July 2008 Embedded News Digest

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Welcome to the July 2008 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:

Atmel Introduces AVR MCUs for Automotive LIN Applications

Freescale MPC8640D debuts as lower power, lower cost version of MPC8641D

Infineon SmartLEWIS MCU Family Addresses Wide Range of Wireless Control Applications

Intel Outlines Plans for New Category of SoC Designs

Microchip PIC32 Pro C-compiler from Hi-Tech

NEC Broadens Lineup of 32-Bit V850 All Flash MCUs

NEC Introduces New 16-bit MCUs with Low Power Consumption

Renesas Releases 200MHz SH72544R SuperH MCU with 2.5 MB Flash

Renesas Releases 14 New 16-Bit MCUs M16C/5L and M16C/56 Groups

Silicon Labs Announces Smallest Automotive Communications Controller

SST Launches Enhanced Performance FlashFlex Microcontroller

TI Introduces TMS320DM335 Digital Media Processor with HD Capability

Atmel Introduces AVR MCUs for Automotive LIN Applications

Atmel Corporation has announced the availability of a new family of AVR 8-bit microcontrollers for LIN Automotive networking applications. The ATtiny167 is the first device and is optimized for LIN slave applications. It will be qualified to AECQ-100 grade 0 and sustain ambient temperatures of up to 150 degrees Celsius. Combined with a LIN transceiver such as ATA662x or ATA666x, it brings a complete solution for sensors in a gearbox, exhaust gas system, pumps or turbo.

The ATtiny167 includes a hardware LIN UART with automatic baud rate synchronization in slave mode. A frame processing request consists of only two interrupts: one for LIN identifier available and one for transmit or receive completed. Thanks to the collaboration with Mentor Graphics, a complete hardware and LIN software networking solution is available.

With integrated hardware routines, the code size for LIN is reduced to about 1 Kbyte of Flash, leaving about 15 Kbytes of Flash to the user application. Automatic synchronization is performed on each entering frame without calling for any CPU resources, and Interrupt generation is limited to the extreme minimum so as not to jeopardize the real-time capability of the application.

Samples for the ATtiny167 are available now. Packages are available in a 20-pin SOIC, 20-Pin TSSOP and 32-pin QFN. The ATtiny167 will be qualified at 125 degrees Celsius in all packages, and 150 degrees Celsius in QFN and TSSOP packages. It will be available for volume production in December 2008. Prices start at $1.48 in 10,000 quantities for the 125 degrees qualified version. The ATtiny87 and ATtiny327, with 8 Kbytes and 32 Kbytes Flash respectively, will be introduced later this year.

Freescale MPC8640D debuts as lower power, lower cost version of MPC8641D

Freescale Semiconductor has introduced the MPC8640D -- a lower-power, lower-cost version of the MPC8641D dual-core processor. The device is available in single- and dual-core versions and is ideal for networking, telecom, pervasive computing, aerospace and defense applications.

The MPC8640D enables customers to utilize high-performance e600 Power Architecture cores and AltiVec 128-bit vector processing at lower price points and power requirements. The MPC8640D processor runs at 1.0/1.25 GHz per core while consuming up to 27 percent less power and costing up to 37 percent less than its MPC8641D predecessor.

The MPC8640D processor features software, package and pin-for-pin compatibility with the MPC8641D processor. It is also compatible with Freescale's forthcoming QorIQ devices, and Freescale simplifies development via an available MPC8641D development platform which comes with a Linux board support package (BSP).

The highly integrated MPC8640D processor incorporates two e600 cores each with 1 MB of L2 cache. Each core also features the 128-bit AltiVec vector processing engine.

High-speed I/O connectivity is delivered via an integrated DDR1/DDR2 memory controller, dual PCI Express and RapidIO controllers and quad Ethernet controllers. With dual-core performance as well as integrated northbridge and southbridge functionality, this single chip can replace what could take up to four chips using typical solutions. Additionally, all core-to-peripheral connections are internal, so board designers avoid difficulties related to laying out high-speed parallel buses.

A standard junction temperature range of 0 to 105 degrees C is now qualified and the extended temperature range of -40 to -105 degrees C is expected to follow soon.

The dual-core version of the MPC8640D (MC8640DVU1000HC) is available at a suggested retail price of $120 in 10K quantities, and the single-core version (MC8640HX1000HC) is available at a suggested retail price of $90 in 10K quantities. The MPC8641D Reference Design Board (MCEVALHPCN-8641D) is available at a suggested retail price of at $3,999.

