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ZiLOG's new Crimzon MCU offers on-chip "learning" capability

Posted: 22 Nov 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:zilog? ZLP12840? Crimzon? microcontroller? mcu?

ZiLOG Inc.'s ZLP12840 Crimzon microcontroller (MCU) family offers an 'on-chip' ability to learn codes from other infrared (IR) remote controls via a learning circuit. Learning features are becoming increasingly popular in the mid- to high-end remote control market, according to the company.

These features capture the IR signal from any other remote control then duplicate it on the 'learning' remote. Once the codes are captured, they are mapped to keys on the universal remote via integrated firmware. This learning function is especially useful in instances where a consumer has a number of remote controls and wishes to consolidate this number down to a single universal remote control (URC) unit, or has purchased a new device and wishes to add these codes to the URC.

The ZLP12840 is a one-time programmable (OTP) device based on ZiLOG's proprietary Z8 core, and provides a stable base platform that allows rapid development, small-volume production and a migration path to mask ROM for high-volume production of remote controls. Available immediately in 20-pin and 28-pin SOIC, SSOP and PDIP packages, and with OTP memory choices ranging from 32K to 128K, the ZLP12840 devices are fully software-compatible with ZiLOG's existing portfolio of Crimzon ROM-based IR MCUs.

To capture the small IR signal from the photodiode of the remote so that the codes can be integrated, an external signal amplification circuit or comparator are typically used. This external circuitry adds to the overall BoM cost and has a tendency to reduce reliability. What differentiates the ZLP12840 is that the code-learning functionality is integrated on-chip, meaning a significant cost saving of between 10 cents and 25 cents per unit for customers, said ZiLOG. This built-in IR amplifier's well-tuned gain makes the user's programming task easier with a wider range (typically 0 to 8 inches) of capture distance between the original remote and the learning remote. In addition, ZLP12840's patented timers (T8/T16) support all infrared signals in the market and can capture a signal with a carrier frequency of up to 1MHz and transmit an infrared signal with a carrier frequency of up to 4MHz.

One important feature of the ZLP12840 is its 'Stop Mode Recovery' source which can also be used as an external interrupt source. This means that any change in any logic combination of the 12 input pins can be used to wake up the MCU from 'STOP' mode or generating an interrupt.

Another key feature of the ZLP12840 is increased RAM size (1KB), which allows significant amounts of code sets to be programmed into the remote with less design time being spent on optimizing the supporting code. In addition, the large range of OTP memory offered allows for a larger universal remote control code database to be built in, allowing the OEM remote control to cover a larger percentage of the market for electrical items such as TVs, DVDs, VCRs, audio equipment, HVAC, lighting and other devices in the home compatible with remote control operation.

"The ZLP12840 family is a precursor to a 64K ROM part expected out in the first half of 2006 and was developed following significant periods of research and development, talking to customers and engineers in order to find out what the needs of the URC market," said Dr. Norman Sheridan, executive vice president of technology and operations at ZiLOG. Pricing ranges from $2.66 to $3.54 based on 1,000-unit quantities for 32K to 128K OTP sizes. A development kit (part number ZLP128ICE01ZEM) priced at $1,248 is available for the ZLP12840 and contains an in-circuit emulator, URC IR development board, all cables, adapters and towers needed to emulate and program all 20-pin, 28-pin packages, and the ZDS II with C-compiler, simulator and IDE.

- Marty Gold

eeProductCenter




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