Interface MLI) specially matched to the demands of powertrain applications. This interface allows multiple AUDO-NG microcontrollers to exchange data streams with each other and is a key enabler for future powertrain systems based on multiple microcontroller distributed intelligence platform.

Microchip Launches ROM PICs with Flash Socket Compatibility

Microchip Technology has announced the availability of new complementary read-only-memory (ROM) PIC microcontrollers in the PIC16 family. The PIC16CR73, PIC16CR74, PIC16CR76 and PIC16CR77 (PIC16CR7X) general-purpose ROM microcontrollers are the first in a new series of ROM microcontrollers in the PIC16 and PIC18 families from Microchip. The new microcontrollers provide the first seamlessly interchangeable options for Microchip's popular PIC16F73, PIC16F74, PIC16F76 and PIC16F77 (PIC16F7X) Flash products. Manufacturers now have the option of switching between Flash and ROM memory types throughout development and production, which results in shorter time-to-market, reduced scrap and lower overall costs.

The PIC16CR7X ROM PIC microcontrollers allow manufacturers to enjoy the cost-effectiveness of ROM for high volume production, while enjoying the flexibility and short lead times of Microchip's Flash microcontrollers for development. Additionally, because of their interchangeability with Flash versions, the new ROM microcontrollers solve many challenges that high-volume manufacturers face.

The same development tools that serve existing Microchip Flash PIC microcontrollers support the ROM PIC microcontrollers. New tools do not need to be purchased or learned, further shortening time-to-market and reducing program costs.

Philips Introduces Advanced Hi-Speed USB Microcontrollers

Royal Philips Electronics has unveiled the LPC2800 series, the first ARM7 MCU to deliver USB 2.0 device capabilities with maximum standard compliance and an on-chip Hi-Speed 480 Mbits/sec transceiver (PHY), and the first to enable single battery cell operation. These unique features allow embedded system design engineers to incorporate new capabilities into products such as PC peripherals, SD memory cards, smart card readers, and other USB battery-powered devices.

The LPC2800 series integrates many other high-performance peripheral features that simplify system design, including 1MB of Flash and 8KB cache for efficient external memory operation; I2S channels with DMA for input/output of digital audio streams; and a sigma-delta 16-bit A/D converter with PGA for enhanced resolution. The advanced power-management features of the LPC2800 allow operation from a single AA 1.5v battery cell, a USB cable, or an external power supply, maximizing battery life and design flexibility.

Samples of the Philips LPC2800 series microcontrollers (LPC2880 and LPC2888) are available immediately. The devices are available in a 10mm x 10mm TFBGA180 package, with a temperature range of -40 to +85 degrees C.

TI Announces Sampling of MSP430FG461x Family; Production of TMS470R1B1M

Texas Instruments has announced sampling of the new MSP430FG461x series of ultra-low power MCUs with up to 120KB Flash memory, and volume availability of the TMS470R1B1M ARM7-based MCUs with 1MB flash memory. MSP430 and TMS470 MCUs are ideal for emerging applications that are adding new features and functionality such as advanced user interfaces with multi-language support, voice and speech interfaces, real-time operating systems and wireless networking stacks.

Continuing the MSP430 ultra-low power MCU portfolio expansion, the new MSP43FG461x series of devices is the first to incorporate the MSP430X architecture with an extended 1MB memory model, allowing access to 16 times more memory compared to the 64KB available today. New extended addressing modes designed for the large memory allow optimal high-level code density with full backward compatibility, making it possible to develop very sophisticated real-time applications completely in modular C libraries. Using the extended addressing modes, higher C code density and faster execution is achieved reducing the number of cycles by up to 25 percent when addressing peripherals, Flash, or RAM and more than 50 percent for a full context store.

As the first MSP430X device, the MSP430FG461x MCU series includes up to 120KB of Flash and up to 8KB RAM, offering a complete signal-chain-on-chip (SCoC) solution ideal for portable medical devices like glucose meters, digital pulse oximeters and wireless electrocardiograms that require highly integrated intelligent peripherals and larger memory options on a single chip.

FG461x devices are the most highly integrated MSP430 MCUs to date. These devices include a 12-channel 200ksps successive approximation register (SAR), 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) with internal voltage reference; two 12-bit digital-to-analog converters (DACs) with 1 microsecond code-to-code settling time; three op-amps with 5nA input leakage current consumption; a direct memory access (DMA) controller for ultra-low power operation with no CPU intervention; an LCD driver with regulated charge pump; one hardware real-time clock featuring calendar and time registers; a 32-bit counter; and a universal serial communications interface (USCI) including UART, IrDA, SPI, and I2C.

