Toshiba has expanded its TMPM36x line of microcontrollers (MCUs) with a memory-rich product designed for real-time applications that must process and store large amounts of data.
Steve Williams, a product manager in the automotive and mixed-signal controllers, analog, and imaging group at Toshiba America Electronic Components, told us in an email that the new TMPM36BF10FG is ideal for energy management and a range of other industrial applications.
"This is an expansion of our TMPM36x lineup, which includes USB, Ethernet, and other advanced communications I/Os, with FLASH memory sizes up to 2Mbytes," he said. "We are targeting the TMPM36BF10FG for real-time energy management applications such as smart meters, M2M communications, inverter control for motors and power supplies, factory and building automation, and PLC applications."
Toshiba America Electronic Components has expanded its TMPM36x microcontroller line with the memory-rich TMPM36BF10FG, which is designed for energy management and other real-time industrial applications that need to process and store large amounts of data. (Source: Toshiba America Electronic Components)
The new MCU is based on an ARM Cortex-M3 CPU core with 1MB Flash ROM and 258KB SRAM, including 2KB of backup memory. The key is not necessarily the amount of SRAM -- more than twice as much as other MCUs in the TMPM36x line and a competitively large amount for MCUs in this class -- but the speed with which applications can access that memory, Williams said.
In real-time systems, the memory access time needs to be predictable, and often this means that both program and data are stored in the SRAM, because the Flash memory requires some housekeeping that can make its access time occasionally longer than normal. So the amount of SRAM limits the size of the real-time software and data. The newest MCU has 4 times the on-chip Flash, and 3.9 times the on-chip SRAM of the previous version (TMPM36BFYFG). Toshiba has other MCUs with 1MB Flash, but this new TMPM36BF10 offers a faster access time that delivers higher performance.
Another differentiating feature is the specialized, multi-purpose timers that optimize the new MCU for controlling power devices like motor applications. This means it can be used in system control applications such as motor control, office automation equipment, and factory automation.
For motor and inverter control… the timers that can generate synchronized multi-phase outputs with dead-time control and external emergency stop control, and an encoder input for Hall sensor-equipped motors. And for high system performance, we have a low-latency interrupt controller, two 32-channel DMA controllers, a multi-layer AMBA interconnect, and an external bus interface for expansion. We also include a real-time clock and a remote control processor for receiving IR remote control codes during low-power standby modes.
The TMPM36BF10FG MCU is pin-compatible with Toshiba's TMPM36BFYFG MCU, which has 256KB Flash and 66KB SRAM. Depending on required memory size, either MCU can be selected for a system without having to redesign the printed circuit board.
Sample pricing for the TMPM36BF10FG is $6 in 1K piece quantity. Toshiba has scheduled mass production of the new MCUs for September.
Well, Chuck, the answer to that (8-bit CPUs) is 12%. Before you ask, the numbers for 16 and 32-bit processors are 14% abd 8% respectively. Both 8 and 16-bit are trending down from 5 years ago. 32 and 64-bit are trending up. As the new 64-bit Power and ARM architectures get implemented by chip manufacturers, I expect they will grow more.
The 32-bit ARM can be had in a very small fiorm factor. I have one eval board with a high pin count 32-bit ARM CORTEX-M4 MCU SoC with a small ARM Cortex-M0 as a debugger interface.
Thanks for that info, naperlou. I wouldn't have guessed that 32-bit is at 63%. For many years, 8-bit held onto a big chuck of the market, while experts predicted it would fall by the wayside. I'd like to see where 8-bit came in on the EE Times study.
As systems become "smarter" the microcontrollers that run them need to be more powerful. We already have a preponderence of 32-bit processors being used. The EETimes Embedded Market Study shows that 63% of designs use 32-bit processors. The vast majority of these use the ARM architecture. More memory allows for more buffering and more complex algorithms.
All the memory in the world is nothing on an MCU if it can't be accessed easily by a device, and Toshiba is trying to improve this situation with its new TMPM36BF10FG, which provides faster access to the chip's onboard memory. This allows for higher performance applications and is a good fit for data-processing-intensive applicaitons.
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