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ST’s 8-bit MCUs make efficient use of technology

March 17, 2009

STMicroelectronics (ST) recently introduced the new 8-bit microcontroller, the STM8S. This new MCU is said to be robust and reliable, and price competitive with system cost integration. Some other features include
• Performance up to 20MIPs @ 24Mhz;
• Excellent code density;
• Leading edge embedded Flash technology with true embedded E²Data; and
• Embedded debug function with low-cost development tools.

In fact, the company announced the general availability of the STM8S105 and STM8S207 MCUs for industrial and consumer applications. Key features of the new devices include high-performance 8-bit architecture, modular peripherals and pin-compatible packages to raise performance, scalability and value for current 8-bit and 16-bit applications.

The STM8S platform enables new generations of 8-bit MCUs, offering up to 20 MIPS CPU capability and 2.95-5.5V operation to help legacy 8-bit systems transition to lower supply voltages. Its 130nm embedded non-volatile memory is among the most advanced technologies currently in use with 8-bit MCUs, and provides true EEPROM data-write with 300,000-cycle durability.

So, what would be typical applications addressed by ST’s STM8S? These would be — home appliances, HVAC, user interfaces, factory automation, motor control, sensors, lighting, e-bikes, circuit breakers, personal care, rechargeable battery operated devices, toys and game accessories, power supplies and power management, and power tools.

The microcontroller boasts advanced architecture for performance. These include:
• High performance core:
– Advanced Harvard and CISC architecture.
– New arithmetic instructions (yXx,y/x).
– 20MIPs peak @ 24Mhz Fcpu.

• Innovative architecture:
– 128 kB linear address space, no paging.
– 16-bit index registers.
– Internal 32-bit memory interface and three-stage pipeline.
– Advanced clock controller for better power consumption and noise control.

The STM8 is said to deliver high performance with excellent code compactness. ST has efficiently made use of technology to break price barriers. According to the company, technology is driving 8-bit evolution, and breakthrough has been achieved with 130nm lithography. The MCU also makes use of E² non-volatile memory, analog and digital peripherals.

STM8S – software requirements for safety
• Immune against EMS, strong against Latchup or ESD.
• Low noise emission.
• Embedded system supporting IEC 60335 class B compliance
– Self test
– Build-in checks (check-sum, ECC..)
– Illegal op. codes
– Interrupt handling
– Clock failure detection, recovery
– Watchdogs (Time monitoring, program flow)

In summary, the STM8 MCU is a high performance 20 MIPs core. Features include lower system cost, and friendly IDE with free software suite.

As for the touch sensing software suite, ST is offering complete NRE/royalty-free source code solution to enable 8-bit STM8 MCU platforms for capacitive touch sensing capability. You can detect the capacitive human touch by controlling the charge/discharge timing cycle of an RC network formed by a single resistor and the electrode capacitance Cx.

The suite has multi-function capability to combine capacitive sensing function to the traditional MCU features (communication, LED control, beeper, LCD control). It delivers with hardware development platform and diagnostic tools to ease the design process.

I will be speaking with ST even further on how MCUs are shaping the embedded world. Stay tuned!

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