STMicroelectronics Extends ARM Cortex-M3 Family With Extra Flash And RAM

Geneva, Switzerland: Microcontroller manufacturer STMicroelectronics has extended its STM32 microcontroller family with extra features and up to 1 Mbyte of on-chip flash. The additional flash at least doubles the memory available to STM32 developers, according to the company.

With the introduction of these STM32 XL-density devices, STMicroelectronics now has 99 STM32 variants. The company says that it represents the industry’s largest family of microcontrollers using the ARM Cortex-M3 32-bit processor core.

All STM32 devices are pin and software compatible and share a common pool of peripherals. This commonality allows developers to upgrade products with minimal redesign and to reuse their intellectual property, tools, and hardware in multiple projects to reduce costs and accelerate time-to-market.

Additional new features of the STM32 XL-density devices include extra high-speed volatile memory (RAM) up to 96 kbytes, which can simplify software design and speed up execution. Six more timers are also included, increasing flexibility for applications such as motor control, factory automation, or power distribution.

A memory protection unit (MPU) also has been added, which is transparent to existing software but allows new applications to protect specific code or data during execution. This feature permits efficient use of existing certified software modules in projects such as medical or metering equipment, saving the time and cost to recertify the complete application.

The 1-Mbyte flash memory is organized in two banks of 512 kbytes. This dual-bank architecture thereby enables safe upgrading of applications in the field by uploading new software into the second memory bank. The update then can be copied across safely into the main bank, and the process can be managed to protect against hazards such as power loss while the upgrade is being applied.

TAGS: Components
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