Microchip Unveils Flash PIC Microcontrollers with USB 2.0 Connectivity

11/9/2004 - Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, announced the first Flash PIC® microcontrollers with Full-Speed USB 2.0 connectivity and 48 megahertz (MHz) operation, for 12 megabits-per-second (Mbps) data-transfer rates. In combination with a wide variety of on-chip peripherals and nanoWatt Technology power management, these features provide a complete embedded-control solution for designers working with USB in industrial, medical and many other embedded applications.

The majority of USB-capable microcontrollers are optimized exclusively for applications in the personal computing (PC) peripherals and consumer markets, leaving a real void for embedded engineers. Microchip’s new USB PIC microcontroller family makes the benefits of Full-Speed USB available to a broader range of embedded applications that operate in harsh environments and only occasionally connect to personal computers. The four new Full-Speed USB PIC microcontrollers help to address these needs by integrating USB as one of the primary serial interfaces, as opposed to the prevalent approach that adds a serial-to-USB patch on top of a legacy design.

“Most USB microcontrollers focus on the PC peripherals market – neglecting the unique requirements of many embedded designers working on stand-alone embedded applications,” said Ganesh Moorthy, vice president of Microchip’s Advanced Microcontroller and Memory Division. “This new Full-Speed USB PIC microcontroller family can perform as the sole controller in embedded applications thanks to the performance of its powerful 12 MIPS RISC core, self-programmable Flash memory and the power-saving features of our nanoWatt Technology.”

Example embedded applications that benefit from these Full-Speed USB PIC microcontrollers include: industrial (manufacturing tools, data loggers, scanners, smart displays, micro fuel cells, gambling-machine peripherals, RFID readers, robot-controller interfaces, industrial timers, gas-flow analyzers, cable-test fixtures); medical (voice-activated applications, advanced wheel chairs, research equipment automation); automotive (vehicle-network bus diagnostic tools, vehicle trace recorders [black boxes], ultrasonic sensors); battery-powered (handheld tools, sensors, security applications, remote controls, home automation); consumer (business-card scanners, white-board digitizers, voice recorders, uninterruptable power-supply systems, MP3 players, fire alarms, security-system programmers).

One of the USB PIC microcontroller family’s key features is its 24 or 32 Kbytes of self-programmable Enhanced Flash memory, which allows field upgrades for end applications via the USB port. Microchip’s advanced PMOS Electrically Erasable Cell (PEEC) Flash technology provides high endurance of up to 100,000 erase/write cycles and long data retention of more than 40 years. In addition, its Full-Speed USB 2.0 interface includes an onboard transceiver and a Parallel Streaming Port for direct data transfers to external peripherals with minimum CPU overhead. Other key features include:

Development Support
An area of major concern for most new USB-application designers is the quantity and quality of available firmware support. Microchip is introducing an extensive set of libraries for the most common application classes, including the Human Interface Device (HID), Communication Device Class (CDC) and custom drivers. Recognizing the need for migration from legacy applications, Microchip is also publishing specific application notes illustrating how to replace a serial port with a Full-Speed USB link in a few easy steps (without the need to become a USB expert).

The MP-USB Wizard 2.0, a GUI-based Windows® application that guides the designer through the creation of the descriptor tables, is expected to be available for free via download from Microchip’s Web site in December. The new USB PIC microcontrollers are also supported by Microchip’s world-class development systems, including: MPLAB® Integrated Development Environment (IDE), MPLAB C18 C Compiler, MPLAB ICD 2 In-Circuit Debugger and MPLAB PM3 Universal Device Programmer. In addition, the PICDEMTM Full-Speed USB Demo Board (part # DM163025), and MPLAB ICE 2000 and MPLAB ICE 4000 In-Circuit Emulator processor modules (part # PCM18XR0), which ease development with this family’s advanced USB features, are expected to be available in December.

In the package options listed below, the four new USB PIC microcontrollers are planned for general sampling and volume production in December. For pricing or additional information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip’s Web site at www.microchip.com/usb.

About Microchip Technology
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality. For more information, visit the Microchip website at www.microchip.com.

The Microchip name and logo, PIC and MPLAB are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Inc. in the USA and other countries. PICDEM is a registered trademark of Microchip Technology Inc. in the USA and other countries. I2C is a trademark of Philips Corporation. SPI is a trademark of Motorola. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft.

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