Low power MCUs deliver 100 DMIPs

24th March 2016
Mick Elliott

The STMicroelectronics STM32 L4 series of ultra-low-power microcontrollers (MCUs), which offer high memory size with ultra-low-power and CPU performance for a variety of applications are available from RS Components. The highly flexible architecture developed by ST for the series provides an ultra-low-power solution for MCUs, enabling the STM32 L4 MCUs to score a world-record 176.7 in the standardised EEMBC ULPBench tests, which compare the efficiency of ultra-low-power MCUs.

The STM32 L4 series delivers 100 DMIPS based on its ARM Cortex-M4 processor core with FPU (Floating-Point Unit) and ST's ART (Adaptive Real-Time) Accelerator running at 80MHz.

The MCUs offer dynamic voltage scaling to balance power consumption with processing demand, as well as safety and security features and a wide variety of low-power peripherals, including UART and timers available in stop mode, and advanced and low-power analogue peripherals such as op amps, comparators and 12-bit DACs and 16-bit ADCs.

Available in two variations - the STM32L476 (USB, LCD) and STM32L486 (USB, LCD, AES) - the STM32L4 series is pin-to-pin compatible with the whole STM32 range, thereby simplifying migration to provide flexibility and expansion requirements.

Also available to help users develop and share applications is the STM32L4 Discovery Kit based on the STM32L476VG MCU.

The board combines the features of the STM32L476 with LEDs, audio DAC, microphone, inertia sensors (gyroscope, accelerometer, compass), joystick and quad-SPI Flash memory. The extension connectors can be used for expansion and probing connectivity.

The built-in USB programmer allows the board to be plugged directly into a PC and the range of software tools available means users can start developing immediately.

The boards can be powered from a 3V coin cell and the board comes with firmware to demonstrate usage of the MCU's ultra-low-power modes.

The STM32L476 MCU is ideal for battery-powered applications and comes with a built-in LCD screen and a USB OTG port, which can be configured to support a range of devices.

The back of the board features two rows of headers, which can be used to access some of the spare I/O lines from the microprocessor and use them in projects.

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