December 2008 Embedded News Digest

Embedded News Digest
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Welcome to the December 2008 edition of MicroController Pros Corporation's Embedded News Digest.

As many of our long term readers have noticed, releases of the "Embedded News Digest" have become rather irregular during the course of 2008, as we've become simply too busy keeping up with the rapid growth of our webstore - We have therefore decided to stop all of our other activities and concentrate our resources on our e-commerce business. This unfortunately also means that we will stop publishing the Embedded News Digest - this will be the last and final edition.

We're planning on launching a more interactive online platform that will carry the latest embedded news and in addition provide a forum for discussion and support on everything microcontroller related. We'll send out an email announcement to you once this becomes available.

I want to take this opportunity to thank you for being loyal readers of the Embedded News Digest. I wish you a wonderful  Holiday Season and a Happy New Year from all of us here a MicroController Pros Corp.

best regards

Volker Soffel


  • New product additions at the MicroControllerShop:

We have added close to a 1000 new products since the last newsletter: New Universal programmer line from Wellon, PIC production ICSP Gang programmers from Softlog Systems, several new ARM boards, new AVR programmers and lots of new GSM, Zigbee & sensor stuff. For a listing of all new products, see:

This month's issue:

Atmel Launches New Family of Secure MCUs for Machine-to-Machine Communication

Atmel Extends secureAVR Family for Banking Card Applications

Atmel Launches New AVR MCU for Smart Card Reader Applications

CMX Systems Releases CMX-RTX RTOS for Renesas R32C Family

Crossware Releases Modular ARM7 Developmemt Tools

Freescale 8-bit Automotive MCUs Target Asian Markets

Freescale Delivers Single-Chip Solution for Next-Generation Automotive Gateways

Infineon SLE 78 Security MCU Brings Revolutionary Digital Security Features to Chip Card Industry

Maxim 16-bit MAXQ2010 MCU Extends Battery Life in Power-Sensitive Applications

Microchip Technology Enhances Mid-range 8-bit PIC Core

Microchip Announces USB Software Stack with OTG Support for 16-bit MCUs

Renesas to Release SH74504 and SH74513 MCUs for Automobile Driver-Assist System

TI's New CC430 Platform Makes Low-Power RF System Design Easy

TI Releases TMS570F MCUs with Dual ARM Cortex-R4F CPUs

Atmel Launches New Family of Secure MCUs for Machine-to-Machine Communication

Atmel Corporation has announced the availability of its new AT90M family of secure microcontrollers. Based on the 8-/16-bit RISC core allowing single-cycle instruction execution, the first device, AT90M25672RU, embeds 72 Kbytes of EEPROM data memory, 6 Kbytes of RAM and 256 Kbytes of ROM program memory, providing high density and flexibility. It shares the same common features of Atmel's secureAVR family, thus offering an easy way of migration in terms of code binary compatibility, development tools and reference designs. The AT90M family offers extended guarantees to withstand extreme environmental conditions such as temperature, humidity or vibrations. A tiny DFN-8 packaging solution has been developed to comply with physical integration requirements.

Atmel's AT90M product family, when embedded in Machine-to-Machine modules, is tailored to serve telemetry, tracking management, monitoring, home security and remote control applications.

Samples for the AT90M25672RU are available now in DFN8 and QFN44 packages. Volume production will start in December 2008. Prices start at $1.20 for 10k units.

Atmel Extends secureAVR Family for Banking Card Applications

Atmel Corporation has announced the introduction of its new AT90SC16018RU secure microcontroller to extend its product offering for banking card applications. The large ROM memory in the device allows customers to implement sophisticated applications such as CPA (Common Platform Application) for the EMV banking, SDA (Static Data Authentication) market and makes this chip perfectly suited for cost-sensitive applications such as medium-end contact banking cards.

Based on Atmel's optimized 8-/16-bit RISC secureAVR CPU architecture, the AT90SC16018RU features on-chip high-density, well tailored memories: 16 Kbytes of EEPROM, 160 Kbytes of user-ROM, and 4 Kbytes of RAM. This product has been designed to meet the security standards of Common Criteria EAL5+ and EMVCo. It shares the same common features with Atmel's secureAVR family, including dedicated hardware for protection against SPA/DPA/SEMA/DEMA attacks as well as advanced protection against physical attacks.

