Trends: microcontrollers outsource interrupt handling

In this article, Chris Edwards highlights the reasons behind moving interrupt handling from the main microcontroller onto to low power companion chips. In order to conserve electricity and processor power, the growing practice is to have the bulk of the microcontroller powered down most of the time, only waking up for brief periods for necessary […]

Trivia: CPLD on a PDIP?

Atmel produces what are believed to be the only CPLD devices sold in PDIP form: the ATF2500C and ATF750C . These devices are priced at between $5 and $8 at Digikey and Mouser. Programming hardware and software is available from Atmel. Atmel provides free design software known as WinCUPL, which mainly supports programming in the […]

PyMite: Python-on-a-chip

Python-on-a-Chip (p14p) is a project to develop a reduced Python virtual machine (codenamed PyMite) that runs a significant subset of the Python language on microcontrollers without an OS. The other parts of p14p are the device drivers, high-level libraries and other tools. They’ve released ports for the Microchip PIC/24dcPIC, Teensy 2.0, Arduino Mega and others. […]

Atmel announces new CryptoAuthentication chip

Atmel today announced the release of the ATSHA204 the first turnkey, optimized authentication device to include a 4.5Kbit EEPROM and a hardware SHA-256 accelerator. Fully tested ASF software libraries are available for Atmel AVR® and ARM®-based microcontrollers and are integrated within the new AVR Studio® 5. Contemplated uses include industrial, consumer, energy metering, home automation, […]

TI intros first 2-channel, simultaneous-sampling ADCs with independently controlled internal references

Texas Instruments today introduced the industry’s first two-channel, simultaneous-sampling successive approximation (SAR) analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) with two independently controlled internal references for simplified system-level design. The 16-bit ADS8363, 14-bit ADS7263 and 12-bit ADS7223 are pin-for-pin compatible and provide twice the per-channel throughput of similar ADCs, supporting speeds up to 1 MSPS for industrial and energy […]

Sensor + microcontroller = smart sensor

Sensors are commonly used in conjunction with microcontrollers which read the sensor’s output and make decisions based on it. Now a new class of smart sensors is being introduced which will integrate the sensor and microcontroller in one unit. One example is the Freescale MMA9550L, the industry’s first intelligent high precision motion sensing platform that […]

XESS XuLA-200 FPGA/uC board

XESS introduces their new XuLA-200 breakout board. The XuLA Board packs a 200,000-gate FPGA and a supervisory microcontroller into a 2″ x 1″ footprint (51 mm x 25 mm). XESS is committed to a completely open source design for this board which features a Xilinx XC3S200A Spartan 3A FPGA with 8 MByte SDRAM, 2 Mbit […]

Semtech RF data transmitter chips

Semtech has released a line of “power and go” inexpensive data transmitter chips. The new SX1240 and SX1242 ISM-band RF transmitters enable true data-in/RF-out capability, with only an external crystal and antenna impedance matching network needed. They simplify design by integrating “power-and-go modes,” which are pre-set for 434 MHz and 868 MHz (SX1240) or 345 […]

A guide for using IMU devices

Starlino has a great article on using gyroscopes and accelerometers. I’ll try try to cover few basic but important topics in this article: – what does an accelerometer measure – what does a gyroscope (aka gyro) measure – how to convert analog-to-digital (ADC) readings that you get from these sensor to physical units (those would […]

STMicroelectronics debuts single-chip positioning device for multiple global navigation systems

STMicroelectronics announces the impending release of Teseo II, a new generation of single-chip stand-alone positioning receivers for Portable Navigation Devices, in-car navigation and telematics applications. These Systems-on-Chips are monolithic devices capable of receiving signals from multiple satellite navigation systems, including GPS, GALILEO, GLONASS and QZSS. Listed features include 3rd generation positioning receiver with 32 tracking […]

Microchip expands 32-bit PIC(R) microcontroller line

Microchip Technology Inc. has a new, six-member family of 32-bit PIC32MX5/6/7 microcontrollers that provide performance specs of 1.56 DMIPS/MHz, and integrating Ethernet, CAN, USB and multiple serial communication channels, while offering more cost-effective memory options. Specifically, the family offers 32 Kbytes of RAM and up to 140 Kbytes of Flash. Additionally, design enhancements have been […]

555 Circuit Design Contest

Jeri Ellsworth and company have begun the 555 Contest, billed as the “biggest, newest, most-independently conceived 555 timer design contest the world has ever seen!” They’re searching for original circuits and application using the venerable 555 timer IC. Deadline for submissions is March 1, 2011, and a little bird just told us there over $1,600 […]

ADUCRF101: precision analog microcontroller with ISM band transceiver

Analog Devices, Inc. announces the release of the ADuCRF101, a fully integrated System On Chip (SOC) solution designed for low power wireless applications. The ADuCRF101 integrates a low power Cortex-M3 core from ARM. It is a 32-bit RISC machine, offering up to 1.25 DMIPS peak performance. The Cortex-M3 MCU also has a flexible 14-channel DMA […]

EEPROM with single pin interface

Two years ago Microchip introduced serial EEPROMs with UNI/O. The speciality is the single pin data interface, so the memory chip needs only 3 pins including power. This can be great help for the smallest 6-pin microcontrollers like PIC10F or ATtiny10 series which doesn’t have any non-volatile memory writable from application itself. Memory densities range […]

“8 Bits” Still going strong!

With the proliferation of enhanced mobile devices in our everyday lives, it is amazing that a staggering %60 of embedded devices still use 8 bit architectures. Using MCUs based on 30 year old technology does not sound like the bleeding edge consumers would expect. Micro controllers and microprocessors like the 8051 and Z80 don’t lend […]

27C3: Reverse engineering the MOS 6502

The MOS 6502 CPU, which was designed in 1975 and powered systems like the Apple II, the Atari 2600, the Nintendo NES and the Commodore 64 for two decades, has always been subject to intense reverse engineering of its inner workings. This talk by Michael Steil presents the way from a chip package to a […]

Simple embedded Linux development board

There’s an ongoing discussion of an AT91SAM9260 (uC)Linux development board in the forum. This chip is just amazing, it can boot from serial or parallel flash, internal memory, or enumerate as a USB serial terminal for firmware flashing. Check out more features of this massive ARM processor in the AT91SAM9260 quick start guide on the […]

DEMO: MMA7455L 3-axis accelerometer

Here’s a demo of the MMA7455L 3-axis accelerometer in SPI mode using the Bus Pirate. We’ve got this sensor on a breakout board for $15. The MMA7455L has: 2/4/8g selectable measurement range 10bit or 8bit output force and pulse detection with interrupt I2C and SPI interface 3.3volts Get the MMA7455L breakout board for $15 at […]