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16bit MCU: ready for 32bit action

Posted: 01 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:16bit MCU? microcontroller? 32bit MCU? automotive application? RTSC?

By Manfred Choutka
Product Marketing Manager, Microcontrollers
Infineon Technologies AG

The C166 architecture has earned itself a reputation as one of the most successful 16bit MCU families in a wide variety of industrial and automotive applications. From start, the C166 architecture was designed for high real-time performance, with fast execution of instructions, rapid response times, and intelligent peripheral functionality. Compared to C166 components, the XC166 family delivered a major speed boost, yet their successors, the new XE166 family of real-time signal controllers (RTSC), take performance to new heights, propelling 16bit MCUs into the 32bit league.

All the RTSCs in the XE166 family are based on the C166S V2 core. Clocked at 80MHz and capable of executing instructions in a single cycle, XE166 chips deliver 80 MIPStwice the performance of their predecessors, the XC166 family. The outstanding real-time performance is due to fast interrupt response times, rapid context switching, and the addition of two more local register banks. Also, in comparison with the XC166 family, the XE166 MCUs have up to 768Kbyte of flash memory, three times the capacity.

Based on the C166S V2 core, Infineon's XE166 family offers fast interrupt response times and rapid context switching for challenging real-time industrial applications.

XE166 features
The XE167 and XE164 series, built around an expanded C166S V2 core with a five-stage pipeline, exceed the performance of conventional 16bit solutions considerably. With an 80MHz clock speed, a minimum instruction execution time of 12.5ns, an interrupt latency of less than 100ns, a maximum of 768Kbyte of on-chip flash memory, 82Kbyte of on-chip RAM, and several high-performance peripherals, these successor generations to the C166 architecture are the suitable controllers for challenging applications in fields like renewable energy, drive systems, industrial automation, power supplies, and healthcare equipment.

The high-performance peripherals include up to four pulse-width modulation (PWM) units (CCU6E) as well as two synchronized ADCs with up to 24 channels, 10bit resolution, and a conversion time of less than 1.2?s. Intelligent preprocessing of recorded data eases the load on the XE166 core. Tightly coupled with the PWM units (CCU6E), these high-precision converters can be used to control up to four motors.

Each CCU6E unit consists of a T12 timer block with three capture/compare channels and a T13 timer block with a single capture/compare channel. The T12 channels can generate up to six PWM signals and accept six triggers. This allows the control of up to three power half-bridges with automatic dead time generation. Besides generating the signal patterns needed to drive AC motors or inverters, the RTSCs provide special operating modes for controlling brushless DC motors.

XE166 MCUs represent a significant performance gain for the C166 architecture.

For external communication, the controllers have a powerful MultiCAN block with up to five independent CAN nodes and a maximum of 128 message objects. This enables, say, a FIFO or a CAN gateway to be implemented with ease. The universal serial interfaces can be used as UARTs, SPIs, LINs, IICs or IISs.

The XE166 family's command set is backward-compatible with existing C16x derivatives but has been augmented with a multiply and accumulate unit. Among other things, this can complete a 16bit x16bit multiplication in just one clock cycle. Likewise new is the flexible power supply of 3- to 5.5V with two separate domains, designed to provide an optimum supply for the ADCs as well as the digital functionality. A regulated voltage for the core is generated directly on the chip. The controllers also have an integrated JTAG interface with an on-chip debug system (OCDS) and an on-chip bootstrap loader. Both of these features enable exceptionally efficient debugging.

Integrated functions, including a voltage regulator, EEPROM emulation with additional flash modules, an oscillator, a watchdog, and brown-out detection, reduce the need for external components and, thus, the BOM system costs.

The XE166 has a powerful MultiCAN block with up to five independent CAN nodes and a maximum of 128 message objects to enable efficient communication.

Support tools
A wide range of development tools is also available for the XE166 family, including evaluation boards, debuggers, compilers and documentation. DaVE, a tool for initialization, configuration and code generation, is available for the XE166. All compilers for the XE166 family also include an OCDS debugger, and some additionally offer a real-time kernel and simulator.

In addition, Altium, in association with Infineon, offers a free XE166 Tasking C compiler with a one-year license. The version of the Altium Tasking C166 Compiler Toolset developed specifically for the XE166 features an integrated development environment that eases access to the CrossView Pro source-level debugger, which simplifies connecting to any XE166 EasyKit evaluation board. It also includes a preinstalled, working design examples, step-by-step instructions and additional, advanced tools, including automatically generated start-up code, help developers embarking on the design process get up to speed quickly.

The XE164 is available in a 100-pin, lead-free LQFP (75 I/O pins) and the XE167 in a 144-pin LQFP (118 I/O pins), each with a 0.5mm pitch. Both components operate with a 3.3- to 5V power supply and in a temperature range from -40C to +85C.

The XE166 portfolio, including the XE164/167 series, currently comprises 28 products. They differ in terms of their flash memory capacity (192-, 384-, 576- and 768Kbyte), RAM capacity (24-, 34-, 50- and 82Kbyte), operating frequency (66- or 80MHz), scalability of their peripheral functions, and their packages (Pb-free, LQFP with 100 or 144 pins). Infineon will extend its offering at both the lower end of the performance range (XE162, 64 pins) and the upper end (XE169, 176 pins) to create a complete new generation of 16bit MCUs.

Wide range of applications
Many applications that control electric motors should be able to process a large number of external signals at high speed. The XE166 family, with its low interrupt response latency and fast context switching, is optimized for this kind of application. The CPU core, peripheral event controller (PEC), and peripheral functions are specifically designed to enable efficient interrupt handling. The advantages in terms of speed and simplicity of implementation and energy efficiency really show in applications involving multiple motors. The CCU6E unit, with two timers for signal generation, enables engineers to create highly efficient designs, regardless of the type of motor to be controlled or the control algorithm.

The XE166 is a complete 16bit family for a wide range of industrial applications.

The MCUs' intended range of applications encompasses everything from relatively simple control operations in pumps, fans, compressors, and HVAC systems to considerably more complex tasks in servo drives, CNC machines, process control systems, robotics systems, power supplies and inverters.

Another important field of application for the XE166 family is in high-efficiency control systems for inverters and voltage converters. They enable energy-efficient solutions in the transportation sector locomotives, streetcars, buses and agricultural machineryas well as in the renewable energy sector (in solar, fuel cell and wind power generating systems). With their fast interrupt timing and flexible PWM generation, they can also be used to control anything from small machines to the high-voltage motors capable of replacing conventional hydraulic systems.





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