The dsPIC digital signal controller (DSC) from Microchip Technology targets a wide range of DSP and general embedded applications, from motor control to audio processing to power-supply management. Its architecture supports C and the latest crop of tools, and its development boards take advantage of its features.
The dsPICis a 16-bit, fixed point DSP. It's available in packages with 28 to 100 pins. It has a register bank with 16 16-bit registers and a 32-kword linear address space. Also, the chip supports up to 4 Mbytes of code. It includes a fault-tolerant on-chip oscillator. Versions are available with a range of peripherals, including CAN, I2C, SPI, and AC'97 audio support. Analog peripherals include eight capture and eight compare functions; a high-speed, 10-bit analog-to-digital converter; and a 12-bit digital-to-analog converter. The 40-bit accumulators can be driven by the 16- by 16-bit hardware multiplier. Two independent address-generation units keep the DSP data pipe filled. Chip prices range from $7 to $9.
The company's four new development boards include the $79 dsPICDEM Starter Demonstration Board, the $79 28-pin Starter Demonstration Board, the $299 dsPIC30F6014-based (144-kbyte flash) dsPICDEM 1.1 General Purpose Development Board, and the $299 dsPICDEM Connectivity Development Board. Each board requires a diagnostic tool like Microchip's MPLAB In-Circuit Debugger 2 (ICD 2) for programming and debugging.
The boards' prototype areas and peripherals support specific application areas. For example, the Connectivity Development Board provides the hardware circuitry for supporting both the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) and 10BaseT MAC/PHY interfaces. A ITU-T-compliant V.22bis/V.22 modem is preprogrammed on the installed dsPIC30F6014 device.
Larger devices like the dsPIC have more flash memory to program. Microchip's new MPLAB PM3 programmer is three times faster than its predecessor, the Pro Mate II, programming 128 kbytes in about 20 seconds. The MPLAB PM3 also is easier to connect to the host PC via a USB connection.
The MPLAB PM3 has a secure digital/multimedia card (SD/MMC) slot. This slot can be used to store secure data that will be copied to the devices being programmed. Also, the MPLAB PM3 works with the free MPLAB integrated development environment (IDE) software.
The MPLAB PM3 Universal Device Programmer costs $895.
Microchip Technology Inc.