October 2006 Embedded News Digest

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

This month's issue:

Correction to September 2006 Article on STR750 Launch
Atmel Offers ARM7 MCUs Supporting 1GB+ SDRAM, NAND Flash and CF
Crossware Adds C++ Language Support to ARM and ColdFire Suites
Freescale Introduces 32-Bit Dual-Core Automotive MCUs
Freescale Introduces Cost-Effective S12XS 16-bit MCU Family
Freescale Delivers Instrumentation MCU with TFT Display Drive
Fujitsu Introduces New 32-bit Microcontrollers with CAN Support

IBM Introduces New PowerPC Processors Targeting Embedded Applications
Silicon Laboratories Announces Automotive MCU Family

TI Presents 5th Annual MSP430 Advanced Technical Conference
Toshiba Introduces 32-bit SuperFlash MCU with USB Host

Toshiba Expands Embedded Flash MCU Line with New 16- and 32-bit Devices
ZiLOG Extends Crimzon Infrared Remote Microcontroller Family

Correction to September 2006 Article on STR750 Launch

Due to being sent in 7-bit ASCII, the email version of this newsletter contained errors in last month's announcement of the STMicroelectronics STR750 ARM7 Flash microcontrollers. The micro sign on certain values vanished when the article was converted to plain text. The STR750's low-power modes consume as little as 12 microAmps in STOP or 10 microAmps in STANDBY modes, and its fast startup capability allows it to begin executing code in only 55 microseconds.

Atmel Offers ARM7 MCUs Supporting 1GB+ SDRAM, NAND Flash and CF

Atmel Corporation has added three new microcontrollers to its SAM7 family of ARM7-based USB MCUs. Available in Flash memory densities of 32, 256, and 512 Kbytes, the SAM7SE microcontrollers are the only ARM7-based MCUs to include an external bus interface (EBI) that provides access to massive amounts of external NAND Flash, SDRAM, CompactFlash®, SRAM and ROM storage.

The EBI on Atmel's AT91SAM7SE MCUs supports 32-bit NAND Flash, SDRAM and CompactFlash memories in TrueIDE mode. It includes a NAND Flash controller with a complementary error-correcting code controller (ECC) that compensates for bits that are lost by NAND Flash memory over time. A built-in memory controller offers up to eight configurable chip selects and supports a wide range of 16- and 32-bit static devices including SRAM, ROM, Flash, memory-mapped LCD and FPGA.

Data-logging applications usually have been implemented with  ARM9-based microcontrollers because they were the only MCUs available that supported SDRAM and NAND Flash memories. Conventional ARM7 MCUs require intensive bit manipulation through the general-purpose I/O in these applications, which significantly reduces the available processing power. With the advent of Atmel's SAM7E family, designers can now use these smaller-footprint, ARM7-based MCUs.

A major problem when using external memory or logic is that it makes the on-chip Flash vulnerable to potentially unauthorized external access. Atmel's SAM7E microcontrollers have several features that secure the code: 1) the MCU cannot boot from external memory; 2) a Flash security bit disables the Fast Flash Programming Interface (FFPI) and JTAG access to the on-chip Flash memory; and 3) a memory protection unit (MPU) can be configured to enforce code execution from on-chip Flash, thereby preventing execution from an outside source.

Dual-bank Flash memory on the 512 KByte SAM7SE allows true read-while-write capability, so systems can be reprogrammed while continuing to operate. The dual-bank memory also protects the system from power failures or other errors that can cause an unrecoverable system failure.

Modern communications protocols have maximum data rates that conventional ARM7 MCUs cannot support. For example, full-speed USB operates at 12 Mbps and high-speed SPI operates at 25 Mbps. At only 4 Mbps, conventional ARM7s become so bogged down that they cannot effectively process data. Like Atmel's other SAM7 MCUs, the SAM7SE-series has an 11-channel peripheral DMA controller (PDC) that increases on-chip bandwidth to 10 Mbps while maintaining 96% of the CPU's cycles for application processing. The PDC can store the streaming content directly in the external NAND Flash or SDRAM without CPU intervention.

