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TI Introduces Industry's First Signal-Chain-on-Chip MCU for High Precision, Portable Sensing and Measurement

High system integration, optimized peripherals and ultra-low power make TI's MSP430F42x0 MCUs a cost-effective solution for industrial and medical applications

Apr 12, 2005

HOUSTON (April 12, 2005) – Continuing to deliver ultra-low power solutions for the portable market, TI announced the introduction of the MSP430F42x0 generation of microcontrollers (MCUs), the industry’s first low cost, signal-chain-on-a-chip (SCoC) MCU solution for high precision sensing and measurement applications. The MSP430F42x0 MCU’s ultra-low power core and complete chain of integrated peripherals such as a 16-bit sigma delta analog to digital converter (ADC), up to 32KB of flash memory and a liquid crystal display (LCD) driver with an internal charge pump let designers reduce overall system costs and development time for single-chip portable multi-meters, altimeters, industrial weight scales, thermostats and instrumentation and sensor measurement applications. For more information on the MSP430F42x0 MCUs, see www.ti.com/msp43042x0.

Signal-Chain-on-a-Chip Reduces System Costs

Starting at $2.95 in 10K quantities, the MSP430F42x0 MCU’s unmatched combination of performance, power efficiency and integration provides signal-chain-on-chip functionalities that previously have been unavailable. The integrated 16-bit ADC has five differential input channels, up to 8 thousand samples per second (KSPS) and up to a typical signal to noise and distortion ratio (SINAD) of 84 dB. This, combined with the 12-bit digital to analog converter’s (DAC) 1 microsecond settling time, lets designers leverage closed loop control to achieve the high levels of measurement and accuracy today’s portable medical and industrial applications require. The 16-bit ADC has a programmable gain amplifier, 1.2 voltage reference and an input buffer to eliminate the need for external signal conditioning for most applications. All of the peripherals have an option to minimize power consumption. The integration of up to 32KB of flash memory and LCD driver that maintains contrast control down to an input voltage of 2.2V reduces board space and build of materials by removing the need for an EEPROM and external LCD charge pump.

New MCU Opens the Door for Enhanced Applications

The MSP430F42x0 MCUs are ideal for customers looking for higher precision measurement in a smaller form factor. Portable altimeters, for example, that are as small as a quarter including the LCD display can now be integrated into almost any portable device. In the medical industry, the MSP43F4x70 MCU’s optimized peripherals are ideal for enabling highly precise measurements for more accurate, clinical quality readings such as those from a blood cholesterol meter.

MSP430F42x0 MCUs are designed to work in the harsh environments typically found in industrial and medical applications. When a crystal fails due to moisture or a foreign substance during active or any low-power mode, the MSP430F42x0 is able to acknowledge the failure, re-start the on-chip clock system oscillator and generate a non-maskable interrupt to service the condition.

Battery replacement in high precision equipment can cause voltage fluctuations. The zero-power brown-out reset (BOR) function is designed to reset the MSP430 during a low voltage condition below specification preventing an unpredictable behavior on the device.

Lowest Power MCU Extends Battery Life

The MSP430F4270 MCU’s 2.5 minimum voltage for flash in-system programming and erasing and 16-bit ADC extends the life of alkaline battery-powered systems by 50 percent. The MSP430 MCU’s hallmark ultra-low power platform features a typical real time clock standby current of 1.1 microamps (uA) and a 250uA active mode that lets engineers tune system clocking to precisely meet the power requirements for their application. Fast instruction execution enabled by a modern 16-bit RISC CPU coupled with the ability to start-up from standby in less than six microseconds with a fully synchronized high-speed system clock results in total power consumption that is ten times lower than that of competitive devices.

Development Support

MSP430F42x0 MCUs are specified for operation from 1.8 V to 3.6 V and are fully software-compatible with all existing MSP430 devices. Designers can start development today with the $149 flash emulation tool (FET) MSP-FET430U48, which includes a new USB-based, JTAG interface target board and a complete integrated development environment including a debugger, assembler/linker and C-complier. The tool chain supports real-time in-system development, accessing the device’s embedded emulation logic that includes programming, full-speed operation, breakpoint and clock control capabilities.

Availability and Pricing

The MSP430F4270 MCU will feature 32 KB of flash memory, with the F4260 and F4250 MCUs featuring 24 KB and 16 KB of flash memory, respectively. All three devices include 256 B RAM, and 32 input output channels (I/Os). Samples of MSP430F42x0 MCUs are available today with volume production in May 2005. Pricing will start from $2.95 in 10,000-piece quantities (suggested resale pricing). More information about TI’s MSP430 platform of MCUs is available on the World Wide Web at www.ti.com/msp430.