Compact CAN: The 28-pin
CAN microcontroller from Microchip Technology is the smallest 8-bit
processor to include communications. It also packs in up to 32 Kbytes of
Flash memory and an analog-to-digital
Two constants in many fields are the need for networking and a demand for
smaller circuit boards. Microchip Technology Inc. is addressing both trends with
a compact 8-bit microcontroller that includes a CAN controller.
The PIC18F4580, housed in a quad flat no-pin (QFN) package with only 28 pins, also holds an analog-to-digital converter and up to 32 Kbytes of Flash memory. The package has two fewer pins than the smallest competitor in the industry and four less than most other similar products, according to Cheri Keller, product marketing manager for Microchip's Advanced Microcontroller Architectures Division. Versions with 40 or 44 pins offer more memory, going up to 64 Kbytes.
Though automotive is a key application, Keller notes that the line is also designed for industrial markets, where I/O modules, sensors, and motor drives communicate over a CAN bus. The four members of the line support multiple levels of CAN including J1939 and DeviceNet.
On-chip FIFO buffers let the chip handle large number of messages and large file sizes with a minimum of intervention by the CPU, freeing the processor for other tasks. This information and other temporary data can be stored in 1.5 Kbytes of RAM and 256 bytes of EEPROM. The CAN module lets engineers configure multiple applications on a single node and easier implementation of a software protocol bridge from a CAN network. It's software compatible with previous generation PIC controllers, so design engineers can move to smaller products without altering existing code.
The parts address rising concerns over heat generation and power management, providing power-saving nanoWatt technology, which includes sleep and idle modes, and voltages of 2 to 5.5V. They operate at temperatures from -40 to 125C. An internal clock runs at up to 32 MHz, while an enhanced in-circuit debugging function has up to three hardware breakpoints.
In quantities of 10,000, controller pricing starts at $4.80. A number of development tools and a development board are available.
Microchip Technology Inc.