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NXP’s LPC1500 MCU series drives multiple motors simultaneously

March 5, 2014 Comments off

LPC1500

LPC1500

NXP Semiconductors N.V. recently released the LPC1500 microcontroller series, optimized for fast, easy, and high-precision motor control.

So, what’s unique about the new LPC family? First, the LPC1500 was designed to simplify motor control for the masses. It has the flexibility to drive various types of motors, such as ACIM, PMSM, BLDC, etc. The LPC1500 can also drive multiple motors simultaneously.

These aren’t all! The hardware interconnection between the SCTimer/PWM, ADCs and comparators allow the motor to be driven with little CPU intervention. It has free LPCXpresso IDE and free FOC firmware for sensored and sensorless motors that reduces cost and improves time to market.

Looking at the unique features and benefits, the Switch Matrix allows any function to be routed out to any pin making schematic capture and board layout simpler and faster. The SCTimer/PWM block is unique to NXP.

Benefits are, it can run independently of the CPU and generate extremely precise PWM waveforms for quiet, smooth, efficient motor drive. The 2x 2Msps 12b,12ch ADCs can measure simultaneous phase currents to determine precise motor position and speed. There are four comparators for fast system shutdown upon fault detection.

The LPC1500 is suitable for large appliances, HVAC, building automation, factory automation, industrial pumps and generators, digital power, remote sensing, etc.

How will the LPC1500 aid embedded engineers? According to NXP, it saves time to market using the free FOC firmware and GUI tuning tool. It also saves system cost by using only one system MCU, e.g., HVAC typically has one MCU for fan control and one MCU for the compressor. LPC1500 can control both.

The LPC1500 feature set makes it ideal for sensorless motor control removing the need for sensored motors and allowing customers to switch to cheaper sensorless motors. As the SCTimer/PWM can run independently of the CPU, the freed up CPU bandwidth can be used to control other parts of the system for example the LPC1500 can be used for both the control and motor board in a washing machine.

NXP is currently working with customers to understand their future requirements and developing the roadmap to match their needs.

Electronics For You has a new website!


EFY's Website.

EFY’s Website.

Electronics For You, India’s leading electronics magazine, has a brand new website (see image)!

This is a great effort made by the Web development team at EFY Enterprises  as the site was long overdue. This launch also co-incides with Electronics Rocks, an EFY event for design engineers that is taking place today and tomorrow in Bangalore.

The top most block is the Editor’s Choice, consisting of nine entry points, for now, to various stories. There is a smattering of choices – from Solar LED lantern to analog wattmeter, and to SMT components.

Folks, there is a block on Circuit Ideas! It is meant for all of those electronics geeks,who spend hours and hours browsing for new electronic designs and circuits!

Next, there is a block on videos, that runs things like  How to Solder Waterproof LED Strip Light to World’s first Mixed Domain Oscilloscope. This section should be quite captivating!

There are several other sections such as Innovators, Test & Measurement, Microcontrollers, Tech Focus, Interviews, etc. Career Trends is one section that is sure to get lot of hits!

A concern could be too many banner ads on the right, especially with the flash, moving parts, which makes for a really busy site. With two ads next to each other, just feels too busy. However, that’s what generates revenues, so maybe, it is fine!

The Electronics For You website is still in beta. The final version will go live on October 1, 2012. Kudos to the entire team at EFY!

ST launches STM32 F4 series of MCUs

September 22, 2011 5 comments

The STM32 F4 series of MCUs.

The STM32 F4 series of MCUs.

STMicroelectronics has launched the STM32 F4 series of microcontrollers (MCUs), based on the latest ARM Cortex-M4 core. This adds to the signal-processing capabilities and faster operations to the portfolio of STM32 MCUs.

The STM32 F4 series brings the world’s highest performance Cortex-M microcontrollers at 168 MHz FCPU/210 DMIPS and 363 Coremark score.

Vinay Thapliyal, technical marketing manager-India, Microcontroller Division, Greater China and South Asia region, STMicroelectronics Marketing Pvt Ltd, said that the series extends the ST’M32 portfolio of 250+ compatible devices already in production, including the F1 series, F2 series and ultra-low-power L1 series, respectively. ST is said to have 45 percent of the market share by units.

The  STM32 F4 series of MCUs are re-inforced on five pillars:
* Real-time performance — 168MHz/210 DMIPS.
* Outstanding power efficiency.
* Superior and innovative peripherals.
* Maximum integration – 1Mbyte Flash, 192 Kbyte SRAM.
* Extensive tools and hardware — CMSIS DSP library, Matlab support, various IDE starter kits, RTOS and stacks.

A Coremark study says that STM32 F4 gives the best acceleration and highest speed. Thapliyal added, “We are ready for the market.” It takes ART to be #1 in performance: It is a combination of core, embedded Flash design, process, acceleration techniques, etc.

