Cost-effective 8-bit PIC MCUs operate from just 35µA

31st March 2014
Nat Bowers

Featuring a rich set of intelligent analogue and core independent peripherals, the PIC16(L)F170X and PIC16(L)F171X family of 8-bit microcontrollers have been introduced by Microchip Technology. These general-purpose MCUs are suited for applications including: consumer home appliances, power tools and electric razors; portable medical products including blood-pressure meters, blood-glucose meters and pedometers; LED lighting; battery charging; power supplies; and motor control.

Available in 14-, 20-, 28-, and 40/44-pin packages, the 11-member PIC16F170X/171X family of MCUs integrates two Op Amps to drive analogue control loops, sensor amplification and basic signal conditioning, whilst reducing system cost and board space. The devices also offer built-in Zero Cross Detect (ZCD) to simplify TRIAC control and minimise the EMI caused by switching transients. Microchip has claimed that these are the first PIC16 MCUs with Peripheral Pin Select, a pin-mapping feature that gives designers the flexibility to designate the pin-out of many peripheral functions.

The PIC16F170X/171X family features Core Independent Peripherals (CIP), such as the Configurable Logic Cell (CLC), Complementary Output Generator (COG) and Numerically Controlled Oscillator (NCO). These “self-sustaining” peripherals take 8-bit PIC MCU performance to a new level, as they are designed to handle tasks with no code or supervision from the CPU to maintain operation. As a result, they simplify the implementation of complex control systems and give designers the flexibility to innovate.

The CLC peripheral allows designers to create custom logic and interconnections specific to their application, thereby reducing external components, saving code space and adding functionality. The COG peripheral is a powerful waveform generator that can generate complementary waveforms with fine control of key parameters, such as phase, dead-band, blanking, emergency shut-down states and error-recovery strategies. It provides a cost-effective solution saving both board space and component cost when, for example, driving FETs in half- and full-bridge drivers for control and power-conversion applications. The NCO is a programmable precision linear frequency generator, ranging from less than 1Hz to more than 500kHz. It offers a step up in performance, while simplifying designs requiring precise linear frequency control, such as lighting control, tone generators, radio-tuning circuitry and fluorescent ballasts.

The MCUs feature up to 28KB of self-read/write Flash programme memory, up to 2KB of RAM, a 10-bit ADC, a 5-/8-bit DAC, capture-compare PWM modules, stand-alone 10-bit PWM modules, high-speed comparators (60ns typical response), and EUSART, I2C and SPI peripherals. They also feature eXtreme Low Power (XLP) technology for typical active and sleep currents of just 35µA and 30nA, respectively, helping to extend battery life and reduce standby current consumption.

The MCU family is supported by Microchip’s standard suite of world-class development tools, including the PICkit 3 (PG164130) priced at $44.95 (USD); MPLAB ICD 3 (DV164035) at $189.99 (USD); PICkit 3 Low Pin Count Demo Board (DM164130-9) at $25.99 (USD); PICDEM Lab Development Kit (DM163045) at $134.99 (USD); and PICDEM 2 Plus (DM163022-1) at $99.99 (USD). The MPLAB Code Configurator is a free tool that generates seamless, easy-to-understand C code that is inserted into a project. It currently supports the PIC16F1704/08, and is expected to support the PIC16F1713/16 in April, with all remaining MCUs in this family soon afterwards.

The PIC16(L)F1703/1704/1705 MCUs are available now for sampling and production in 14-pin PDIP, TSSOP, SOIC and QFN (4x4x0.9mm) packages. The PIC16F1707/1708/1709 MCUs are available now for sampling and production in 20-pin PDIP, SSOP, SOIC and QFN (4x4x0.9mm) packages. The PIC16F1713/16 MCUs are available now for sampling and production in 28-pin PDIP, SSOP, SOIC, QFN (6x6x0.9mm) and UQFN (4x4x0.5mm) packages. The PIC16F1718 MCUs are expected to be available for sampling and production in May 2014, in 28-pin PDIP, SSOP, SOIC, QFN (6x6x0.9mm) and UQFN (4x4x0.5mm) packages. The PIC16F1717/19 MCUs are expected to be available for sampling and production in May 2014, in 40/44-pin PDIP, TQFP and UQFN (5x5x0.5mm). Pricing starts at $0.59 (USD) each, in 10,000-unit quantities.

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