AT90SC16018RU samples are available now. Volume production will start in Q1 2009. Prices start at $0.60 for 10k units.

Atmel Launches New AVR MCU for Smart Card Reader Applications

Atmel Corporation has announced the introduction of its new AVR microcontroller designed for smart card reader applications. Based on the AVR 8-/16-bit RISC core allowing single cycle instruction execution, the AT90SCR100 embeds 4 Kbytes of EEPROM for data, 4 Kbytes of SRAM and 64 Kbytes of programmable Flash.

The AT90SCR100 offers a comprehensive set of interfaces such as ISO7816 (Class A,B,C supported), USB full Speed 2.0 Device and Host, USART, and TWI to address any applications that interface to synchronous, asynchronous and USB smart cards. In addition, an SPI serial interface plus a dedicated High Speed SPI interface (up to 20Mbps at 20MHz) have been implemented. Respectively combined with an RF front end and/or with a fingerprint sensor, the AT90SCR100 is ideally suited to contactless and/or Biometric reader applications. With its 38 GPIOs in its high pin count configuration (64-pin package), it can also address all USB Keyboards integrating the smart card reader functionality.

Thanks to its integrated hardware AES 128/256 bits engine that leaves complete availability of the Flash for the end-user application, the AT90SCR100 is the first smart card reader microcontroller on the market to offer cryptographic capability. Consequently, communication through secure channels can be performed without calling for any CPU resource during the ciphering operations.

Samples for the AT90SCR100 are available now. Packages are available in 32-pin QFN, 64-pin QFN and 64-pin QFP. Volume production will start in May 2009. Prices start at $3.00 for the 64-pin version and at $1.90 for the 32-pin package in 10,000 quantities.

CMX Systems Releases CMX-RTX RTOS for Renesas R32C Family

CMX Systems has announced the availability of its CMX-RTX real-time operating system for the Renesas R32C series processors. Support for the R32C family is in addition to CMX-RTX and CMX-Tiny+ ports available for Renesas processor families including the Renesas H8/300, H8/300H, H8S, M16C, M32C and SH series. Ports are available for Renesas and IAR tools.

CMX-RTX is a truly pre-emptive, multi-tasking RTOS supporting a wide variety of 8-, 16-, 32-bit microcomputers, microprocessors, and DSPs. CMX-RTX offers the smallest footprint, the fastest context switching times, and the lowest interrupt latency times available on the market today. RTOS functionality provided in CMX-RTX includes: task management, message management, queue management, system management, event management, memory management, resource management, semaphore management and timer management.

CMX-RTX includes the RTOS Configuration Manager, an intuitive Windows GUI which simplifies RTOS configuration. The CMXKAware option provides the developer with the ability to view their programming applications running under the RTOS via In-Circuit Emulators, Simulators or ROM Monitors and to view kernel objects including tasks, mailboxes and cyclic timers.

All CMX products feature full source code, no royalties, and free technical support and updates with every purchase.

Crossware Releases Modular ARM7 Developmemt Tools

Crossware has released a modular set of tools for the ARM7 microcontrollers.

Based upon their ARM Development Suite, the modular system breaks out the components required to support various families of ARM7 chips. This allows developers on a limited budget to benefit, for their chosen ARM7 variants, from all of the advanced features of the Crossware tools.

A base package provides the tool chain, including an advanced C/C++ compiler, linker and standard libraries, as well as the ARM core simulator, source-level debugger, Jaguar USB JTAG debugger interface, and the Embedded Development Studio IDE.

Developers can then select modules to add to this base package that will provide additional features specific to the variants supported by the modules. The additional features provided include C header files for the specific variants, Code Creation Wizards that will generate configuration and application code for the on-chip peripherals, simulator extensions to simulate on-chip peripherals, and debugging extensions for programming on-chip and, where appropriate, external memory.

If a developer decides to target a different ARM7 family, then the module for that family can be purchased and added to the existing environment.

Modules are currently available for the Atmel SAM7 chips, the LPC21xx/LPX22xx chips from NXP, and the STR71x/STR73x/STR75x chips from STMicroelectronics.

As with Crossware's full suite, developers can download updates for 12 months from the date of purchase, thereby ensuring that they can benefit from any enhancements that are added during this period.

