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8bit MCUs aims to offer notable analogue performance

Posted: 23 Nov 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Silicon Labs? MCU? ADC? DAC? analogue?

Silicon Labs has brought to market an MCU family that claims to deliver the highest analogue performance and peripheral integration in the 8bit market. The EFM8LB1 Laser Bee MCUs are the latest addition to Silicon Labs' EFM8 MCU line-up geared for space-constrained, performance-intensive applications such as optical modules, test and measurement instrumentation, industrial control equipment and smart sensors.

The devices combine a high-speed ADC, multiple DACs, a highly accurate temperature sensor, two comparators and a 72MHz 8051 core with up to 64KB of flash. Laser Bee MCUs deliver their powerful analogue sting in a 3mm x 3mm QFN package.

EFM8 Laser Bee starter kit

EFM8 Laser Bee starter kit

The EFM8LB1 Laser Bee MCU family is geared for high-speed, analogue-intensive optical transceiver modules that are widely used in telecom and data communications. Optical module applications require small-form-factor MCUs offering exceptional analogue performance and integration. The EFM8LB1 family's high degree of analogue integration helps eliminate the need for external analogue components, reducing the overall system BOM cost and PCB space while enhancing performance. For example, Laser Bee MCUs integrate up to four 12bit DACs, eliminating the need for four external DACs typically required by optical modules.

The Laser Bee MCU's on-chip 14bit, 900ksps ADC includes an input sequencer and direct memory access (DMA) controller, enabling raw data collection without MCU intervention. This capability frees the MCU for other tasks, providing an increase in overall system performance while enabling the MCU to enter a low-power mode for energy-saving benefits. In addition, the MCU's 72MHz pipelined 8051-based 8bit core can execute more than 70 per cent of instructions in one to two clock cycles, satisfying the processing needs of high-speed optical modules and other computationally intensive applications.

EFM8LB1 MCUs integrate four configurable logic units (CLUs), enabling designers to implement combinational logic and/or synchronizers without using external components. The industry's smallest CLU implementation, the logic units support a variety of digital functions such as replacing system glue logic, generating special waveforms or synchronising system event triggers, said the company. Each CLU is completely programmable, making it easier to interface Laser Bee MCUs with other chips in the system. By reducing the component count and PCB space required to support glue logic, the logic units ultimately cut BOM cost and time to market.

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