The SAM7SE-series includes the same supervisory features found on 8-bit MCUs, including a brown-out detector, power-on reset, real-time clock, crystal oscillator, watchdog timer, and three 16-bit timers. Communication interfaces include three USARTs, USB, TWI, I2S (SSC) and SPI. The device also has four pulse-width modulators (PWM), an 8-channel, 10-bit analog-to-digital controller (ADC) and 88 I/O pins.

Traditional MCUs multiplex the peripherals, frequently creating a bottleneck when there are multiple peripheral accesses. Three individual PIO controllers avoid this problem. When the EBI is not in use, all peripherals can be accessed simultaneously.

The AT91SAM7SE512 is available now in 128 pin Green QFP or BGA packages and priced at $8.43 and $9.38, respectively, in quantities of 10,000. The AT91SAM7SE256 and AT91SAM7SE32 will be available in early 2007.

Crossware Adds C++ Language Support to ARM and ColdFire Suites

Crossware has added C++ language support to its ARM Development Suite and its ColdFire Development Suite. This allows developers to program in both C and C++ to suit the needs of the particular application under development. As C++ is an object-orientated language, it makes programs easier to understand, maintain, enhance and upgrade.

Migrating from C to C++ with the Crossware suites is easy. Adding two instructions to the startup code is sufficient to handle the construction and destruction of global C++ objects, and C source files can be switched to the C++ language simply by giving them a .CPP extension.

The Crossware Code Creation Wizards are compatible with both C and C++. For example, if the Code Creation Wizards are used to insert code into a C++ source file, functions that must remain in C, such as interrupt handlers, are automatically qualified to keep them as C functions.

Freescale Introduces 32-Bit Dual-Core Automotive MCUs

The latest addition to Freescale's MPC55xx portfolio, the MPC5510 family is the first line of 32-bit automotive MCUs featuring a dual-core architecture with flexible low-power modes. Built on Power Architecture technology, the MPC5510 family delivers a range of price/performance options and supports extensive communications capabilities, including the FlexRay, CAN and LIN protocols.

The MPC5510 family scales from single-core MCUs (with 384KB of embedded Flash, low pin count and reduced feature sets) up to 80MHz dual-core devices (with 1MB of Flash and advanced communications peripherals). This scalability enables developers to address a broad range of body electronics applications with a flexible platform architecture that extends to other members of the MPC55xx portfolio. Target applications include body control modules (BCMs), gateways (linking FlexRay to CAN and LIN networks), instrument cluster controllers, center stack display controllers and smart junction boxes.

Supported by a crossbar switch architecture and 16-channel enhanced DMA, Freescale's  dual-core design makes the MPC5510 family one of the most efficient, low-power 32-bit automotive MCUs in the market. The MPC5510 family also enables customers to migrate to higher levels of integration in central body electronics and connect the body electronics domain to a FlexRay network.

Freescale plans to offer samples of the MPC5510 family in Q1 2007. Package options will include 144-pin LQFP and 208-pin MAPBGA. A starter kit including an evaluation board and debug interface is planned for April 2007.

Freescale Introduces Cost-Effective S12XS 16-bit MCU Family

Freescale Semiconductor has unveiled a 16-bit MCU family optimized for a broad range of cost-sensitive automotive body electronics applications. The family includes six devices designed to give customers flexibility in choosing different memory, package and cost options to accommodate their application requirements.

The MC9S12XS family provides a cost-effective complement to the high-performance S12XE MCU family. Key features include 32MHz core and bus speed; 64KB, 128KB and 256KB Flash memory options, all with error correction code (ECC); 4KB to 8KB DataFlash with ECC, used for data or program storage; configurable 8- ,10- or 12-bit ADC capable of 3-microsecond conversion time; support for CAN, LIN and SPI protocols; and an 8-channel timer with 16-bit counters. Package options include 48 QFN, 64 LQFP, 80 QFP, and 112 LQFP.