Freescale 8-bit Automotive MCUs Target Asian Markets

Freescale Semiconductor has introduced an S08 MCU family designed for entry-level instrument clusters and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) controls. Featuring an integrated LCD driver, the new 8-bit S08LG32 MCUs provide a cost-effective solution for LCD-based body applications in value-line vehicles popular in emerging markets, such as India and China. The devices can be used in entry-level automobiles, as well as two/three-wheeled vehicles including motorcycles and scooters.

Freescale's S08LG32 family includes five automotive-qualified 5-volt devices that offer a range of Flash memory sizes (up to 32 KB) and package options scaling from 48 to 80 pins. The on-chip LCD driver supports displays with up to 296 segments (8x37 or 4x41 LCD configuration). The highly integrated 8-bit MCUs are designed to deliver enhanced electromagnetic interference (EMI) and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) performance.

Freescale plans to offer cost-effective MC9S08LG32 family demonstration boards and instrument cluster reference designs in Q2 2009.

Initial samples of the S08LG32 MCUs are available today to selected automotive customers. General market support is planned to be available in the second quarter of 2009.

Freescale Delivers Single-Chip Solution for Next-Generation Automotive Gateways

Freescale's new 32-bit MPC5668G dual-core Power Architecture device supports the automotive industry's leading communications interfaces, such as CAN, LIN, Ethernet, Media Local Bus and FlexRay technology.

Samples of MPC5668G are planned to be available to selected customers in February 2009.

Infineon SLE 78 Security MCU Brings Revolutionary Digital Security Features to Chip Card Industry

Infineon Technologies announced availability of its latest  SLE 78 high-security microcontroller family that introduces a hardware security technology called Integrity Guard. With the Integrity Guard, for the first time in chip card history, security microcontrollers are equipped with comprehensive error-detection capabilities and full on-chip encryption over the complete data path -- the dual-CPU, all memories (EEPROM, Flash, ROM, RAM), caches and the buses. The first principle of Infineon's Integrity Guard is that no plain data is available on the chip.

The dual-CPU approach allows error detection even while processing, and detects whether a calculation was performed without errors. After detecting an error or the attempt of an attack, the microcontroller can decide whether the operation is continued or an alarm is to be triggered and the operation automatically to be stopped.

Today, six members of the SLE 78 security microcontroller family are available in sample quantities. These devices differ in EEPROM size and offer memory capacities between 36 kBytes and 144 kBytes. Volume production is expected to begin in Q1 2009.

Maxim 16-bit MAXQ2010 MCU Extends Battery Life in Power-Sensitive Applications

Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the MAXQ2010, a 16-bit mixed-signal microcontroller with a unique power-saving stop mode. Stop mode reduces power consumption to 370nA typical and 6.5uA maximum at +85 degrees C, thus extending the life of battery-powered devices. Designed on a RISC architecture, the MAXQ2010 balances high-speed execution (up to 10 MIPS at 10MHz) and data sampling (up to 312ksps ADC conversion at 12 bits) with a low-power active-mode current (3.1mA, typical, at 10MHz). An integrated regulator allows direct operation from a single lithium coin cell at 2.7V to 3.6V.

With its many integrated analog and digital capabilities and its multiple power-saving modes, the MAXQ2010 is an optimized single-chip solution for battery-powered data acquisition applications. The device's low-power stop mode makes it especially valuable in equipment that spends the majority of its life inactive, only waking up once every few minutes to take measurements. Typical examples include many types of sensors, data acquisition systems, or environmental data-loggers.

The MAXQ2010 includes a 12-bit ADC capable of data conversion at up to 312ksps. Samples are taken from up to eight analog inputs which can be selected as single-ended inputs and/or differential input pairs. The ADC includes a 1.5V +/-2% voltage reference and can be configured to automatically capture and buffer sequences of up to 16 samples without processor intervention.

The MAXQ2010 provides additional features critical for portable, battery-powered applications. An integrated LCD controller can drive up to 160 segments directly in a 1/4-muxed configuration. A supply-voltage monitor measures the power supply against a programmable threshold from 2.7V to 3.5V in 0.1V increments, enabling an application to detect low power and notify the user to replace the battery.

