NXP puts 32bit ARM core in 8pin package for 39¢
The key to the launch of the LPC800 is a switch matrix that allows a range of peripherals, including three UARTs, two SPI or an I2C interface to be allocated to any pin – from an 8pin dual in line package (DIP) up to a 20pinTSSOP costing 69¢ in volume.
The designer can assign on-chip peripherals to any pin with a single line of code or a single click in a graphical configuration tool with auto-generated code to add to a project to be compiled. Drivers for the interfaces are also included in 8K of ROM to free up space in the 16Kbytes of flash.
“Over the last several decades, 8-bit MCUs have excelled at simple tasks, providing reliable, deterministic performance. With the LPC800, we have designed a 32-bit microcontroller from the ground up to offer true 8-bit simplicity and real-time performance, along with unprecedented design flexibility. And with its breakthrough price point, the LPC800 family is driving to the heart of the low-cost, high-volume 8-bit world,” said Jim Trent, vice president and general manager of the microcontroller business at NXP Semiconductors. "We don’t believe anyone has delivered an 8/16bit product that engineers really want," he said.
The chip is bult in a 140nm process with a 30MHz ‘Flycatcher’ core for low cost, and lower cost versions below 30c are planned, but not necessarily with the switch matrix, says Trent, for very high volume applications. A faster version of the core could also be used in the other LPC1100 family members.
The peripherals for the LPC800 have been redesigned for 8bit projects. The new SPI can operate as a slave at frequencies independent of the processor clock, solving the common frustration of having to over-sample 4-to-n times the SPI just to receive data. This decoupling of the SPI and processor clock speed reduces power and simplifies the system design. The I2C has also been re-engineered to allow the LPC800 to lie and wait at near-zero power consumption, even without a system clock, and wake up upon an address match.
The LPC800 is fully compatible with the Cortex-M architecture and instruction set, and offers superior code density to 8/16-bit architectures. The Cortex-M0+ features a two-stage pipeline that reduces power consumption while improving performance. In addition, the LPC800 takes advantage of the Cortex-M0+ peripheral bus allowing single-cycle access to the GPIOs. These features enable the LPC800 to offer deterministic, real-time performance – a key requirement for 8-bit developers.
The flexible switch matrix enables designers to assign on-chip peripheral I/O to nearly any pin. By helping to ease PCB routing congestion, the switch matrix contributes to lower-cost PCBs.
Another important peripheral on the LPC800 is the state configurable timer (SCT), which can be customized to meet the user’s specific application requirements. The basic SCT configuration is simply two 16-bit PWMs that have 4 capture inputs and 4 match outputs where each of the match registers are shadowed. The LPC800 can deliver virtually any timing or PWM function found on popular 8-bit MCUs. To add flexibility, the SCT in the LPC800 combines the ideas of states and events, allowing users to create sophisticated counting, output, input and control functions for lighting, power and other customized applications – without the constraints imposed by fixed functions.
Other LPC800 peripherals include an analog comparator, which is available with an external voltage reference for accurate measurement; a 4-channel multi-rate timer; a wake-up timer; and up to 18 GPIOs. The LPC800 is available with up to 16 KB of Flash and up to 4 KB of SRAM, and can be used with a 3.3VDD power supply (1.8V to 3.6V).
The LPC800 is the latest member of NXP’s LPC Go family of entry-level low-power microcontrollers, including the LPC1100 series based on the 50MHz Cortex-M0 processor. LPCXpresso, the full-featured IDE-based software development tool, supports the complete product design cycle for the LPC800, further easing the transition to 32-bit architectures. The LPC800 is also fully supported by the ARM Keil Microcontroller Development Kit.
Pricing for the LPC810 starts at $0.39 USD. LPC800 evaluation kits are now available for ordering from Mouser Electronics. Qualification samples will be available starting in December, with final product availability starting in February 2013.