Atmel Debuts Low Power AVR Microcontrollers for Portable Applications

2/19/2004 - Atmel® Corporation (Nasdaq: ATML) announced three new members of the megaAVR® Flash Microcontroller Family. The mega48, mega88 and mega168 are designed to address the requirements of battery operated and portable applications.

Using these new AVR® devices help engineers reduce design time, development costs and ultimately production cost. The mega48, mega88 and mega168 combine a code efficient and powerful Microcontroller with low power Flash memory technology.

Single cycle execution at 24 MHz, an optimized instruction set and an efficient on-chip hardware multiplier make the new AVR devices capable of performing tasks that earlier would require a much more expensive microcontroller or a Digital Signal Processor. Even at the minimum operating voltage of 1.8V, the clock speed can be as high as 6 MHz.

The high performance even at low operating voltage allows the AVR devices to execute computing intensive tasks at a lower VCC than competing devices. This enables significantly reduced power consumption. Matched with 5 different power saving modes including the 100 nA power down mode, this enables applications to run from smaller and cheaper batteries while maintaining the performance.

"The debugWIRE interface enables On-Chip Debug, a feature usually available only on larger devices. The debugWIRE uses the Reset line for electrical connection; hence the system designer does not have to sacrifice I/O capabilities to take full advantage of the On-Chip Debug system." Said Jim Panfil, Director of Microcontroller Products. "The debugWIRE used with the JTAGICE and the AVR Studio® user interface give the designer complete control of the Microcontroller resources, helping to reduce development time by making debugging easier." He added.

The three new devices include numerous features that enable significant system cost reduction. The integrated analog-to-digital converter removes an external component from the system. The On-Chip Calibrated RC Oscillator may eliminate the external crystal or resonator. Lower power consumption will reduce the cost of the power supply and extend battery life. Battery life may be extended even further, as the devices operate with a supply voltage down to 1.8V. The system clock can be controlled from the application, so the clock speed can be adjusted to the optimum frequency for each function to save power. Typical power consumption at 1MHz, 1.8V is less than 250 uA, at 32kHz less than 15 uA. The Self Programmable Flash lets the AVR write to its own program memory, enabling remote updates of the program and parameter storage in the flash memory.

The new AVR microcontrollers have Pin-Change Interrupts on all 23 I/O lines. The high number of interrupt pins makes the device very responsive to real world events. With as many as 6 Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) channels, the device is capable of controlling multiple analog outputs. The variable resolution gives the designer great freedom in trading PWM resolution vs. PWM frequency. This feature can also be used for generating arbitrary output waveforms.

Evaluation tools are available now. The STK500 starter kit, priced at $79, contains all the necessary hardware to evaluate programs and test the capabilities of the mega48/88/168. The $299 JTAGICE mk-II is used with the integrated debugWIRE On-Chip Debug module for emulation. The mega48 is available today. Mega88 and mega168 will be sampling in April 2004.

The 10k unit price is $1.50 for mega48, $1.80 for mega88 and $2.10 for mega168.

About Atmel
Founded in 1984, Atmel Corporation is headquartered in San Jose, California with manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe. Atmel designs, manufactures and markets worldwide, advanced logic, mixed-signal, nonvolatile memory and RF semiconductors. Atmel is also a leading provider of system-level integration semiconductor solutions using CMOS, BiCMOS, SiGe, and high-voltage BCDMOS process technologies.

Atmel, the Atmel logo, AVR, megaAVR, AVR Studio and combinations thereof are registered trademarks, and others contained herein are trademarks, of Atmel Corporation.

Information on Atmel's AVR microcontroller families can be retrieved at:

Previous Page | News by Category | News Search

If you found this page useful, bookmark and share it on: