Throughout the electronics industry, the push to develop more complex systems in shorter timeframes is forcing semiconductor companies to devise techniques that make it simpler to complete control systems.
“Our customers continue to ask us for more help in getting their products ready to ship,” says Paul Grimme, senior vice president of Freescale Semiconductor. Chipmakers are addressing the ease-of-use issue with a variety of techniques.
One of the most popular techniques is to put more peripherals on a chip, eliminating the need to connect discrete devices. A few years ago, a single interface on a controller was a big deal. Today, even processors in the most compact packages are surrounded by an overflowing handful of peripherals.
ARM line adds fast USB
The LPC2800 series from Royal Philips Electronics is the first ARM7 MCU to deliver USB 2.0 device capabilities with a 480 Mbits/sec transceiver.
Power management techniques let the line operate from a single AA 1.5V battery cell, a USB cable or an external power supply, maximizing battery life and design flexibility.
Along with the Hi-Speed USB link, peripheral features include 1MB of Flash and 8 KB 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 enhanced resolution.
In quantities of 10,000, the Flashless LPC2880 costs $4.99, while the LPC2888 with 1Mbyte of Flash costs $7.99. The devices come in a 10 mm × 10 mm TFBGA180 package, with a temperature range of -40 to 85C. Get more information on NXP Semiconductor.
Freescale eases processor transition
The 68K/ColdFire® V1 core kicks off Freescale’s processor architecture continuum concept, providing 32-bit devices that are compatible with 8-bit processors. Chips with the 32-bit V1 core offer the same peripheral modules and development tools as products based on the 8-bit S08 architecture.
Common development software like the CodeWarrior tool set provides commonality so programming the 32-bit 68K/ColdFire® architecture is similar to programming an 8-bit microcontroller.
The V1 core uses the S08 bus structure so peripheral and memory modules are compatible. On the package side, the V1 uses the S08’s single-pin background debug mode to create simple interface configuration. V1 cores will cost about 20 percent more than similar 8-bit products.
Processors trim space by 30 percent
Aiming at applications with size and price constraints, Microchip Technology Inc., has shrunk its 6-pin PIC10F line and three members of its 8-pin Baseline PIC microcontroller family down to a 2 × 3 mm Dual Flat No-lead (DFN) package.
The 2×3 DFN package takes a third less board space than SOT-23s, also giving engineers reduced height. Though they’re small, the chips have several peripherals, including a 1.125 ms Device Reset Timer, Flash program memory for up to 1K instructions, and up to 41 bytes of RAM and two timers. An 8-bit analog-to-digital converter and a comparator are among the optional peripherals.
Since portable products are a key market, the line has a 100 nA sleep current, along with a l25 mA source/sink current IO. Operating voltage ranges from 2 to 5.5-volts. Pricing for the six members of the PIC10F family starts at $0.44 each in 10,000-unit quantities.