To further reduce system costs, the MAXQ2010 uses a low-cost 32kHz crystal to generate the 8.389MHz system clock and enable the real-time clock (RTC) peripheral. The RTC provides programmable subsecond and time-of-day alarms, which can be used to wake up the microcontroller from stop mode to perform functions at programmable time intervals.

The MAXQ2010 is packaged in a 100-pin LQFP and operates over the -40 to +85 degrees C temperature range. Prices start at $2.95 in 10,000-unit quantities.

Microchip Technology Enhances Mid-range 8-bit PIC Core

Microchip Technology has announced an enhancement to the microcontroller architecture supporting Mid-range 8-bit PIC12 and PIC16 MCUs. The enhanced core provides numerous technical improvements, including more program and data memory, a deeper/enhanced hardware stack, additional reset methods, 14 additional programming instructions including C efficiency optimizations resulting in code size reductions, increased peripheral support, reduced interrupt latency, and other enhancements.

The enhanced core builds upon the best elements of the existing ,mid-range core and provides additional performance, while maintaining compatibility with existing mid-range products for true product migration. The enhancements provide users with a boost of performance of up to 50% and code-size reductions of up to 40% for various algorithms and functions. Additional feature enhancements include increased memory support with program Flash addressability up to 56 KB and Data RAM up to 4 KB.

Third-party compiler support for devices utilizing the enhanced core will be provided by HI-TECH Software, CCS, microEngineering Labs and Byte Craft Limited. The first devices based upon the enhanced 8-bit Mid-range PIC MCU core are expected to roll out Calendar Q1 2009.

Microchip Announces USB Software Stack with OTG Support for 16-bit MCUs

Microchip has announced a USB-IF certified upgrade to its free USB software stack that includes On-The-Go (OTG) support for its 16-bit PIC24F microcontrollers, and a variety of new features for its 8-, 16- and 32-bit USB PIC MCUs. The stack is available for free download now at, including a highly optimized library and full source code.  OTG stack certification for the 32-bit PIC32 family is expected in early Q1 2009. 

Renesas to Release SH74504 and SH74513 MCUs for Automobile Driver-Assist System

Renesas has announced the SH74504 and SH74513, 32-bit MCUs with on-chip Flash memory for driver-assist system control to achieve active safety in automotive applications and offering substantially better performance than comparable earlier products. Sample shipments will begin in February 2009 in Japan.

The SH74504 and SH74513 are built around the SH-4A CPU core, the most powerful in the Renesas Technology SuperH Family. Fabricated using 90-nm process technology, they operate at 240 MHz, which is the fastest in the industry for MCUs with on-chip Flash memory. They provide ample memory capacity, combining 2 Mbytes (SH74504) or 1.5 Mbytes (SH74513) of embedded Flash memory and 512 Kbytes of on-chip SRAM. This provides support for driver-assist systems offering enhanced performance by enabling high-speed processing of the large volumes of sensor data required by obstacle detection and collision-avoidance applications. These MCUs offer advanced on-chip in-vehicle networking capability with five-channel CAN, and, in the SH74504 two-channel FlexRay, a communication protocol for next-generation vehicle control applications.

Both the SH74504 and SH74513 have an on-chip floating-point processing unit (FPU) with a maximum operating frequency of 240 MHz. The FPU supports single- and double-precision calculations and achieves a maximum operation performance of 1.68 GFLOPS in single-precision mode. Hardware support for vector and sine or cosine arithmetic computations translates into high-speed calculation processing.

In addition to their large on-chip Flash memory capacity, both MCUs consume only 1.5 Watts of power when operating at 240 MHz.

The three-channel direct RAM input interface (DRI) function supports direct parallel connection at up to 40 Mbps from a CMOS camera with a maximum of wide video graphics array (WVGA) resolution to on-chip SRAM as a camera interface for the lane departure warning system (LWDS), and a one-channel I2C function is provided for camera settings. The full 512 Bytes of on-chip SRAM is sufficient to store the data for an entire photo, thereby contributing to more compact system size and reduced cost.

The on-chip peripheral functions include a parallel DAC controller circuit for controlling the D/A converter required by a driver-assist system employing milliwave radar, a parallel selector circuit for channel control of a high-speed A/D converter, a DRI circuit ideal for capturing data from a high-speed external A/D converter, a TOU timer for controlling a brushless DC motor for mechanical milliwave scanning control, and a 65-channel ATU-IIIS (Advanced Timer Unit III) multifunction timer unit suitable for timing control.