Freescale plans to offer samples of MC9S12XS family devices in Q1 2007.

Freescale Delivers Instrumentation MCU with TFT Display Drive

Freescale Semiconductor has introduced a 16-bit MCU designed for the next wave in automotive instrumentation clusters. The MC9S12XHZ512 MCU is the industry's first instrumentation cluster MCU featuring an integrated TFT display driver.

With its on-chip TFT driver, the S12XHZ512 device enables instrumentation cluster designers to reduce the complexity of their designs and implement high-quality graphic displays on low-end automotive dashboards in a timely, cost-effective manner. TFT displays -- standard fare in laptops, cell phones and other mobile appliances -- are gaining momentum in the mainstream automotive market as the technology becomes more cost effective. Freescale's latest MCU addresses the instrumentation cluster market, and TFT applications in particular, by offering optimal integration and application-specific features.

In addition to supporting TFT displays, the device can drive analog gauges, LCDs and LED displays. Key S12XHZ512 features for instrumentation cluster designers include 512KB of on-chip Flash memory (twice that of its S12HZ predecessor), an LCD driver and stepper motor drivers for gauges.

The S12XHZ512 MCU takes S12HZ family integration a step further by incorporating Freescale's XGATE module. With its RISC architecture and C-language programmability, the on-chip XGATE module functions like a dedicated coprocessor for the main CPU. The  XGATE module can drive a 30,000-pixel TFT display directly, without the need for an external graphics driver IC. With the addition of a low-cost 100K-gate FPGA, the XGATE can drive an even larger QVGA. In both application examples, designers can achieve an estimated system cost savings of $2-$4 when compared to using standard microcontrollers without an integrated TFT driver.

The MC9S12XHZ512 offers the standard features of the existing members of the HZ family, such as six stepper drives with patented stall-detection capability and a 32x4 LCD drive.

The MC9S12XHZ512 MCU is available now in sample quantities. Package options include 112-pin LQFP and 80-pin QFP.

Fujitsu Introduces New 32-bit Microcontrollers with CAN Support

Fujitsu Microelectronics America introduced three new high-performance, 32-bit microcontrollers for next-generation automotive applications. The new ICs, part of Fujitsu's MB91460 series, include the MB91F464AA and MB91F465KA, which have been designed for automotive body control applications. The third MCU, the MB91F467RA, was designed for on-board entertainment and information systems. All three MCUs incorporate CAN interfaces and are available now.

The MB91F465KA and the MB91F464AA serve door, seat, air conditioning and other vehicle body controls. Both include a CAN channel, 32 CAN message buffers and five UART channels that comply with the LIN standard. Designed for car navigation, audio, and other information system controls, the MB91F467RA includes two CAN channels, either 32 or 64 CAN message buffers, and seven LIN-compliant UART channels. LIN interfaces are used for vehicle door, mirror, and wiper controls.

All the new MCUs run at clock speeds of up to 80MHz, and have embedded Flash memory.

Fujitsu plans to augment its line of microcontrollers for next-generation, on-board vehicle systems, with new models planned for dashboard and FlexRay controls.

The MB91F464AA, which comes in 100-pin LQFP packages, is priced at $8.52 each in volume. The MB91F465KA is available in 120-pin LQFP packages and is priced at $9.73 each in volume. The 176-pin LQFP MB91F467RA costs $17.04 each in volume.

IBM Introduces New PowerPC Processors Targeting Embedded Applications

IBM has announced new, low-power additions to its Power Architecture line of microprocessors and new processor cores that address the growing demand for high-performance processors that conserve energy.

The PowerPC 750CL, a 32-bit microprocessor, consumes half the energy as its predecessor, and performs at speeds ranging from 400MHz to 1GHz. The 750CL includes a 256KB L2 cache, and is targeted at networking, storage, imaging, consumer electronic and other high-performance embedded applications.

