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Lowest Power MSP430 Microcontrollers from Texas Instruments

By Bill Giovino
Jun 9, 2008 - 6:10:35 PM

Texas Instruments has introduced their lowest power MSP430 microcontroller to date!
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(June 9, 2008) - Texas Instruments today has announced a new family of 16-bit MSP430 microcontrollers. Labelled the MSP430F5xx family, these new devices run faster than previous versions of the MSP430, sport even more configurable for low power options, and run at an unheard of 160µA/MHz.

Texas Instruments' MSP430 microcontroller family is possibly the lowest power 16-bit RISC microcontroller available today and is miserly in it's approach to using supply current. Based on a proprietary TI core, the MSP430 has a wide range of on-chip options including accurate A/Ds, LCD controllers, and a hardware multiply. The MSP430 is perhaps best known for TI's famous low power demonstrations where a small MSP430 circuit board is powered by only a grapefruit battery.

MSP430 5xx Family Roadmap
MSP430 5xx Family Roadmap
The new MSP430F5xx family has many new and significant low power features, including:

  • 25MHz core speed
  • Up to 256KBytes Flash
  • Up to 16KBytes RAM
  • A record low 160µA/MHz
  • A Power Management Module (PMM), which allows voltage to the core to be varied from 1.4V to 1.9V in four steps
  • A Unified Clock System with fail-safe clock operation
  • Up to Eight DMA channels
  • 32-bit Real Time Clock (RTC) for extended sleep times
  • Core off with peripherals running draws a mere 2µA
  • A RAM and Status retention mode of 1µA
  • Programmable GPIO drive levels
  • An improved A/D with higher performance and lower current consumption
  • Ability to turn different RAM sectors on or off to conserve power

Additional features include a hardware 32x32 multiply, a 4-wire JTAG interface, and integrated pull-up and pull-down resistors on GPIO pins.

Today's TAM for the low power 16-bit flash microcontroller marketplace is U.S. $10 Billion, and it is seen by Microcontroller.com as the fast growing microcontroller marketplace - outpacing even 8-bit and 32-bit microcontrollers. According to Murugavel Raju, Strategic Marketing Manager for the Texas Instruments MSP430, revenue for the MSP430 has "doubled over the past five years", and is growing "much faster than the growth of the industry itself".

Microcontroller.com sees tremendous growth in the low power 16-bit Flash microcontroller marketplace.

Low Power Peripherals 
Unused peripherals can be switched off so as to draw no current. Future F5xx devices will include new peripherals such as USB 2.0, an encryption module, and a new LCD interface. New RF transceiver modules are also planned, including ZigBee® and Simplicity transceivers. A new high-resolution timer is planned which can facilitate high resolution digital sampling for applications such as data loggers and voice recognition.

Low Power Memory
Up to 1 MByte of linear memory space is provided. For applications running off of two AAA batteries, read/erase/write of the Flash is possible at voltages down to 1.8V, allowing Flash programming even when the batteries are near end-of-life. The new 5xx family also allows software control of RAM power - RAM sectors that are unused by the user application can be toggled off, a valuable feature for preventing power-hungry RAM from stealing valuable supply current.

1ku pricing is detailed in the chart below.

   Part Number    Memory  (Flash/RAM)    Package    Price (1ku)
   MSP430F5438IPZ    256KB/16KB    100 pin QFP    $4.85/ea
   MSP430F5437IPN    256KB/16KB    80 pin QFP    $4.40/ea
   MSP430F5436IPZ    192KB/16KB    100 pin QFP    $4.28/ea
   MSP430F5435IPN    192KB/16KB    80 pin QFP    $3.88/ea
   MSP430F5419IPZ    128KB/16KB    100 pin QFP    $3.61/ea
   MSP430F5418IPN    128KB/16KB     80 pin QFP    $3.29/ea

About Texas Instruments
TI is the world's #1 manufacturer of digital signal processor (DSP) devices. "From ultra-low-power 16-bit MCUs in the MSP430 platform, industry standard 32-bit MCUs and the high performance TMS320C2000™ digital signal controller platform, TI offers the broadest range of embedded control solutions. Designers can accelerate their designs to market by tapping into TI's complete free software and low cost hardware tools, extensive third-party offerings and technical support."

"Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN) helps customers solve problems and develop new electronics that make the world smarter, healthier, safer, greener and more fun.  A global semiconductor company, TI innovates through manufacturing, design and sales operations in more than 25 countries."

© Microcontroller.com. All Rights Reserved.

Lowest Power MSP430 Microcontrollers from Texas Instruments

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Product data and specifications in this article are the responsibility of the manufacturer. No warrenty is expressed or implied as to the accuracy of manufacturer-supplied data. So there.
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