The SH74504 and SH74513 incorporate a direct RAM input (DRI) and direct RAM output interface (DRO) to minimize performance drag on the MCU's CPU caused by CPU-to-CPU communications functions, a bus controller that supports selection of the optimal data bus width (8, 16, 32 bits) when utilizing an external bus, and serial communication interfaces with FIFO

There is also an on-chip direct memory access controller (DMAC) supporting data transfer to external bus areas to enable management of the above communication functions. By combining these functions, it is possible to utilize the performance of the SH-4A CPU to the full and to achieve improved system performance.

TI's New CC430 Platform Makes Low-Power RF System Design Easy

Texas Instruments has announced the new CC430 technology platform, offering the industry's lowest power, single-chip RF solution for microcontroller-based applications. By reducing system complexity, shrinking package and PCB size by up to 50 percent and making RF design easy, the CC430 platform helps advance applications including RF networking, energy harvesting, industrial monitoring and tamper detection, personal wireless networks and automatic metering infrastructure (AMI).

The unique blend of TI's 16-bit MSP430F5xx MCU and low-power RF transceiver draws a low enough current to enable battery-operated wireless networking applications that operate without servicing for 10 years or longer, a critical factor for customers in the metering industry.

An extensive MSP430 MCU peripheral set will be available for CC430-based devices including digital and analog peripherals like a 16-bit ADC and low-power comparators that provide high performance -- even during RF transmissions -- and consume no power when not in operation. These peripherals also speed design by integrating functions such as an AES accelerator that encrypts and decrypts data sent wirelessly for more secure alarm and industrial monitoring systems. An additional choice for designers will be the on-chip LCD controller, contributing to further reduce cost and size for LCD-based applications.

Initial devices in the CC430 platform will be based on the 16-bit MSP430F5xx MCU and the sub-1GHz CC1101 RF transceiver. TI's low-power RF transceivers offer selectivity and blocking to ensure reliable communications even in noisy environments.

The first CC430 samples will be available in limited quantities in 1Q09 with mass-market sampling and further device introductions scheduled for later in the year. Pricing for initial devices will start at less than $2 in volume.

TI Releases TMS570F MCUs with Dual ARM Cortex-R4F CPUs

Texas Instruments has introduced the TMS570F microcontroller, the first ARM Cortex-R4F processor based floating-point, lockstep dual-core automotive MCU. Based on two Cortex-R4F processors, the TMS570F MCUs were designed specifically for applications required to meet the IEC 61508 SIL3 or ISO26262 ASIL D safety standards.

The TMS570F MCU allows automotive system designers to implement both single- and double-precision floating-point math depending on performance requirements. Accelerated multiply, divide and square-root functions enable physical model-based control through development environments like The Mathworks Real Time Workshop and ETAS ASCET.

The Cortex-R4F processor-based MCU is designed to meet error-free automotive safety standards and provide system-wide protection through seamless support for error detection from the processor, through the interconnect and into the memories. The error correction code logic is integrated into the Cortex-R4F CPU, which protects both the memories and buses. Because ECC is evaluated within the CPU, the system takes advantage of the eight-stage pipeline to allow time for ECC evaluation with no performance impact. In the event of a memory error, the ECC logic will correct it, rather than just communicating the error and stopping the system.

The TMS570F MCU platform uses two identical ARM Cortex-R4F processors combined with an initial 2 Mbytes of on-chip Flash memory. Industry standard peripherals include a FlexRay protocol controller, up to three CAN and two LIN modules along with TI's high-end timer co-processor, and two 12-bit analog-to-digital converters.

About MicroController Pros Corporation

MicroController Pros Corporation (µCPros) is an authorized distributor for many microcontroller tool vendors, which enables us to offer you a large selection of Microcontroller Development Tools for almost any major microcontroller architecture.

The MicroControllerShop ( puts convenient and secure online shopping, feature- and price-comparison on your computer's desktop. Microcontroller Development Tools featured at the MicroControllerShop include: In-Circuit Debuggers & Programmers, Universal programmers, Development and Prototype Boards, Sensors, Wireless modules, microcontroller starter kits and embedded evaluation boards for various microcontroller architectures and manufacturers.

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