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Microchip Introduces New nanoWatt XLP eXtreme Low Power PIC Microcontrollers

By Bill Giovino
Apr 23, 2009 - 8:58:26 PM

Microchip has introduced several new 8-bit and 16-bit PIC microcontrollers with Deep Sleep currents as low as 20nA
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Microchip Technology Inc., has introduced a new several new ulta-low power PIC microcontroller families targeting battery-powered and energy efficient applications. The new technology uses what Microchips calls their nanoWatt XLP™ eXtreme Low Power Technology, which provides sleep currents as low as a scant 20nA.

Microchip PIC microcontrollers with nanoWatt XLP - Roadmap
Microchip PIC microcontrollers with nanoWatt XLP - Roadmap
These three new 8- and 16-bit PIC microcontroller families belong to Microchip’s nanoWatt XLP portfolio, part of a series of very low power PIC microcontrollers. The 8-bit flash PIC microcontrollers are the PIC18F46J11 and PIC18F46J50 families, and the 16-bit PIC microcontrollers belong to the PIC24F16KA family.

Low Low Power
Some important specifications of the new PIC microcontrollers include:

  • Sleep currents "down to 20nA"
  • With the Watchdog running: "down to 400nA"
  • With the Real-time clock/calendar: "down to 500nA"
  • USB 2.0 (PIC18F46J50)
  • mTouch™ Capacitive Touch Sensing (PIC24F16KA, PIC18F46J50)

These new PIC microcontrollers introduce a new low-power mode called Deep Sleep. Microchip achieves these very low current draw figures by using two new process technologies, 0.35u for the PIC24 and 0.25u for the PIC18. These new processes boast a new transistor design with extremely low leakage current, and design switches to dynamically turn sections of the silicon off and on.

In order to achieve the very low current draw while running the watchdog and real-time clock, a substantial redesign of those two peripherals was necessary.

"Through significant investment in our new nanoWatt XLP Technology, which combines enhanced design techniques and new features, Microchip has driven power consumption to new lows, surpassing the industry and becoming the new leader in low-power microcontrollers" said Mitch Obolsky, vice president of Microchip’s Advanced Microcontroller Architecture Division.

Target applications for these low power PIC microcontrollers include:

  • Portable and battery-powered Consumer applications
    (sealed disposable electronics, portable electronics white goods, game controllers, digital photo frames, coffee machines);
  • Industrial
    (energy harvesting/scavenging, utility meters, security systems, thermostats, sprinkler timers, portable temperature controllers, remote/portable gas sensors and remote sensor networks, data logging and asset tracking, sealed/harsh environment sensors);
  • Automotive
    (diagnostic equipment, car alarms, key fobs);
  • Medical markets
    (home medical devices, oxygen/bio flow meters, digital thermometers, patient monitors, lifestyle/fitness monitors and pedometers)

Comparison of Microchip nanoWatt XLP PIC microcontrollers to competition
Comparison of Microchip nanoWatt XLP PIC microcontrollers to competition
Development Tools
A $25 PIC24F16KA plug-in module integrates with the Microchip Explorer 16 development board to speed development of 16-bit low-power PIC microcontroller projects. There is also a $25 PIC18F46J11 plug-in module for low-power 8-bit development.

The new PIC18F46J50 USB 8-bit MCUs are supported by the new $45 PIC18F46J50 FS USB Demo Board (part # MA180024), which also plugs into the PIC18 Explorer Board.  All nanoWatt XLP PIC microcontrollers are supported by Microchip’s PIC microcontroller development tools, including the free MPLAB® IDE, the MPLAB REAL ICE emulation system, the MPLAB ICD 3 in-circuit debugger, the PICkit 3 low-cost debugger/programmer and Microchip’s free C compilers.

About Microchip Technology
"Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ:  MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide.  Headquartered in Chandler, Arizona, Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality."

Datasheet Souorces for competitive info:
- Texas Instruments SLAS504B –Rev. B, 07/07, SLAS609 –Rev. New, 06/08
- Atmel ATmega48P/88P/168P/328P –Rev. 2545H, 02/09
- Silicon Labs C8051F93x-C8051F92x –Rev. 1.0, 11/08
- STMicroelectronics STM32F101x4 –Rev. 1, 09/08
- Freescale MC9S08QE128 –Rev. 7, 10/08

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Microchip Introduces New nanoWatt XLP eXtreme Low Power PIC Microcontrollers

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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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