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Enhanced 16-bit MCU line targets next-gen vehicle electronics

Posted: 11 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Freescale? S12X? HCS12? MCU? microcontroller?

Targeting designers of automotive body and multiplexing applications, Freescale Semiconductor is enhancing its S12X 16-bit microcontroller (MCU) line.

Based on the HCS12 MCU, the S12XE's features enable current HCS12 users to retain the value of their investment in software and systems design, while providing the functionality required by the next generation of vehicle electronics systems.

The lead device, S12XEP100, doubles the memory size at the top of the S12X range to 1MByte and significantly increases MCU performance for applications including central body control, instrumentation, door modules and chassis nodes. The 208 MAP BGA package option delivers many more input/output ports than previously available.

The S12XE family's 0.18 micron process technology allows larger memory areas and more peripheral modules to fit on smaller die sizes. The family offers from 16Kbyte to 1Mbyte flash. There is a memory protection unit, which guards against systematic errors in software. The MPU tackles the potential problems of different modules incorrectly interacting with each other. This feature is crucial in automotive design as it helps minimize the spreading of system failures within the automobile.

"The MPU is a particularly sought-after feature for today's market, where it is increasingly common for MCU software modules to be supplied by multiple vendors," said Kevin Klein of Freescale's Microcontroller Division.

The XGATE coprocessor module which has become an indispensable component in many automotive S12X projects, providing such functions as display driving, sophisticated pulse with modulation (PWM) capability and interrupt handling, according to Freescale. The XGATE significantly offloads the CPU, allowing it to focus on critical system activities and resulting in improved response time.

Third-party hardware and software tools are available from multiple vendors. Designers can also use existing HCS12 tools for S12XE development. In addition to demonstration and development tools, Freescale offers comprehensive technical support, including reference designs, application notes and online tutorials, all of which are designed to reduce development time.

Freescale Semiconductor offers a full range of S12X devices with various quantities of flash and application-specific functionality. The 1Mbyte S12XEP100 device is sampling now and allows up to 100 percent emulation of the whole S12XE family, down to 128,000. Pricing was not disclosed. An array of development tools including evaluation boards and C-compilers is also expected to be available later this month.

- Marty Gold

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