DSP, Micros & Memory


Microcontrollers for functional safety

29 May 2020 DSP, Micros & Memory

As the Internet of Things (IoT) delivers greater connectivity for industrial and home applications and as connected vehicles enhance cabin and operational features, higher-performance microcontrollers are required for better real-time control as well as to enable enhanced human-machine interface applications. Microchip recently announced its next generation AVR DA family of microcontrollers (MCUs) – its first ‘Functional Safety Ready’ AVR MCU family with peripheral touch controller (PTC).

“With this AVR DA family of microcontrollers, Microchip builds on its legacy of high performance and high code efficiency devices, now meeting new demand across multiple industries with advanced analog and core independent peripherals and more capacitive touch channels over existing devices,” said Greg Robinson, associate vice president of marketing, 8-bit microcontroller business unit. “The technology spans applications from connected home security, building automation and sensor systems to automotive and industrial automation, enabling the designs of more robust, accurate and responsive applications.”

Microchip’s Functional Safety Ready designation is applied to devices that incorporate the latest safety features and are supported by safety manuals, Failure Modes, Effects and Diagnostic Analysis (FMEDA) reports and in some cases, diagnostic software – reducing the time and cost of certifying safety end applications.

The AVR DA MCU family includes several integrated safety functions to ensure robust operation – features ensuring a sufficient supply voltage such as power-on reset, brown-out detector and voltage-level monitor. The cyclic redundancy check (CRC) scan ensures the application code in the Flash memory is valid. By ensuring code integrity, unintended and potentially unsafe behaviour of the application

can be avoided.

The new family of MCUs enable CPU speeds of 24 MHz over the full supply voltage range, memory density of up to 128 KB Flash, 16 KB SRAM and 512 Bytes of EEPROM, 12-bit differential ADC, 10-bit DAC, analog comparators and zero cross detectors.

The PTC enables capacitive touch interface designs supporting buttons, sliders, wheels, touchpads, smaller touchscreens as well as gesture controls used in a wide range of consumer and industrial products and vehicles. The AVR DA family of MCUs is supporting up to 46 self-capacitance and 529 mutual-capacitive touch channels and features the latest generation PTC with Driven Shield+ and boost mode technologies providing enhanced noise immunity, water tolerance, touch sensitivity and response time.

In addition, the AVR DA family of MCUs brings additional value to embedded real-time control systems. The integrated event system enables inter-peripheral communication without involving the CPU. Events are latency free and never lost, providing enhanced real-time performance and predictability for reliable and safe designs. By reducing the time the CPU needs to be active, the overall power consumption of the application is reduced.

The configurable custom logic peripheral enables the setup of logical functions internally, eliminating the need for external components, reducing board space and bill of material costs. With the new advanced analog features like the 12-bit differential ADC, the AVR DA family of MCUs can measure small amplitude signals in noisy environments, making them well suited for sensor node applications in harsh environments.

The AVR DA family of MCUs’ high memory density and SRAM-to-Flash ratio make it attractive for both wireless and wired connected sensors nodes, as well as other stack-intensive applications.

Development tools

Microchip’s AVR DA family of MCUs offers several options for software and hardware support. Software support includes MPLAB X, MPLAB Xpress and Atmel Studio, code configuration tools including MCC and START and compilers including GCC, XC8 and the IAR Embedded Workbench. A functional safety certified version of the XC8 compiler is available via Microchip’s Functional Safety Ready program.

Hardware support is included in debuggers/programmers including MPLAB PICkit 4, MPLAB SNAP, Atmel ICE and the AVR128DA48 Curiosity Nano evaluation kit.

For more information contact Shane Padayachee, Avnet South Africa, +27 11 319 8600, shane.padayachee@avnet.eu, www.avnet.co.za


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