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TI brings 32bit real-time control to cost-sensitive apps

Posted: 11 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:32bit MCU? solar power? intensive real-time control?

TI 32bit TMS320F2802x/F2803x MCUs

Texas Instruments Inc. announced a new series of 32bit TMS320F2802x/F2803x MCUs starting at less than $2 in volume. The new Piccolo F2802x/F2803x MCUs feature architectural advancements and enhanced peripherals in package sizes starting at 38-pins to bring the benefits of 32bit real-time control to applications typically unable to justify the associated cost. Real-time control offers greater system efficiency and precision through the implementation of advanced algorithms for industrial, consumer and automotive applications such as solar power micro-inverters, LED lighting, white goods appliances and hybrid automotive batteries.

"The combination of 32bit performance, enhanced peripherals and small package sizes allows designers to add real-time control and system management using just one MCU to applications that could not afford it previously," said Keith Ogboenyiya, TMS320C2000TM marketing manager, TI. "We named these devices Piccolo because of the small size and price that they offer our customers. They also double the number of C2000 options."

Energy efficiency
Piccolo F2802x/F2803x controllers can replace multiple electronic components to lower overall system cost while enabling advanced power electronics management. For example, in a variable frequency air conditioning unit, a single F2802x/F2803x controller can precisely control two electric three-phase motors as well as perform PFC calculations. Currently required in approximately 30 percent of the world's markets, including Europe, China, Japan and India, PFC improves the efficiency of the load to make best use of the power from the utility.

For commercial and industrial lighting applications, LED technology can bring up to 50 percent higher energy efficiency when compared to traditional high pressure sodium lamps. F2802x/F2803x-based LED control systems offer intelligent current control and easy system networking to bring down system complexity as well as the cost of managing color mixing and temperature control required for white LED systems.

Piccolo MCUs also offer the performance and integration to implement power line communications (PLC) for street light networks that allow cities to pinpoint power outages and centrally manage and adjust lighting based on time of day, traffic or weather conditions. According to a 2008 study prepared by Robert Grow, director of government relations for the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the 10 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. could reduce annual CO2 by 1.2 million metric tonsequal to taking 212,000 vehicles off the roadand save $90 million yearly by switching to more efficient lighting such as LED or intelligent streetlight networks for their roads.

Piccolo devices also enable higher operating efficiency and control for solar panels. Typical solar systems use one inverter across multiple panels, but initial investigations have shown that individual micro-inverters connected to each solar panel within a system can drive higher power conversation efficiencies. Micro-inverters maximize the output of each individual panel compared to system wide inverters that maximize the average output of the panels as a complete system.

The Piccolo series of MCUs will feature advancements such as a programmable, floating-point control law accelerator (CLA) designed to offload complex high speed control algorithms from the main TMS320C28x CPU. The CLA, which will be available starting with the F2803x series, frees the CPU to handle I/O and feedback loop metrics, resulting in up to a 5x performance increase for common closed-loop applications.

TI's patented, enhanced pulse width modulators (ePWM) support what TI claims to be industry's highest resolution with frequency modulation down to 150ps to enable more control over harmonics and reduce sample-to-output delay - a critical factor to avoid missing the falling edges of signals. At 4.6MSps, Piccolo devices' on-chip, 12bit ADC is up to 4x faster than the closest competitor, allowing designers to reduce the complexity and cost of the design process, while achieving excellent accuracy and performance.

Two on-chip oscillators operating at 10MHz each with 1 percent accuracy eliminate the need for external oscillators and their associated cost. Many MCUs, in comparison, integrate ring oscillators, which have drift as high as 50 percent, rendering them unsuitable for reliable communication interface clocking. Piccolo oscillators also offer triple redundancy with on-chip self-test features to help designers achieve system-level safety certifications such as the IEC 60730 safety standard required for white goods in Europe. The simple power architecture eliminates the need for external power ICs and uses a single 3.3V supply with internal regulator down to 1.9V while providing brown-out protection and power-on reset.

The first Piccolo MCUs, the F2802x series, will be available for sampling in December. It will include 40- to 60MHz variations, up to 128Kbyte flash memory, 12bit ADC, ePWM and peripherals such as: communications protocols, on-chip oscillators, analog comparators and general purpose I/Os. F2802x devices will push the low-cost envelope with pricing at sub $2 each in volume. Future device introductions in 2009 will offer higher performance and memory sizes the CLA and LIN and CAN communications peripherals. Piccolo MCUs are 100 percent code-compatible with earlier-generation C2000 devices, allowing choices from the entire portfolio.

Building on the controlCARD concept of removable target boards with general and application specific target boards, TI will introduce an F2802x/F2803x-based controlCARD in December for $49. The new controlCARD will be compatible with all C2000 experimenter's and application-specific developer's kits. Each kit includes a 32 K code-limited version of TI's Code Composer StudioTM IDE, Gerber and hardware files and free application software. Hands-on training workshops are also available worldwide.

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