Infineon SmartLEWIS MCU Family Addresses Wide Range of Wireless Control Applications

Infineon Technologies has introduced a new family of highly-integrated next-generation transmitter ICs for wireless control applications. All members of the new SmartLEWIS MCU PMA71xx family include an ASK/FSK multi-band transmitter for the sub-1GHz ISM frequency bands, with an 8051 microcontroller enhanced with specific embedded mixed-signal peripherals.

With the SmartLEWIS MCU family inside, remote controls are able to use RF technology instead of today's IR transmission, overcoming the disadvantage of line-of-sight communication. In addition, RF-based applications benefit from an extended range of more than 50 meters, compared to only a few meters for IR technology. The PMA71xx products are the world's first multi-band transmitters, covering four ISM frequency bands (315 MHz, 434 MHz, 868 MHz and 915 MHz) on a single chip.

In addition to an 8051 microcontroller with 6 kBytes of flash memory and 10 GPIOs, all members of the SmartLEWIS MCU family integrate an RF-transmitter consisting of an integer N PLL synthesizer and a high-efficiency power amplifier with selectable output power.

The embedded multi-channel 10-bit ADC includes flexible high-gain settings and can be used as an interface for a broad variety of analog sensors, such as pressure, temperature or humidity sensors. The integrated 125 kHz low-frequency receiver enables wireless wake-up in battery-operated applications and contactless device configuration. The family's peripherals include a data format encoder/decoder, a 16-bit CRC generator/checker, a pseudo random number generator, and several timers. An associated firmware function library provides powerful functions, such as AES encryption. This firmware is located in an on-chip ROM saving valuable flash memory.

All family members are designed for the lowest current consumption with a typical value of only 500 nA in power-down mode, and they include an advanced power control system for to help better preserve the life of the battery. The operating temperature range is in accordance with industrial market requirements from -40 to +85 degrees C.

The SmartLEWIS MCU family today includes four products. Each product is designed particularly for wireless control applications, such as home automation, security and alarm systems, home entertainment products, and automatic meter reading systems.

PMA7105 was developed for use in RF remote controls and digital sensor-based systems. PMA7106 targets wireless sensor applications using analog sensors connected to an extra 3-channel 10-bit ADC with flexible gain settings and differential inputs. PMA7107 features an additional 125 kHz LF receiver for applications requiring wireless wake-up or contactless device configuration such as active tagging. PMA7110 was developed for use in sophisticated wireless systems that require a 10-bit ADC and LF receiver.

Samples of devices in the SmartLEWIS MCU family are available with volume production scheduled for July 2008. Sample pricing for PMA7105 is Euro 1.55 (USD 2.40). For design support, Infineon offers a software application framework, a software function library and a quick-start development kit with USB interface and rechargeable battery.

Intel Outlines Plans for New Category of SoC Designs

Intel has outlined a plan to usher in a new category of highly integrated, purpose-built and Web-savvy System on Chip (SoC) designs and products. The first eight such products were announced under the Intel EP80579 Integrated Processor family for security, storage, communications, and industrial robotics.

For the first time, Intel is creating several of these smarter SoC chip designs based on the same blueprint as their existing processors that run the bulk of the Internet, called Intel architecture (IA).

Four of the eight new smart SoC Intel EP80579 Integrated Processor products include Intel QuickAssist Technology that simplifies the use and deployment of security and packet accelerators in Intel-based computers. Each SoC is based on the Intel Pentium M processor, integrated memory controller hub, and a variety of integrated communications and embedded I/O controllers. The smart SoC versions with Intel QuickAssist Technology accelerate cryptographic and packet processing for security appliances such as VPN gateways, firewalls, Unified Threat Management, and enterprise voice applications such as VoIP and converged access platforms.

Microchip PIC32 Pro C-compiler from Hi-Tech

HI-TECH has released its C PRO Compiler for the PIC32 MCU Family.

This ANSI C compiler featuring Omniscient Code Generation(TM) can boost real-time performance by 25% or more, and can nearly double code density. The HI-TECH C PRO is the only PIC32 compiler that optimizes stack and register allocation across all code modules prior to generating the object code, resulting in smaller code that generally executes more quickly and requires smaller, less expensive flash memory for storage.