The FG461x MCU consumes less than 2uA in a real-time clock stand-by mode operation, and allows operation from a single coin cell for up to 10 years. The new devices also support multiple low-power operating modes with a wake-up time of less than 6 mircoseconds, and zero-power brown-out reset (BOR). The FG461x MCU series provides designers with pin-for-pin memory migration from the MSP430F449 MCU. Additional MSP430X-based device introductions are planned throughout 2007.

Available today in volume quantities, the ARM7TDMI-based TMS470R1B1M offers 1MB Flash, 64KB RAM, and up to 60MHz of 32-bit performance for general-purpose applications that include industrial, medical instrumentation, consumer electronics, and data processing.

As one of five ARM7-based TI devices with more than 256KB of Flash memory, the TMS470R1B1M MCU is a highly integrated solution including a unique, programmable, 32-channel high-end timer (HET) RISC co-processor for greater accuracy in timing functions like period and pulse measurements, output compare, and pulse width modulations (PWMs). The HET co-processor runs in parallel and completely independently of the ARM7 CPU, providing significantly higher system performance. TMS470 MCUs also include a multi-buffered, 10-bit ADC with a 1.55 microsecond conversion time and a variety of industry standard peripherals that, like the HET, offload processing from the CPU. These include two high-end CAN controllers (HECC), five I2C modules, three serial communication interfaces, two serial peripheral interfaces (SPI), and a 16-channel Direct Memory Access (DMA) controller.

The MSP430FG461x series of MCUs will be available for sampling in mid-2006. In volume, the devices will start at $9.45 per 1K quantities. TMS470R1B1M MCUs are immediately available in volume and start at $14.95 for 1K quantities.

Toshiba Announces Availability of TMP92CZ26AXBG 32-bit CISC MCU

Toshiba America Electronic Components announced the availability of a new 32-bit complex instruction set computer (CISC) microcontroller that runs at 80MHz internally to achieve 40 MIPS computing performance with power consumption of only 80mW. Designated TMP92CZ26AXBG and equipped with 288 KB of RAM, the highly integrated device is targeted at a wide range of applications, including mobile devices.

Based on 0.18-micron process technology, the new device integrates Toshiba's high-speed 32-bit TLCS-900/H1 CPU core that supports multiple real-time tasks simultaneously. An on-chip PLL circuit converts external signals to the CPU's internal clock rate of 80MHz, achieving 40 MIPS performance and low power consumption of approximately 80mW when the RAM is operating at room temperature and running at 1.5V.

The built-in RAM of 288KB with short access times allows the CPU to reach maximum performance. Compared to its predecessor, this device supports a wider range of audio decode, JPEG decode (including Moving JPEG), and other applications. Other on-chip functions include a color-ready LCD controller that supports STN and TFT displays, a full-speed USB device controller and a multi-level cell NAND Flash memory controller. Toshiba is developing Text-to-Speech technology with high-quality natural sound characteristics. The device supports MP3 decoding with dedicated software IP licensed from Techno Mathematical Co.

The TMP92CZ26AXB comes in 228-pin PFBGA. Samples are available now, and the device went into volume production in March 2006 at a rate of 30,000 units per month. Pricing is $7.00 each in 10,000-piece quantities.

Toshiba Introduces New 8-bit and 16-bit MCUs

Toshiba America Electronic Components announced the expansion of its embedded Flash MCU product line with the addition of a new 16-bit MCU and six new 8-bit MCUs based on SuperFlash technology. The TMP91FY42FG, Toshiba's first 16-bit device with high-capacity SuperFlash memory, integrates 256Kbytes of flash memory and was designed for medium- to high-end applications, including industrial control, security systems and handheld products. With the addition of the latest devices, the family now consists of 19 MCUs targeting a wide range of applications, including consumer and industrial products.

The TMP91FY42FG combines a high-capacity Flash memory of 256Kbytes with an integrated 10-bit 8-channel ADC, an 8-channel 8-bit timer, a 2-channel 16-bit timer, and a watchdog timer. I/O functions include a 2-channel SIO/UART, an I2C interface, support for IrDA version 1.0 at 115.2kbps, and 81 I/O ports. Additional on-board memory includes 16Kbytes of internal RAM and 4Kbytes of mask ROM for booting; external memory expansion to 16Mbytes is fully supported. The high-speed MCU is based on Toshiba's ultra-low-power TLCS-900/L1 processor core and operates with voltages between 2.7V and 3.6V. The minimum instruction execution time is only 148 nanoseconds at 27 MHz. Overall power consumption is further reduced by the three standby modes, including a programmable idle option. The device is fully compatible with other Toshiba devices based on the TLCS-900/L and TLCS-900/H cores. Packaging is a compact 100-pin LQFP package with dimensions of 14mm x 14mm.