ST’s ART Accelerator, an adaptive real-time memory unleashes the Cortex M4 core’s maximum processing performance equal to 0-wait state execution, and Flash upto 168MHz. Real-time performance is the 32-bit multi AHB bus matrix. The layers are independent of each other.

The STM32 F4 series boasts a high-performance digital signal controller. The MCU leads to the ease of use of C programming, interrupt handling and ultra-low power. The FPU facilitates single precision, ease of use, better code efficiency, faster time to market, eliminates scaling and saturation, and easier support for meta-language tools. The DSP is based on Harvard architecture, single-cycle MAC and barrel shifter.

It also boasts of an outstanding power efficiency.  The 230 μA/MHz, 38.6 mA at 168 MHz executing Coremark benchmark from Flash memory (with peripherals off), has been made possible with:
* ST’s 90nm process allowing the CPU core to run at only 1.2 V.
* ART Accelerator reducing the number of accesses to Flash.
* Voltage scaling to optimize performance/power consumption.
* VDD min down to 1.7 V.
* Low-power modes with backup SRAM and RTC support.

The low power in real-life applications is not just low-power mode. There is also a need to consider the percentage of time spend in low-power (LP) mode and in Run mode. If competitors are claiming better low-power modes, these are only an advantage if the overall system is spending more than 90 percent of the time doing nothing in low-power mode.

Superior and innovative peripherals includes, among others, two USB OTGs, two full duplexes PWMs at 168MHz, ADC at 2.4MSPS.

As for maximum integration, the 1-Mbyte Flash and 192-Kbyte SRAM memories available in the product accommodate advanced software stacks and user data, with no need for external memories. The 4-Kbyte SRAM battery back-up is used to save the application state and calibration data (SRAM block used as an EEPROM). In addition, the 528 bytes of OTP memory make it possible to store critical user data, such as the Ethernet MAC addresses or cryptographic keys. Read more…

STMicroelectronics unveils STM32 F-2 series of MCUs

December 1, 2010 Comments off

STM32 F-2 block diagram.

STM32 F-2 block diagram.

STMicroelectronics has unveiled its roadmap for ARM Cortex-M4 and -M0 with products sampling from mid 2011 onward and production by end of 2011. It has also unleashed the full performance of the Cortex-M3 with its latest STM32 F-2 series.

According to Vinay Thapliyal, technical marketing manager, MCU, STMicroelectronics, India, there are over 30 new part numbers, pin-to-pin and software compatible with existing STM32 devices.

He said: “Today, we already have 110 parts running for the F-1 series, which is currently existing and in full production. Now, we are extending the family. This time, we have launched the F-2 family — the highest performance family — to unleash the ultimate performance of Cortex-M3.” Naturally, the F-2 series is benefiting the existing F-1 devices.

As mentioned, 30 new devices will be launched. They are already ramping now. “All of these belong to the high-performance, low-power family. We will also be revealing our roadmap for M4 and M0 — to be  in production by end of 2011, with sampling by middle of 2011.”

ST’s F-2 series will further enhance real time preformance. Thapliyal added that ST has built in ART accelerator into these devices. This will deliver 150 DMIPS (Dhrystone MIPS) at 120MHz.

The adaptive real-time memory accelerator unleashes the Cortex-M3 core’s maximum processing performance equivalent to 0-wait state execution Flash up to 120 MHz.

The ART accelerator is a pre-fetch queue and branch cache mechanism that stores the first instructions and constants of the branches, interrupt and subroutine calls. The penalty occurs the first time those events occur like for any pipelining mechanism.

After that, the instructions stored in cache are pushed immediately in the pref-etch queue upon recognition of a stored branch address. In addition, the embedded Flash is organized in 128-bit rows, allowing up to 8 (16-bit) instructions to be read per access. Read more…

TI on green power and MCUs


Here’s the second part of the TI roundtable, held recently.

Green power and TI

Ramprasad Ananthaswamy, director, Power Management Products, Texas Instruments India, discussed the various aspects of green power. The notion of energy and power management has become central to every country’s foreign policy, including India. The current demand is 2.1 billion units, and rising, while only 1.85 billion units are currently available.

The power IC landscape is rapidly evolving – new technologies are being developed. Even well established mega-markets are changing process technologies that are used – driven, for example, by the integration of added sensor functionality.

Ananthaswamy highlighted TI’s role in green power. TI, along with leading energy harvesting vendors, are creating a complete ecosystem allowing designers to not only envision but also create a battery-less world. Also, TI’s LED lighting portfolio and worldwide technical support network are helping LED designers achieve their goals faster.

Think MCUs

Shailesh Thakurdesai, business development manager – Microcontrollers, touched upon the role of MCUs. For instance, are you aware that an average person touches approximately 300 microcontrollers in a day? Almost every electronic device that an average person touches through the course of the day features an MCU. MCUs are everywhere — in applications like personal healthcare and fitness, security, automotive safety & infotainment and consumer electronics.