If you already own a Hi-Tech compiler, you can now get the PIC32 version at a 20% discount from the already reduced US$1595.00 introductory price.  Pricing will increase to US$1895 in September. Hi-Tech compiler owners can also upgrade to the Hi-Tech PIC Enterprise edition, which includes the PIC 32 PRO compiler, PIC18 Pro compiler, and compilers for PIC10/12/14/16/17 series, PIC24 and dsPIC. The owner's price for the Enterprise edition is US$3195.00 (regular $3995.00).

Email sales@microcontrollershop.com if you wish to purchase the PIC32 compiler or Enterprise Edition at the reduced owner's price.

NEC Broadens Lineup of 32-Bit V850 All Flash MCUs

NEC Electronics America has expanded its lineup of low-power 32-bit V850ES/Jx3 All Flash microcontrollers with the new V850ES/Jx3-L MCUs, which consume only 0.9 mW of power per Dhrystone MIPS during active operation, and as little as 1.5 microamperes in standby mode.

In addition to the V850ES RISC CPU core and a highly efficient pipeline architecture that executes up to 43 DMIPS (1.1) at clock speeds ranging from 5 to 20 MHz, the V850ES/Jx3-L MCUs offer flash memory capacities of 128 or 256 KB, embedded RAM up to 16 KB, operating voltages from 2.2V to 3.6V and an I/O tolerance of 5V. The new MCUs also feature enhanced, integrated DSP capability, including divide/multiply functions for high-end applications such as motor control and metering.

To further reduce component count and system cost, the MCUs include up to three UART channels, three I2C channels or five Clock Serial Interface channels, a built-in CRC circuit, an advanced hardware multiplier for fast execution of algorithms, and an external bus interface that supports expanded memory. One channel of 16-bit watchdog timer with a dedicated internal oscillator, a watch timer, up to 12 channels of 10-bit A/D conversion, up to two channels of 8-bit D/A conversion, a DMA controller with four independent DMA channels, a two-level low-voltage detector, a real-time output port and an on-chip debugging circuit with interrupt functionality complete the MCUs' highly integrated, highly efficient design.

The MCUs are available in 80- and 100-pin LQFP packages. The 80-pin LQFP is available in standard 14 x 14 mm or 12 x 12 mm sizes that further contribute to miniaturization in portable equipment. The 100-pin LQFP is available in fine-pitch 14 x 14 mm or 14 x 20 mm versions.

Pricing varies according to memory configurations. For example, the 100-pin V850ES/JG3-L MCU with 256KB of flash memory and 16KB RAM is $6.00 each in sample quantities. Dedicated starter kits are expected to be available in summer 2008 from NEC Electronics America. Mass production of the 100-pin version is scheduled for the end of July 2008.

NEC Introduces New 16-bit MCUs with Low Power Consumption

NEC Electronics America has introduced 22 new 16-bit All Flash MCUs for compact, low-power, battery-operated and sensor-enabled systems. Based on the 78K0R CPU core, the new 78K0R/Kx3-L MCUs offer very low power consumption to extend battery life, and more on-chip integration to help reduce the size and cost of battery-driven and sensor-enabled systems. In addition to low power consumption, the new lineup offers high-performance on-chip oscillators, built-in circuits for sensor functions and extended system operating time.

By optimizing the power management circuitry, NEC has reduced standby power consumption in these new devices (when only the real-time clock functions are operational) by 60 percent, from an average of 2.4 uA to 1.0 uA. Likewise, power consumption at a clock speed of 10 MHz has been reduced by 10 percent, from 3.9 to 3.5 mA, and a clock speed of 20 MHz by 20 percent, from 8.2 to 6.5 mA. The new MCUs also offer a high power/performance ratio of 1.5 mW per MIPS (Dhrystone 1.1).

Three on-chip oscillator circuits are able to generate three separate operating frequencies, one at the power-saving clock speed of 1 MHz, another at the high-performance clock speed of 20 MHz, and a third at the conventional clock speed of 8 MHz, allowing users to select the most optimal operating frequency for a given application. An error rate of one percent at clock frequencies of 8 and 20 MHz eliminates the need to add an external oscillator for asynchronous data transfers, which demand high performance.

An optimized 12-channel, 10-bit A/D converter circuit improves the time it takes to convert analog input into digital output, thereby reducing signal conversion time from 6 to 3 microseconds -- 50 percent faster than conventional products. Further, the addition of one internal operational amplifier channel and two internal comparator channels, in lieu of externally mounted peripherals, allows a wide range of analog data to be measured at low cost.

The 78K0R/Kx3-L MCUs also include a built-in dedicated booster circuit that reduces operating voltage during flash programming from 2.7 to 1.8 V and extends operating time in the end system.

