Silicon Labs introduce highly integrated 8-bit MCUs optimized for motor control

2nd August 2013
Nat Bowers

Silicon Labs has announced the introduction of new feature-rich 8-bit microcontrollers, the C8051F85x/6x series. Optimized for cost-sensitive motor control applications, the new highly integrated MCUs provide best-in-class analog and communications peripherals and high performance. Other features of the new MCUs include flash sizes ranging from 2 kB to 8 kB, small-footprint packaging and cost-effective pricing. The C8051F85x/6x MCUs are intended for use in BLDC motor control applications used in remote-control helicopters and cars, PC and electric fans, electric tools and small appliances.

The F85/6x MCUs are also suitable for other consumer and industrial applications including power supplies, battery chargers, set-top boxes, projectors, lighting equipment and optical transceiver modules. AEC-Q100-qualified, the new MCUs can also be used in automotive body electronics applications including power seats and window lifts.

Embedded developers need economical mixed-signal microcontroller solutions offering high levels of integration and processing performance for analog-intensive and computationally demanding applications, i.e. motor control. Featuring a high-speed 8051 core that is 50% faster than the closest competition, the F85x/6x MCUs are designed to meet the required performance for motor control applications. Motor control efficiency, pulse-width modulation and executing complex algorithms for wide-ranging motor speeds all benefit from this high performance. Targeted at motor control and power supply applications, Silicon Labs’ new MCUs also support three independent high-resolution PWM channels with a built-in overcurrent protection/fault detection capability.

Thanks to the integration of advanced analog and digital peripherals into a small package, the new MCUs take a step forward in terms of functional density. The C8051F85x/6x microcontrollers include a 12-bit multi-channel ADC, two analog comparators with programmable hysteresis and response time, and a precise internal voltage reference. Eliminating the necessity of an external clock or crystal, the MCUs also feature an integrated precision 24.5 MHz low-power oscillator and a low-frequency 80 kHz oscillator. An on-chip temperature sensor simplifies system calibration without adding a discrete sensor, while multiple communications peripherals (I2C, SPI and UART) give developers the flexibility to choose their peripherals based on application requirements. This on-chip feature combination enables developers to minimize external components, resulting in lower system cost compared to competing MCUs.

As with all 8-bit microcontrollers from Silicon Labs, the F85x/6x family features a patented crossbar architecture enabling the customisation of peripherals and pinout placement based on application needs and layout constraints without worrying about pin conflicts. This innovative crossbar architecture simplifies PCB routing, minimizes PCB layers, and reduces design time and system cost through optimal use of pins.

“With pricing starting at $0.30 in high volumes, Silicon Labs’ new F85x/6x MCUs offer the industry’s most cost-effective, highly integrated and feature-rich 8-bit solution for analog-intensive embedded applications such as motor control. We are also pleased to announce that Silicon Labs’ 8-bit customers can now receive complimentary Keil development tools – the industry’s best 8-bit toolset available in terms of code density and accuracy,” commented Diwakar Vishakhadatta, vice president and general manager of 8-bit MCU products at Silicon Labs.

New complimentary Keil development tools

Silicon Labs has also today announced that it is now offering complimentary Keil development tools for its entire portfolio of 8-bit MCUs and wireless MCUs, including the new F85x/6x family. The PK51 Professional Developer's Kit for Silicon Labs’ 8-bit MCUs supports new devices with extended memory and instruction sets. Available without time or code size limits, the unrestricted Keil toolkit includes a wide range of build tools, such as assemblers, C compilers, code linker/locators and object converters, for use with Silicon Labs’ 8-bit MCU products and Microcontroller Studio.

Embedded applications increase in complexity and development schedules grow tighter. Therefore, reducing development time is a key consideration in MCU selection. Silicon Labs offers two cost-effective development kits for the F85x/6x MCU family in an effort to help designers. The C8051F850-B-DK development kit provides everything designers need to evaluate hardware and develop code including the C8051F850 target board, USB debug adaptor/programmer, power supply, cables, quick-start guide and complimentary downloadable software tools. The ToolStick850-B-SK starter kit enables designers to develop and debug application firmware directly on a target F85x/6x MCU using the Silicon Labs IDE.

Pricing and availability

Samples and production quantities of Silicon Labs’ C8051F85x/6x MCUs are available now. They are offered in a 3 mm x 3 mm 20-pin QFN package or in 24-pin QSOP and 16-pin SOIC packages. Pricing for the F85x/6x MCUs in 10,000-unit quantities begins at $0.40 (USD), while the C8051F850-B-DK development kit and ToolStick850-B-SK starter kit are priced at $64.00 and $9.90 respectively (USD MSRP).

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