Microchip Technology Inc., a provider of microcontrollers, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, announced a new family of MCUs – the PIC24FJ128GC010. This family is an analog system on a chip that integrates a full analog signal chain, including Microchip’s first ever on-chip precision 16-bit ADC and 10 Msps 12-bit ADC, plus a DAC and dual operational amplifiers (op amps) along with “eXtreme Low Power” (XLP) technology for extended battery life in portable medical and industrial applications.
Advantages of Intelligent Analog Chips
This combination of analog integration and low power consumption reduces system cost and noise, and improves the signal throughput in applications such as portable medical monitoring devices, (e.g., blood-glucose meters and blood-pressure monitor ), as well as industrial applications such as portable monitoring devices (e.g., voltage and current monitors, gas sensors and high-speed sensor arrays), among others. The PIC24FJ128GC010 family includes an integrated LCD display driver that provides the ability to drive up to 472 segments with information-rich user displays that include scrolling alphanumeric banners. Integrated USB supports the uploading of clinical data for medical equipment, and can act as a service/data port for industrial equipment. Capacitive touch sensing is supported with an on-chip mTouch peripheral.
The integration of a 16-bit ADC, USB and LCD into a single low-power MCU allows for very small form factor, battery-powered applications. The PIC24FJ128GC010 family represents a significant cost reduction over a multi-chip implementation, enabling lower noise, faster throughput, smaller PCB size, and faster time to market.
“Designing precision analog circuits is a challenge. Microchip has made analog design easier with the launch of this latest intelligent-analog microcontroller family,” said Joe Thomsen, director of Microchip’s MCU16 Division. “We started with the customer’s end product in mind debugging the noise and communication so designers get consistent analog performance across applications. We also created a comprehensive starter kit on which our customers can build their software, hardware, and sensors—drastically improving their development time by eliminating the need to design a board.”
Analog design is difficult and consumes precious development time. By integrating analog features such as high performance Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADCs), Digital-to-Analog Converters (DACs) and operational amplifiers (op amps) providing simple to use interfaces that ease analog design, this single-chip solution enables reduced system noise and provides higher throughput, while dramatically reducing design time and cost, according to Microchip.
PIC24FJ128GC010 MCU Family
• Flexible connections between ADC and other on-chip analog
• Including precision 16-bit ∑∆ ADC and high-speed 10 Msps 12-bit ADC
• Programmable internal reference source for on-chip analog modules
• Buffered reference outputs available
• Independent configurations for various low-power modes for flexible power management
Charge Time Measurement Unit
• Constant current source for measurement of capacitance, inductance, resistance, temperature, or time
• Capacitive touch sensing, up to 50 channels
• Time measurement down to 100 ps resolution
Zero Cross Detect
• Senses when high-voltage AC crosses through ground
• Virtually eliminates EMI caused by switching transients
• Enables Peak Current Mode DC/DC conversion
• Stabilizes switching frequency for duty cycles over 50%
• Multiple on-board DACs with various resolution
• Flexible interconnects enable “on the fly” reference setting
• On-chip signal conditioning
• Faster response time, eliminate noise concerns
High Speed Comparators
• Dual mode for low-power/high-speed options
• Off load processing to simple hardware
Analog Interconnect Switch Matrix
• Allows for connecting analog blocks within the chip
• Reduces the number of connections to I/O pins
• Increases throughput and reduces noise
Benefits of Analog Integration
• Eliminate the complicated task of debugging the noise sources that reduce analog signal integrity
• Remove the bottleneck of communicating to the microcontroller from analog
• Provide consistent analog performance that can be leveraged from design to design, eliminating analog design rework
• Through intelligent connections made inside the chip, the analog is fully controlled by software
• Enjoy a simplified design cycle, board space savings, faster throughput, and better signal integrity
• Intelligent analog leads to lower-cost designs that are brought to market faster
o Reduced system noise
o Faster data path
o Simpler board designs
Microchip’s Intelligent Analog solutions reduce component count enabling smaller, more cost-effective boards and simplified, higher-performance designs. In addition, designers benefit from increased analog topology flexibility utilizing the MCU’s programmable analog interconnects.
This flexibility and efficiency benefit multiple applications:
• Environmental quality sensors
• Portable medical equipment (glucose meters, portable ECGs, pulse oximeters, blood pressure meters)
• Industrial equipment (gas sensors, hand-held multi-meters, lab instrumentation, e-meters, sensor arrays)
• Power conversion
• Efficient motor control
• Power measurement and monitoring
• Energy harvesting equipment
• Solar inverters
The PIC24FJ128GC010 family is supported by Microchip’s MPLAB Starter Kit for PIC24F Intelligent.Integrated.Analog (Part # DM240015) which is a comprehensive development kit featuring the PIC24F “GC” family of 16-bit microcontrollers. The board features an analog header, allowing clean analog signals to be accessed, preserving signal integrity. To complement the header, the board also features on-board sensors such as light sensor, potentiometer, microphone, temperature, and capacitive touch.
Additional features include USB Host and Device support, RF expandability, audio output via headphone jack, and on-board debugger/programmer. This kit is focused on the family’s integrated analog to preserve signal integrity. It provides 95 per cent of what designers need to develop a hand-held analog prototype – all they need to do is add sensors.
The new PIC24FJ128GC010 MCU family is available today for sampling and volume production. The PIC24FJ128GC010 (128 KB Flash) and PIC24FJ64GC010 (64 KB Flash) are available in 100-pin TQFP and 121-pin BGA packages. The PIC24FJ128GC006 (128 KB Flash) and PIC24FJ64GC006 (64 KB Flash) are available in 64-pin TQFP and QFN packages.