Samples of the 78K0R/Kx3-L MCUs are expected to begin shipping in August 2008. Pricing will vary depending on memory, package and pin configurations. For example, pricing for the 78K0R/KE3-L MCU with 64 KB of flash memory, 3 KB of RAM, and a 64-pin FPBGA package is US$4.50 each in sample quantities. Volume production of the 78K0R/KE3-L MCU is scheduled to begin at the end of 2008.

Renesas Releases 200MHz SH72544R SuperH MCU with 2.5 MB Flash

The SH72544R incorporates the high-performance SH-2A CPU core, which achieves 400 MIPS at 200 MHz and is optimal for real-time processing.

It includes 2.5 Mbytes on-chip flash memory and supports the increasingly large-scale programs required for fine-grained high-level control. In addition, it also includes a 128 KB EEPROM function area that allows data to be rewritten during microcontroller operation. Since this obviates the need for the external EEPROMs that were previously used, it can contribute to reduced costs in application systems.

The chip's ATU-III advanced timer unit includes 32-bit input capture/output compare, one-shot pulse output, PWM output, and other functions, and can provide up to 106 pulse outputs. The 12-bit A/D converter features 37 input channels. Communication interfaces include an automotive network CAN interface and high-speed serial interfaces that can connect to external devices.

The SH72544R is provided in a 272-pin P-BGA package (21 x 21 mm) and is fully pin compatible with the SH72546RFCC. The E10A-USB compact on-chip debugging emulator, which is powered from the USB bus and thus requires no external power supply, can be used as a development tool.

Renesas Releases 14 New 16-Bit MCUs M16C/5L and M16C/56 Groups

Renesas Technology has announced 14 new products in the M16C/5L and M16C/56 Groups, in the M16C/Tiny Series of 16-bit microcontrollers for automotive body and chassis control applications. Sample shipments will begin in October 2008 in Japan.

These new products are successors to MCUs in the M16C/28 Group and the M16C/29 Group with on-chip CAN controller. They offer enhanced functionality and performance along with a full complement of on-chip peripheral functions to help reduce overall system cost. The M16C/5L Group integrates an on-chip CAN controller; the M16C/56 Group does not. Products in both groups are compatible with earlier MCUs, providing a flexible path to system feature expansion or version upgrades.

In addition, an M16C/5M Group is under development has an extension of the above groups. It will increase the number of CAN channels, integrate a LIN interface and convenient E2 data flash for data storage, and be available in three packages (64-pin, 80-pin, and 100-pin LQFP) compatible with earlier MCU products. A total of 16 product versions will be offered, and sample shipments are scheduled for the third quarter of 2009.

The M16C/5L and M16C/56 Groups are built around the same M16C/60 CPU core as earlier MCUs in the series. The maximum operating frequency for the two new groups is 32 MHz, approximately 1.6 times as fast as the earlier MCUs. Two packages are available: 64-pin and 80-pin, providing pin and peripheral function compatibility.

All products in the M16C/5L and M16C/56 Groups have on-chip flash memory. The 80-pin package is available with 96 Kbytes, 128 Kbytes, or 256 Kbytes of flash memory, and the 64-pin package is available with 64 Kbytes, 96 Kbytes, 128 Kbytes, or 256 Kbytes of flash memory. The maximum memory capacity of 256 Kbytes is twice that of earlier MCUs in the series. The M16C/5L and M16C/56 Groups incorporate 16 Kbytes flash memory suitable for small-size program storage such as flash rewriting. To help reduce the need for external memory, the new MCUs include data flash (two blocks of 4 Kbytes each) for storing data that is rated to withstand 10,000 rewrite cycles.

The number of DMA controller channels has been increased from two to four, and other functions include a high-functionality watchdog timer that can operate using a dedicated on-chip oscillator, a low-voltage detection function, and a high-speed on-chip oscillator.

In addition to the above, the M16C/5L and M16C/56 Groups add a real-time clock capable of counting durations from one second to one week, and a task monitor timer for managing task processing times. Other on-chip functions useful for automotive control applications include timers for three-phase motor control; timers with support for input capture, output compare, and PWM output; a serial interface; a high-speed A/D converter; and a CAN controller (M16C/5L).

The M16C/5L and M16C/56 Groups also provide power-down (low-power-consumption) operating modes. Lower power consumption than when operating with external clock input can be achieved by making use of the high-speed or low-speed on-chip oscillator. Furthermore, power consumption can be reduced by using the low-speed modes, such as subclock or wait mode. These modes provide the low-power operation required for automotive body applications.