The PowerPC 970GX, a follow-on to the PowerPC 970FX, supports both 32-bit and 64-bit operations. It features the same power capabilities as its predecessor, but incorporates twice the integrated L2 cache at 1MB. The range of frequencies for the 970GX is 1.2 to 2.5GHz, enabling the chip to support high-bandwidth data processing and algorithmic-intensive computations, making it suitable for communications, storage, multimedia and graphics-based devices.

IBM also introduced the CPC965, a companion chip to the 970 series of processors designed to provide I/O connectivity and run at significantly less power than comparative bridge chips. The highly integrated CPC965 features a very high speed front bus that operates at up to half the processor frequency. Shipment of CPC965 samples is planned for March 2007.

IBM also announced three new 32-bit processor cores, including:

The 460S synthesizable core, which will allow designers to select the size L1 and L2 cache sizes and processor local bus (PLB) version necessary for implementing a single or cache coherent multi-processor design, and can be manufactured in any fabricator worldwide.

The 464FP H90, which is similar to the 464 H90 hard core, but with an integrated double precision floating point unit. Both application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) cores allow customers to more easily customize a chip design and have it manufactured with IBM or at Common Platform manufacturing facilities at Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing and Samsung Electronics Co, Ltd.

Advances found within all three processor cores include:

• Low-power capability: The cores are high performance with virtually the same power requirements as their predecessors. The 464 H90 hard core is expected to dissipate slightly more than half a Watt (530mW) at 1GHz performance.
• Local bus connectivity: With IBM CoreConnect on-chip system architecture for easy support of system-on-chip (SoC) customizable designs.
• Application support: Designed for embedded applications including communications, network, aerospace and defense, consumer electronics, storage and printers.
Both PowerPC processors and the two ASIC hard cores are manufactured using IBM's 90-nanometer copper processing technology. The microprocessors also feature silicon-on-insulator technology.

The 464 H90 hard core preliminary design kit is targeted for availability at the end of the year with the 464FP H90 preliminary design kit targeted in first quarter 2007. The planned availability of the 460S is second quarter 2007.

Silicon Laboratories Announces Automotive MCU Family

Silicon Laboratories announced the C8051F52/3x family of high-perfomance mixed-signal MCUs in a small footprint, targeted at automotive electronics applications.

The C8051F52x MCU family is the first to combine a +/-0.5% integrated precision internal oscillator with 8K Flash, 25 MIPS, 12-bit ADC, dedicated LIN 2.0 controller, 16-bit timers/PWM, SPI, UART, and six I/O lines in a small 3 x 3 mm QFN package. The C8051F53x MCU family has the same feature set but adds 10 additional I/O lines and is offered in 20-pin QFN and TSSOP packages. Both families integrate additional analog features such as programmable comparators, voltage regulators, and on-board temperature sensors to further reduce design complexity. This highly-integrated architecture enables automotive electronics designers to simplify the design process and reduce bill of materials.

The C8051F52/3x MCU family provides automotive electronics applications with greater functionality, sensing and control. For example, the integrated LIN 2.0 controller combined with the ultra-high-precision internal oscillator enables designers to implement LIN master-mode communication networks without the need for external timing components, further reducing overall system cost. The C8051F52/3x MCU family also includes power-on-reset, brown-out protection, and a watchdog timer reset, helping designers to create reliable and durable electronics systems. In addition, Silicon Laboratories' patented MCU technology has been field tested and optimized for rigorous automotive specifications and maintains full performance over the complete automotive temperature range (-40 to +125 degrees C).

Samples of the C8051F52/3x MCU family are available now with fully AEC-Q100 qualified production in the second quarter of 2007. Pricing for the C8051F530 begins at $1.79 and the C8051F520 begins at $1.49, each in quantities of 10,000.

TI Presents 5th Annual MSP430 Advanced Technical Conference

The MSP430 Advanced Technical Conference 2006 will be held at six locations worldwide starting this month. Attendees will be able to experience the latest MSP430 MCUs through hands-on labs, collaborate with MSP430 technology experts and third-party vendors, and master the MSP430 through challenging new labs and technical lectures. The conference offers multiple tracks of courses taught by MSP430 senior applications engineers, MSP430 customers, third parties and universities. As well as new course material for previous attendees, the conference will include a series of introductory courses for those getting started on the MSP430.

