Microchip Introduces dsPIC33 DSC Family for Embedded Designers

10/12/2005 - Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, announced the dsPIC33 family of digital signal controllers (DSCs) for embedded designers who need high levels of performance, memory and I/O without the complexity of traditional digital signal processors (DSPs). The dsPIC33 family operates at 40 MIPS, with family members ranging from 64 to 256 Kbytes of self-programming Flash, 8 to 30 Kbytes of RAM and 64- to 100-pin packages. The dsPIC33 features an 8-channel DMA and some versions have two 1.1 Msps A/D converters. Additionally, the new dsPIC33 family has the same instruction set as the dsPIC30 family and uses the same universal MPLAB® development tools that are common to all of Microchip's controller families.

Engineers wishing to employ advanced algorithms in a control environment find that 16-bit DSPs don't have the determinism or the ability to sustain performance required for typical interrupt-intensive embedded-control applications. The dsPIC33 provides DSP levels of performance and large amounts of memory in a microcontroller-centric architecture that is ideal for embedded control. To provide further cost effectiveness and ease of design, the dsPIC33 is fully compatible with Microchip's universal MPLAB Integrated Development Environment (IDE), and tools like the MPLAB C30 C compiler.

"The dsPIC33 architecture provides a cost-effective solution for applications requiring large memory, I/O or substantial performance at 3.3 volts," said Sumit Mitra, vice president of Microchip's Digital Signal Controller Division. "The addition of 27 new dsPIC33 Flash-based DSCs to the 21 existing dsPIC30 DSCs signals our commitment to the market."

"With their dsPIC® DSCs and PIC24 MCUs, Microchip is the only company on the planet with truly unified DSP and MCU product lines," said Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts. "The dsPIC33 family gives MCU people an easy migration path to DSP performance."

Initially, two dsPIC33 product lines are being brought to market, with the following key features in common:

dsPIC33 General-Purpose DSCs
Applications for the general-purpose DSCs include: two-way radios, hands-free kits, answering machines, speech and audio playback applications, power-line modems, security systems and portable medical monitoring equipment.

Fifteen dsPIC33 general-purpose devices are being announced at this time. Key features that are specific to this family include:

dsPIC33 Motor-Control and Power-Conversion DSCs
Applications for these DSCs include: sewing machines, LED lighting arrays, washing machines, access control, online UPS, environmental control, electronically assisted power steering, precision manufacturing equipment, absolute encoders and resolvers, inverters and electric vehicles.

Twelve dsPIC33 motor-control and power-conversion devices are being announced at this time. The key features of this family include:

Microchip coined the Digital Signal Controller (DSC) term with the introduction of the dsPIC30 DSC family. The dsPIC30 DSC family is in widespread use, and new members continue to be added.

"Migrating between the dsPIC30 and dsPIC33 families is quite straightforward, since they both have the same instruction set and compatible pin-outs," added Mitra. "The dsPIC33 family is especially attractive, both from a price and feature standpoint, for applications requiring larger Flash and RAM, where extra I/O is important, or where 3.3V is the preferred chip voltage."

Development Support and Availability
Within the MPLAB IDE, high-level resources are added in a microcontroller-friendly way to allow the utilization of DSC features with minimal effort. These features include Microchip's Visual Device Initializer, which can generate initialization code in a few clicks, and the Motor Control GUI, which can be used to quickly tune dsPIC® DSC motor control libraries to a specific motor type. Sophisticated libraries have been developed that fully exploit the dsPIC DSC's capabilities while presenting a user-friendly environment for engineers. Many libraries are free, while others can be licensed for a low one-time fee. One area gaining popularity is the use of digital filters. The low-cost Digital Filter Designer and the free dsPICworksTM software can help users define filters to their specifications, simulate performance and generate code, all without immersion in DSP theory.

Selected members of the dsPIC33 family are available today for early-adopter sampling. General sampling is expected to start in calendar Q1 2006, and production availability is expected to be staged beginning in calendar Q2 2006. For additional information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip's Web site at www.microchip.com/16bit.

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.

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

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