From energy harvesting to aiding cutting-edge medical applications to bringing healthcare into homes, MCUs have helped to make a difference in the way people use electronics. In the energy segment, MCUs are used in:

* Street/ commercial LED lighting, home lighting etc.
* UPS, battery chargers and inverters.
* Energy harvesting, renewable energy generation, solar micro inverters etc.
* Metering – energy, water, gas.
* MCUs help arm modern-day electronics with longer battery life, portability and functionality.

In healthcare, it can be used for applications like personal healthcare and fitness equipment, portable healthcare devices like digital thermometers, handheld ultrasound, blood pressure meters, etc. It is also used in consumer electronics like mobile phones, computers, TVs, toys, etc. Read more…

Infineon’s wireless strategy focuses on low cost solutions and smartphones

July 2, 2010 Comments off

Fairly recently, thanks to the great efforts of Infineon’s Abhinav Alok, I was able to meet up with Dr Matthias Ludwig, Head – Wireless for APAC and Infineon Korea and Peter Schaefer, VP & GM, Head – Microcontrollers, Infineon.

However, post the meeting, to my horror, I misplaced my notes and only managed to locate them last week. My apologies to Infineon for being late with this blog post.

I was able to discuss Infineon’s wireless strategy with Dr Ludwig and also managed a peek at Infineon’s range of microcontrollers during my discussion with Peter Schaefer. First, let’s have a look at the company’s wireless strategy.

Dr Matthias Ludwig said: “We are good in RF and baseband. There are about 1.5 billion RF transceivers out there globally, from Infineon.” He added that one third of the market falls in the low cost mobile phone segment.

Infineon’s wireless strategy is two fold — low cost solutions and the smartphone platform — where the company is focusing on the modem and the RF side, respectively. Infineon’s Android based smartphone platform uses an ARM 11 baseband. “Customers can come up with their own application processor,” Dr Ludwig said. “Our strategy gives us a lot of flexibility.”

He mentioned that Infineon receives a lot of requests from customers for smartphones at $100 solutions. “We believe that we can manage our single core Android platform in the $100 segment.”

Thanks to Dr Ludwig, I had a first hand experience of some of the smartphones that Infineon is currently working on. Actually, think about it! A $100 dollar (and even sub $100) smartphone may be just the thing Indians would love to have.

As for Infineon’s India strategy — part of the focus is on low cost. “We know that there is tough competition out there,” noted Dr. Ludwig. One other aspect that Infineon is focusing on is: how to develop and build an ecosystem in the country.

Of course, Infineon is also looking beyond the Indian market when it is developing solutions. In that respect, Dr Ludwig added that one of Infineon’s focus is to find the sweet spots that are not only of interest to India. “There is a certain drive to have low end products. Safety and reliability of the products are also important,” he concluded.

I will add a separate post on the conversation with Peter Schaefer, VP & GM, Head Microcontrollers, Infineon.

Analog and MCUs stand out: Dr. Bobby Mitra, TI


Dr. Biswadip (Bobby) Mitra, president & MD, TI India.

Dr. Biswadip (Bobby) Mitra, president & MD, TI India.

It is always a pleasure to listen to Dr. Biswadip (Bobby) Mitra, president and managing director, Texas Instruments India. Therefore, when Texas Instruments India invited me to a media roundtable today, it was an event to look forward too. However, the famous Bangalore traffic jam held me up so long that I missed out on most of Dr Mitra’s keynote! Nevertheless, I did catch some bits of it toward the end.

Dr. Mitra noted that LEDs and lighting applications are becoming a key area for growth in India. He added that the industrial segment is just right in terms of applications in electronics growth.

In telecom, analog and MCUs stand out. “Every single customer has to use analog as part of its system design. Our no. 1 position in analog gives us a unique position,” he added.

MCUs play a very important role in a huge number of areas — from consumer appliances, energy meters, lighting products etc. There is a huge customer base in India where very large application specific innovation has been happening.

In India, TI has set up a strong sales network across 14 locations, giving it a pan-India presence. Dr. Mitra added: “We want to tap the India market with sales support and applications support. You need to work hand in hand with the OEMs. We also need to get closer to our customers.” TI India supports both Indian and MNC OEMs.

“The amount of system designs being done by the MNC OEMs in India is pretty high. The third area — design houses — these OEMs are their customers. The fourth area belongs to the EMS players,” he said.

Today was virtually a walk into TI India’s ‘kitchen.’  The roundtable participants were shown demos of some really cool products and applications, especially the handheld pico projector, which also played 3D cinema!

The sessions were largely focused on analog, low power and energy efficiency, metering, solar PV/solar inverters, LEDs, medical electronics, etc. — all key areas of focus for the Indian electronics and semiconductor industries.

I will add bits from the other speakers at this event later. Stay tuned folks!

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