TI Introduces MSP430F2xx Ultra-Low Power 16-bit RISC Microcontroller

10/6/2004 - Texas Instruments (TI) (NYSE:TXN) announced a new family in its industry-leading MSP430 ultra-low power 16-bit RISC microcontroller product line that provides twice the processing performance and half the stand-by power consumption compared to earlier devices. In addition, the MSP430F2xx family incorporates enhancements that reduce overall system cost and improve reliability making the new devices an ideal roadmap for existing code-compatible low power, MSP430-based designs or as a launch point for new applications. (For more information, see www.ti.com/msp430f2xx.)

The first MSP430F2xx devices will be unveiled at the 3rd annual MSP430 Advanced Technical Conference (ATC), to be held November 9 in Dallas, Texas; November 17 in Beijing, China; and December 7 in Freising, Germany. Design engineers attending the ATC will be first to use and experience the benefits of the MSP430F2xx, receiving a unique experimenter's board and working first-hand with the new family's features.

"Engineers are increasingly being tasked to design high-performance embedded systems with the conflicting requirements of ultra-low-power and extreme reliability while keeping costs down," said Mark Buccini, TI's advanced embedded controls director of marketing. "Offering standby power consumption under one micro-amp with instant access to 16 MIPS of computing power, in a robust failsafe environment, and at the same price as previous devices, the new MSP430F2xx family provides an ideal solution for applications such as security systems and portable medical devices."

Real-World Enhancements Reduce Total System Cost
The MSP430F2xx family features a real-time clock standby mode of less than one micro-amp with the ability to switch in less than one micro-second to a fully synchronized 16 million of instructions per second (MIPS) active mode. The combination of an extremely low-power standby current with an instant-on active mode enables the trend toward the use of smaller, lower-cost batteries in applications such as portable medical instruments and security systems where OEMs may choose to reduce cost and liability by installing sealed batteries at the factory. Additional enhancements of MSP430F2xx, which reduce the need for external components, include an integrated +/- 2.5% on-chip oscillator, pull-up/pull-down resistors, and increased number of analog inputs. The in-system programmable Flash has been improved with smaller 64-byte segments, programming times as fast as 17 micro-seconds per byte and a lower 2.2-V programming voltage allowing the elimination of external EEPROMs in most systems. Lower system power consumption and elimination of external components allow engineers to design a better system for less.

Improved Robustness Increases Reliability in Harsh Environments
Products designed for harsh environments benefit from a zero-power brown-out reset (BOR) function, a new failsafe clock system, enhanced watchdog timer and improved bootstrap loader (BSL). In the event of a crystal failure, from active or any low-power mode, the MSP430F2xx clock system can automatically re-start the on-chip oscillator and force a non-maskable interrupt. External crystal connections are also filtered to prevent external noise from being introduced to the system. The watchdog timer prohibits software from disabling its clock source, and errant code will force a complete system reset. Code security is improved with a hack-proof BSL that executes a complete memory erase after receiving an incorrect password.

Unlike competing MCUs, all the failsafe features of the MSP430F2xx are available during all modes of operation with no power penalty.

The MSP430F2xx is specified for operation from 1.8 V to 3.6 V and is fully software-compatible with all existing MSP430 devices. Development is supported with the existing MSP430 tool chain, which includes a new USB-based, JTAG interface target board and a complete integrated development environment including a debugger, assembler/linker and C-complier. The tool chain supports real-time in-system development, accessing the device´s embedded emulation logic that includes programming, full-speed operation, breakpoint and clock control capabilities.

First devices of the MSP430F2xx family will feature 1KB to 8KB Flash memory, up to 256B RAM, 16 I/Os, and a seven-input analog comparator. Engineering samples of the MSP430F2131 will be unveiled at the MSP430 ATC. The MSP430F2xx devices will be available in volume production in first half of 2005 and will be priced starting from $0.89 in 10,000-piece quantities (suggested resale pricing). More information about TI´s MSP430 MCU product line is available on the World Wide Web at www.ti.com/msp430.

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