To accommodate automotive requirements, the operating temperature range is -40 to +85 degrees C. High-temperature versions with a range of -40 to +125 degrees C are also supported.

Silicon Labs Announces Smallest Automotive Communications Controller

The Silicon Laboratories C8051F50x family of mixed-signal MCUs is the first to integrate an ultra high-performance internal precision oscillator to support both CAN and LIN communication networks without an external crystal or resonator.

The C8051F50x family provides the highest functional density for automotive applications by integrating a 50 MIPS core, up to 64 kB of high-endurance Flash, four kB of RAM, 32-message buffer CAN 2.0B hardware controller and a hardware LIN 2.0 controller in a 5 x 5 mm package, providing customers with the memory and computational resources for real-time applications requiring CAN and LIN software stacks. The internal precision oscillator provides an accuracy of +/-0.5 percent across the entire temperature (-40 to +125 degrees C) and voltage (1.8 to 5.25 V) range.

The integrated 12-bit, 200 ksps, 32-channel ADC has the highest signal-to-noise ratio than any other integrated MCU device in this space, offering higher precision and accuracy when simultaneous analog and digital processing is required. Analog performance is further enhanced through the inclusion of a precision voltage reference, typically not found on integrated solutions. The programmable comparator can be dynamically re-mapped to different I/O pins during run-time, providing a simple but powerful solution for motor commutation. Additionally, the integrated temperature sensor provides an internal mechanism for diagnostics and system calibration.

All members of the C8051F50x family are available now in 32-pin and 48-pin QFN and QFP packages, and pricing begins at $1.87 in 10,000-piece quantities. The full C8051F500DK development kit is available now for $99.00. The ToolStick502DC is also available for $9.90 to be used in conjunction with the ToolStick base adapter.

SST Launches Enhanced Performance FlashFlex Microcontroller

SST announced a new addition to its FlashFlex family of 8-bit microcontrollers, the SST89C58RC. The new device is the industry's first 8051-based MCU to feature two system management buses (SMBus), each supporting up to 400 Kbit per second data throughput, in a 6mm x 6mm QFN package. The SST89C58RC supports operating voltages from 2.7V to 5.5V for implementation in applications with a variety of power supply requirements.

The SST89C58RC comes with 1 KByte of on-chip RAM and up to 34 KBytes of embedded SuperFlash memory. The SST89C58RC is now in production and is priced at $1.25 per unit in 10K unit quantities.

TI Introduces TMS320DM335 Digital Media Processor with HD Capability

Texas Instruments has announced its lowest-cost digital media processor, the TMS320DM335 device, for applications driven by advanced image capture and display requirements.  Powered by an ARM926EJ-STM core up to 270 MHz, the DM335 digital media processor integrates a video processing subsystem so developers can easily add high-definition video display at 720p on their new class of portable applications.

The DM335 processor provides the benefits of greater than 25 percent cost reduction than its predecessor, the TMS320DM355. The new digital media processor is completely scalable with the DM355 processor and Digital Video Evaluation Board (DVEVM), allowing customers to re-use both hardware and software designs for their new DM335-focused projects.

The new DM335 device delivers a sophisticated suite of capabilities allowing for flexible image capture and display. Through its user interface technology, such as a four-level on-screen display, developers are able to create picture-within-picture and video-within-video as well as innovative GUIs.

The DM335 processor supports CCD/CMOS image sensors, resize capability and video analytics. The 1280 x 960 pixel digital LCD connection runs on a 75MHz pixel clock and supports TV composite output.

The DM335 processor provides a simple migration path for the many TI customers who are currently using the DM355 device and would like to expand their product line to include applications that do not require video encode and decode. This lower-cost alternative offers full code and hardware compatibility without requiring additional investment in software engineering. The DM335 utilizes the same suite of peripherals as the DM355, such as high speed USB 2.0 on-the-go, external memory interface (EMIF), mobile DDR/DDR2, two SDIO ports, three UART Ports, three SPI Ports and SLC/MCL NAND Flash memory support. In addition, customers can leverage TI's HPA portable audio solutions including low-power codecs like the TLV320AIC3104 and amplifiers, such as the TPA2016D2.

The TMS320DM335 digital media processor is now available for $10.48 in 100 units. The highly integrated device is packaged in a 13 x 13 mm, 329 pin, 0.65 mm pitch BGA.

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