TI Introduces First Ultra-Low-Power MCU-Based Signal-Chain-on-Chip

10/23/2002 - Designers will be able to tackle the toughest low-power monitoring, control and measurement application design challenges thanks to new technical advancements in high performance analog signal chain integration announced by Texas Instruments. As the industry´s first ultra-low-power MCU-based signal-chain-on-chip (SCoC), the MSP430F169 combines an 8-channel 200ksps 12-bit A/D converter, two 12-bit D/A converters and a programmable direct memory access controller (DMA), and is ideal for power, space, and cost sensitive applications.

TI will hold a special demonstration of the MSP430F169 at the MSP430 Advanced Technical Conference in Dallas, Texas, November 12-14. Conference attendees will experience first-hand this technology engine, capable of tackling the toughest low-power monitoring and control design challenges.

Complete Signal-Chain-on-Chip
Integrating the 12-bit analog to digital converter (ADC) and two 12-bit digital to analog converters (DAC) under the autonomous control of a 3-channel DMA, designers can now fully implement a complete closed loop system in low-power applications ranging from laser pump and thermoelectric cooler (TEC) control to remote networked meter-reading installations.

The DMA expands MCU-based signal processing possibilities by providing sophisticated and configurable data transfer without CPU interaction. DMA transfer trigger sources, which can be completely transparent to the CPU, allow precise transfer control with internal and external hardware. The DMA eliminates data transfer delays to the on-chip DACs as well as other peripherals and frees the 16-bit RISC CPU to spend time processing data, instead of performing handling tasks. The on-chip DAC module, coupled with the DMA, provides a greater than 10x increase in the achievable analog output signal frequency compared to that possible using an external D/A converter and software, for example.

"The MSP430F16x enables engineers for the first time to implement truly high-performance signal-processing functions in real world MCU applications," said Mark Buccini, TI´s MSP430 product line marketing manager. "This performance boost allows new and simultaneous MCU-based signal processing capabilities in a wide range of metering, consumer and white goods products."

Ultra-Low-Power Performance
A flexible clock system with five low-power modes enables unmatched ultra-low-power performance. The MSP430F169 features a typical standby current consumption of just 1.6uA with a real-time-clock (RTC) function active. Engineers can tune system clocking to precisely meet the power requirements for their application. For high-performance applications, an integrated digitally controlled oscillator (DCO) or external high-speed crystal can be used to clock the system at 280uA per million instructions per second (MIPS). Fast instruction execution, coupled with the MSP430’s CPU start-up from standby of less than 6 microseconds, results in total power consumption up to 10 times lower than competitive devices.

Development Support
The MSP430F169 will be compatible with existing MSP-FET430P140 toolkits. The FET supports real-time in-system development, accessing the Flash device’s embedded emulation capability. The tool comes complete with a JTAG interface target board, Flash devices, and a complete integrated development environment (IDE) including a debugger, assembler/linker and 4kB IAR C-Compiler.

Engineering samples are now available. General release of pre-production MSP430F169 samples is planned for first quarter 2003 and will be priced at $7.95 in 1,000 piece quantities (suggested resale pricing). The device also includes 60kB Flash, 2kB RAM, a watchdog timer, a comparator, 10 channels of pulse width modulation, two universal synchronous asynchronous receive transmits (USARTs), an I2C interface, a 16-bit hardware multiplier and a supply voltage supervisor (SVS). Other family members will include a range of memory options, including devices with expanded RAM up to 10kB.

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