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New Texas Instruments C2000 Piccolo Targets Low Cost Applications

By Bill Giovino
Sep 8, 2008 - 10:47:12 AM

 
Texas Instruments Piccolo™ 32-bit microcontrollers show surprising high performance with very low cost.
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September 8, 2008 - Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced a new family of C2000 microcontrollers which specifically targets low-cost systems. The new microcontrollers sell for less than U.S. $2 and are codenamed Piccolo™ because they are "small and loud". Parts numbers for the new family are TMS320F2802x and TMS320F2803x.

Texas Instruments C2000 Roadmap
Texas Instruments C2000 Roadmap
The Texas Instruments C2000 family is a Harvard architecture 32-bit core with an 8-stage pipeline. In terms of performance, the TI C2000 has the raw processing power of an off-the-shelf digital signal processor (DSP).

What makes the C2000 impressive to software developers is this device has the ease-of-use of a microcontroller with the performance of a DSP. A glance at the industry standard Dhrystone benchmarks for this core show that, when compared to a 72MHz ARM Cortex M3, a 60MHz Piccolo performs 25% faster while executing "general purpose" code, and up to 38% faster while executing "control algorithm" (PIC32) code. The Piccolo is, of course, expected to be significantly faster than any conventional microcontroller architecture when executing any sophisticated math code.

Because of the complexity of the C2000 core and the high-end applications that demand the core's unique performance, the core's family has been feature-packed and priced at up to $20. Now, for the first time Texas Instruments is expanding the C2000's appeal to include mid- to low-end applications.

Piccolo Features
Features of the new Texas Instruments Piccolo family include:

  • 32-bit C2000 core
  • Up to 128KBytes on-chip Flash
  • 60MHz internal operation
  • Two On-chip 10MHz oscillators with ±1% accuracy with self-test (meets IEC 60730 safety standards)
  • Brown-out protection and Power-On Reset
  • Control Law Accelerator (CLA) (F2803x only - see text)
  • 1-cycle Multiply ACcumulator (MAC)
  • Hardware interrupt controller
  • 12-bit ratiometric A/D ±1.5 LSB
  • High speed PWM with 150picosecond resolution
  • LIN
  • CAN 2.0

The Control Law Accelerator is found only on F2803x microcontrollers and is a programmable floating-point unit that works in parallel with the C2000 core.The CLA uses hard-coded control algorithm libraries to perform math calculations in very few clock cycles. The CLA is programmed by the C2000 core and arbitrates with the C2000 core for the data bus (interleaves). For many closed-loop applications this can result in an up to five times performance increase.

“The combination of 32-bit performance, enhanced peripherals and small package sizes allows designers to add real-time control and system management using just one microcontroller to applications that could not afford it previously,” said Keith Ogboenyiya, TI Marketing Manager for the TMS320C2000™. “We named these devices Piccolo because of the small size and price that they offer our customers. They also double the number of C2000™ options and build on TI’s growing MCU portfolio.”

Features Target Applications
Features of the Piccolo F2802x/F2803x microcontrollers specifically target application processing.

For example, many air conditioning units have two motors, one for the fan and a second for the compressor. These two motors are usually controlled by two microcontrollers. However, according to TI one F2802x/F2803x microcontroller can easily control two electric three-phase motors with complete precision, and still have enough performance to spare to execute power factor correction (PFC) calculations.

TI Microcontroller Portfolio
TI Microcontroller Portfolio
PFC insures that the motors are operating at the best available energy efficiency. PFC is mandatory in about 30 percent of the world's markets, including Europe, China, Japan and India,

Piccolo microcontrollers also improve the efficiency of solar panels. While typical solar panel systems use one inverter across multiple solar panels, tests have shown that having an individual micro-inverter connected to every solar panel can improve the conversion efficiency of the solar panel system.

TI’s patented, enhanced pulse width modulators (ePWM) allow for pulse width control as accurate as 150 picoseconds. This precise waveform control prevents unwanted frequency harmonics and reduces sample-to-output delay.

Development Tools
The controlCARD concept of removable target boards with general and application specific target boards,

TI is introducing an F2802x/F2803x-based controlCARD in December for $49. controlCARD is a modular development environment where selected target and application boards can be swapped in depending upon the development needs of the application. Each kit includes a 32 K code-limited version of TI’s Code Composer Studio™ IDE, Gerber and hardware files and free application software.

Availability and Pricing
Samples of the first Piccolo microcontrollers, the F2802x series, will be available in December 2008. Prices are at the below US $2 range

About Texas Instruments
"From general purpose, ultra-low-power 16-bit MSP430 microcontrollers, industry standard ARM 32-bit devices and the high performance TMS320C2000 microcontrollers, TI offers a broad range of embedded control solutions. 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."

 

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New Texas Instruments C2000 Piccolo Targets Low Cost Applications

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