The new 8-bit MCUs consist of six devices (TMP86FH09NG, TMP86FH12MG, TMP86FH12MG, TMP86FS28FG, TMP86FH47AUG, and TMP86FS64FG) with Flash memory configurations ranging from 16Kbytes to 60Kbytes and various RAM, peripheral and packaging options. Two of the devices incorporate an LCD controller for powering displays. The devices incorporate the high-performance Toshiba TLCS-870/C 8-bit CPU core.

Toshiba's SuperFlash implementation can be programmed much faster than many alternative Flash technologies. The availability of three distinct programming modes -- parallel, serial PROM, and in-system programming (ISP) -- provides pre- and post-production programming flexibility. ISP mode allows upgrades and fixes in the field under control of the user program. This removes the need to switch off the output to an LCD panel or active output controls.

Samples of all of these devices are available now and they are in volume production. The 16-bit TMP91FY42FG is priced at $6.45 in 10,000-piece quantities. Pricing for the 8-bit devices varies, depending on the device specifications. For example, TMP86FH09NG is priced at $1.19 in 10,000-piece quantities.

Toshiba Announces 32-bit RISC MCU with 2MB NANO FLASH

Toshiba America Electronic Components announced the availability of a new 32-bit, single-chip MIPS-based RISC microcontroller with 2MB of on-chip NANO FLASH memory. Designated TMP19A64F20AXBG and operating at 54 MHz, the MCU is targeted at battery-operated digital consumer applications, including digital video cameras.

The TMP19A64F20AXBG integrates the Toshiba TX19A core with its excellent code efficiency and interrupt responsiveness, 2MB of NANO FLASH memory and 64KB of RAM. A new backup mode function achieves reduced power consumption by suppressing current leakage even when in standby mode. In backup mode, power consumption is only 5 microamperes at 2.7V. The backup mode function also supports the real-time clock and a small amount of RAM. Other built-in functions include a 24-channel by 10-bit high-speed ADC with a conversion speed of 8.44 microseconds and an 8-channel high-speed serial interface. The device features an extremely fast multiply/accumulate (MAC) capability of 32 bit by 32 bit plus 64 bit in a single clock cycle.

Toshiba NANO FLASH is a new technology for embedded Flash MCUs that combines the best attributes of a NAND Flash cell and a NOR peripheral circuit to create high-density embedded memory with ultra-low power consumption. NANO FLASH technology uses a NOR architecture with memory cells connected in parallel to bit-lanes to achieve the high-speed random access required for embedded program memory. It employs NAND Flash cell technology with Fowler-Nordheim (FN) tunneling to provide very fast program and erase times with ultra-low power consumption. In addition, Toshiba improved the readout circuit and its timing control which diminished DC current dissipation and allowed low-power consumption. Finally, the process was changed from a memory process to a logic process in order to embed the Flash memory cells with high-performance CMOS technology.

Samples of the TMP19A64F20AXBG NANO FLASH MCU are available now and the device is in volume production. Pricing of TMP19A64F20AXBG is $27.00 in 10,000-piece quantities.

A mask ROM version, TMP19A64C1DXBG, is also available with sample shipments planned to start this month. Pricing of TMP19A64C1DXBG is expected to be $18.00 in 10,000-piece quantities. Mass production is expected to begin in June 2006. The combined production volume of the NANO FLASH and mask ROM versions is expected to total 500,000 pieces per month.

ZeroPlus Logic Analyzer Real-Time Data Compression: Up to 225x Increase in Available Sample Memory

ZeroPlus' line of PC based Logic Analyzers deliver exceptional value and performance and come with a feature set that make them an interesting debug tool for embedded designs. Through the use of patented compression technology the memory available for capturing samples is increased by up to 255 times, thus giving the user up to 255 Mbits per channel of storage. A "Start" button on the Logic Analyzer hardware unit allows for quick and easy capture of samples "on the fly".

The logic analyzers feature a USB2.0 port which operates at the full 480Mbps speed, but is also backward compatible to USB1.1, 12Mbps high speed data rates. The units are powered via the USB bus, eliminating the need for external power supplies and resulting in small portable logic analyzers ideally suited for in-field work.

All models feature a 100Hz to 200MHz internal sampling frequency. The max. external sample clock can be up to 100MHz. The 16 channel model starts at only US$450.00 and features 4 Mbits of memory (256kbits/channel).  The 32 channel models add a built-in I2C protocol analyzer function and are available with 4Mbits (128kbits/channel, US$900.00) and 32Mbits (1Mbit/channel, US$1505.00) of sample memory.

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