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Microchip launches serial EEPROMs on single I/O bus

Microchip Technology has launched a 10-member family of serial EEPROM devices with a single I/O bus interface. The firm also introduced a patent-pending memory device protocol called UNI/O to work with the devices.

Only one I/O port and, thus, one pin on the EEPROM is needed for communication between the EEPROM and a microcontroller. Pete Sorrells, director of marketing for Microchip’s Memory Products Division, said the 11XX010, 11XX020, 11XX040, 11XX080 and 11XX160 are the first single I/O EEPROM devices able to support any data rate from 10kHz to 100kHz, and the only 1Kb, 2Kb, 4Kb, 8Kb and 16Kb EEPROMs available in a 3-pin SOT-23 package. The devices are also available in 8-pin PDIP, MSOP, SOIC, and 2x3mm TDFN packages.

Sorrells said the new devices are smaller and more versatile than any other EEPROM devices on the market, and are optimized for embedded applications. “They give design engineers another option they didn’t have before, to free up two to six I/Os,” he said. “Because everything needed to control these devices can be done through a single pin.” Automotive applications include antilock braking systems, airbags, and sensor applications that require a calibration table.

The devices support the use of smaller microcontrollers and smaller (lower pin-count) connectors, which reduce overall design size as well as costs. The devices are specified for -40 to 125°C operation, rated for over one million cycles, and designed to recover from MCU interrupts. Other features include status registers; software write protection for ¼, ½, or full array; noise filtering, and robust ESD protection.

Microchip’s new EEPROMs can track the host MCU’s serial data rate over the range of 10 kHz to 100 kHz, so most MCU clock frequencies can be supported. Evaluation is simplified because the UNI/O memory devices are available in 8-pin packages with pin-outs that overlay any standard I2C or SPI EEPROM socket. “This means that a customer’s existing hardware can be used with the available UNI/O software drivers for a quick test,” Sorrells said. Software drivers are available for Microchip’s PIC MCUs today, at www.microchip.com. Drivers for other popular MCUs are expected to be available in the future.

The 1Kb through 16Kb devices are offered in 11LCXX0 versions that operate from 2.5V to 5.5V and 11AAXX0 versions that operate from 1.8V to 5.5V. Pricing in 10,000-piece quantities is $0.22 each for the 11XX010 devices, $0.23 for the 11XX020, $0.25 for the 11XX040, $0.28 for the 11XX080, and $0.31 for the 11XX160 devices.

Samples of the 11XX160 EEPROM devices are available today at http://sample.microchip.com. Volume-production quantities of these devices can be ordered today at www.microchipdirect.com. Samples of the 11XX010, 11XX020, 11XX040 and 11XX080 devices are expected to be available in June.

Microchip also introduced a new MPLABStarter Kit for Serial Memory Products and the MPLAB PM3 Universal Device Programmer. The Starter Kit supports all of Microchip’s serial EEPROM devices including the new UNI/O family. The kit obtains power from the USB port on a PC or laptop and runs under the MPLAB Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The kit displays a device’s entire memory contents on screen for quick verification and editing. It logs endurance cycles and stores memory contents in files for archiving and analysis. The MPLABStarter Kit for Serial Memory Products (Part # DV243003) can be ordered at www.microchipdirect.com for $79.98.

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