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SOCs' Circuitry Honed For Battery-Powered Apps

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With its tightly integrated circuitry embracing a 16-bit RISC CPU, 12-bit A/D converter, and up to 60 KB of ultra-low-power flash memory, the MSP430 family of system-on-a-chip ICs is expected to gain wide acceptance among OEMs developing intelligent sensing systems, utility metering units, and a host of other battery-powered and portable measurement products. Among other circuitry found on-chip in support of these applications are a comparator, multiplier, two serial ports, and two 16-bit PWM timers.
The complexity of the MCU's overall design is continued through its various integrated functions, with the 12-bit ADC, for example, offering eight external channels, a 16-word programmable buffer with auto-scan, voltage references, a temperature sensor, low-battery detect circuitry, and sustained conversion speeds of up to 200 KSPS. With its auto-scan feature, the ADC can run independent of the CPU, automatically storing conversion data in its programmable buffer. This in turn frees up the CPU to do additional digital signal processing or to be placed in a low-power mode.
Power-wise, MSP430 MCUs dissipate only 250 µA per MIPS at 2.2V and just 1.5 µA in standby mode and 0.1 µA in sleep mode. The devices can operate from 1.8V to 3.6V and can process up to 8 MIPS. Packaged in 64-pin QFPs, an MCU with 60K of flash (part number MSP430F149) costs $5.95 each/1,000, while an 8K part (MSP430F133) costs $2.95. Volume production is set for 4Q.

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