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MCU equips non-volatile FRAM, on-chip LCD controller

Posted: 08 Oct 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:MCU? FRAM? LCD controller? I/O?

Texas Instruments released a family of low-power MCUs featuring non-volatile FRAM, on-chip LCD controller and 60 capacitive-touch-enabled general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins.

The company also introduced LaunchPad, a rapid prototyping kit that integrates the new MSP430FR4x MCU. The kit includes a segmented LCD driver with software-configurable LCD pins to enable quick and easy hardware layout and an integrated charge pump that allows the LCD contrast level to be maintained even when the MCU is in low-power modes. The LCD controller can drive up to 256 segments to support large displays used in panel meters and portable health and fitness equipment.

LaunchPad kit

TI simplifies low-power microcontroller development with non-volatile FRAM, flexible on-chip LCD controller and abundant I/O. Source: TI

The 16KB non-volatile FRAM memory in the MCU boasts unbeatable write speeds, exponentially increasing the amount of data that can be collected, outlasting the product lifetime itself. FRAM simplifies code development because it does not require pre-erasure of segments and can be accessed at the bit-level, enabling constant on-the-fly data logging with zero extra power. Wireless firmware updates are less complex, faster and lower energy. FRAM can also reduce manufacturing costs by decreasing programming times on an assembly line.

"The unique flexibility of TI's FRAM MCUs allowed us to partition between RAM-type memory and program memory anywhere within the FRAM and create a unique, low-cost e-ink display solution within a compact footprint," said Don Powrie, CEO of DLP Design. "Normally, in order to get this amount of RAM, we would require a much larger MCU, thereby driving up the overall product cost."

MSP430FR4x MCUs come in 48-pin to 64-pin devices in LQFP and TSSOP package options. The MCUs are now sampling, with production quantities due in November, starting at $1.65. The LaunchPad is available at $13.99.

Block diagram of MSP430FR4x

All I/Os can be configured as Capacitive Touch I/Os. Source: TI

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