Attendees will receive a free Experimenter's Board containing the new MSP430FG4619 and MSP430F2013 MCUs, an LCD, microphone, speaker, touchpad, buttons, prototype space, communication interface, JTAG interface, and ports for plugging in a Chipcon C1100 EVM radio interface.

Event locations and dates:

Dallas, Texas -- November 7-9
Tokyo, Japan -- November 28-29
Sonthofen, Germany -- December 5-7
Shenzhen, China -- December 11-12
Taipei, Taiwan -- December 14-15
Bangalore, India -- January 9-10

To register, go to www.ti.com/atc.

Toshiba Introduces 32-bit SuperFlash MCU with USB Host

Toshiba America Electronic Components announced the expansion of its embedded Flash MCU product line with the addition of a new 32-bit CISC MCU based on SuperFlash technology. Designated TMP92FD28FG/DFG, it is Toshiba's first MCU to combine a high-performance SuperFlash MCU for audio control with a USB host controller. It is targeted at automotive and consumer digital-audio applications. In addition, the company introduced a mask-ROM version of the device.

The TMP92FD28FG/DFG 32-bit MCU combines 512 Kbytes of Flash memory and 32 Kbytes of RAM. The high-speed, high-performance MCU is based on Toshiba's TLCS-900/H1 processor core and operates with voltages between 3.0V and 3.6V. The minimum instruction execution time is only 50ns at 20MHz. The built-in USB host controller supports USB2.0 with full-speed operation of 12Mbps. In addition, it has a high-speed serial interface and a variety of general interfaces that can communicate with memory-storage devices, such as SD cards or memory sticks, and support the main functions required in digital-audio products.

Package options include a 100-pin P-LQFP at 14mm x 14mm with 0.5mm pitch, or a 100-pin P-QFP at 14mm x 20mm with 0.65mm pitch.

Samples of the Flash-memory version, TMP92FD28FG/DFG, are available now, with volume production slated to begin in December 2006. TMP92FD28FG/DFG is priced at $21.00 in 10,000-piece quantities. Samples of the mask-ROM version, TMP92CD28FG/DFG, are projected to be available in the second quarter of 2007 with volume production planned to commence in the second quarter of 2007. TMP92CD28FG/DFG is priced at $13.00 in 10,000-piece quantities.

Toshiba Expands Embedded Flash MCU Line with New 16- and 32-bit Devices

Toshiba America Electronic Components announced two new 16-bit MCUs and a new 32-bit MCU based on SuperFlash technology. TMP91FW40FG is Toshiba's first 16-bit SuperFlash-based MCU to incorporate an LCD controller, and was designed for electronic metering and similar applications that require 16-bit performance to drive an LCD display. TMP91FW60FG/DFG is a 16-bit device that offers a combination of 128 Kbytes of Flash memory and 8 Kbytes of RAM plus 5V compliance, making it ideal for robust industrial and white goods applications. TMP92FD23AFG/ADFG is a 32-bit MCU that incorporates 512 Kbytes of Flash memory and 32 Kbytes of RAM, making it well suited for many industrial applications, such as vending machines and industrial control.

The low-voltage, low-power TMP91FW40FG 16-bit MCU combines 128 Kbytes of Flash memory and 4 Kbytes of RAM with an anti-hypertensive-type LCD driver that can directly drive from 8 to 40 segments x 4 commons. The high-speed MCU is based on Toshiba's ultra-low-power TLCS-900/L1 processor core and operates with voltages between 2.2V and 3.6V. The minimum instruction execution time is only 148ns at 27MHz. Overall power consumption is further reduced by a dual clock and three standby modes, including a programmable idle option. It also offers an integrated 4-channel 10-bit ADC, a 4-channel 8-bit timer, a 3-channel 16-bit timer, and a real-time clock with a calendar function. I/O functions include a 4-channel SIO/UART and 61 I/O ports. Packaging is a compact 100-pin LQFP package with dimensions of 14mm x 14mm with 0.50mm pitch. A mask ROM version (TMP91CW40FG) is also available.

The TMP91FW60FG/DFG 16-bit MCU combines 128 Kbytes of Flash memory and 8 Kbytes of RAM. This low-power MCU is based on Toshiba's TLCS-900/L1 processor core, and has operating voltage of 4.5V to 5.5V and a minimum instruction execution time of 200ns at 20MHz. It also provides an integrated 16-channel 10-bit ADC, a 6-channel 8-bit timer, a 5-channel 16-bit timer, and a real-time counter. I/O functions include a 3-channel SIO/UART, 2-channel I2C/SIO and 83 I/O ports. Also, it incorporates six banks of program-patch logic. Packaging options consist of a 100-pin LQFP package with dimensions of 14mm x 14mm with 0.50mm pitch (TMP91FW60FG) or a 100-pin QFP package with dimensions of 14mm x 20mm with 0.65mm pitch (TMP91FW60DFG). A mask ROM version (TMP91CW60FG/DFG) is also available.

The TMP92FD23AFG/ADFG 32-bit MCU combines 512 Kbytes of Flash memory and 32 Kbytes of RAM. The high-speed, high-performance MCU is based on Toshiba's TLCS-900/H1 processor core, and operates with voltages between 3.0V and 3.6V. The minimum instruction execution time is only 50ns at 20MHz. It also offers an integrated 12-channel 10-bit ADC, a 6-channel 8-bit timer, a 2-channel 16-bit timer and a real-time counter. I/O functions include a 3-channel SIO/UART (IrDA version 1.0 interface mode selectable), a 2-channel I2C interface, and 84 I/O ports. Additional on-board memory includes 4 Kbytes of mask ROM for booting; external memory expansion to 16 Mbytes is fully supported. Packaging options consist of a 100-pin P-LQFP package with dimensions of 14mm x 14mm with 0.50mm pitch (TMP92FD23AFG) or a 100-pin P-QFP package with dimensions of 14mm x 20mm with 0.65mm pitch (TMP92FD23ADFG). A mask ROM version (TMP92CY23FG/DFG) is equipped with 256 Kbytes of ROM and 16 Kbytes of RAM and has a built-in ROM correction function.

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 -- 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. TMP91FW40FG is priced at $6.00 in 10,000-piece quantities, TMP91FW60FG is priced at 6.00 in 10,000-piece quantities, and TMP92FD23AFG is priced at $9.00 in 10,000-piece quantities.

ZiLOG Extends Crimzon Infrared Remote Microcontroller Family

ZiLOG announced the release of the ZLR64400 family of 8-bit MCU devices, the latest addition to its Crimzon line of infrared-specific silicon. In common with ZLP12840 OTP (One Time Programmable device), launched in November 2005, the ZLR64400 features an on-chip ability to learn codes from other infrared remote controls for consumer products via a learning circuit.

Learning features are fast becoming a standard feature in mid- to high-end remote controllers. The ability to capture an IR signal from any other remote control then duplicate it on the "learning" remote enables universal remote controls to consolidate several single-device remotes and add codes from newly-purchased devices, with the obvious associated benefits to the consumer. Once the codes are captured, they are mapped to keys on the universal remote via integrated firmware.

As well as an integrated learning capability, the introduction of the ZLR64400 offers extra memory which can house larger amounts of data, and broadens device coverage for customers. It features 1KB of general-purpose RAM and up to 64 KB of ROM, offering fast executing, efficient use of memory, sophisticated interrupts, input/output bit manipulation capabilities, automated pulse generation/reception, and internal key-scan pull-up transistors.

Available immediately, the ZLR64400 devices are fully software-compatible with ZiLOG's existing portfolio of Crimzon ROM-based IR microcontrollers, and priced at $1.72 in 10,000-unit quantities.

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