MCUs offer multiple independent, closed-loop power channels

25th February 2015
Nat Bowers

The first PIC MCU family to offer up to two independent closed-loop channels, Microchip Technology has introduced the 8-bit PIC16(L)F1769 family. The multiple channels are enabled by a Programmable Ramp Generator (PRG), which automates slope and ramp compensation and increases stability and efficiencies in hybrid power conversion applications.

The PRG also provides real-time (down to the nanosecond) responses to a system change without CPU interaction for multiple independent power channels, offering users the ability to reduce latency and component counts while improving system efficiency.

The PIC16(L)F1769 MCUs integrate intelligent analogue and digital peripherals, including tri-state op amps, 10-bit ADCs, 5- and 10-bit DACs, 10- and 16-bit PWMs, high-speed comparators and two 100mA high-current I/Os. This combination of integrated peripherals helps to support the demands of multiple independent closed-loop power channels and system management, while providing an 8-bit platform that simplifies design, enables higher efficiency and increased performance while helping to eliminate many discrete components in power-conversion systems.

These PIC MCUs also have a unique hardware-based LED dimming control function enabled by the interconnections of the data signal modulator, op amp and 16-bit PWM. The combination of these peripherals creates a LED-dimming engine synchronising switching control and eliminating LED current overshoot and decay. The synchronisation of the output switching helps to smooth dimming, minimise colour shifting, increase LED life and reduce heat.

The PIC16(L)F1769 family also includes Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) such as the Configurable Logic Cell (CLC), Complementary Output Generator (COG) and Zero Cross Detect (ZCD). These CIPs are designed to handle tasks with no code or supervision from the CPU to maintain operation, after initial configuration. 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, reducing interrupt latency, 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. The ZCD senses when high-voltage AC signal crosses through ground, which is ideal for TRIAC control functions.

These new 8-bit PIC MCUs provide the capability for multiple independent, closed-loop power channels and system management making these products appealing to various power supply, battery management, LED lighting, exterior/interior automotive lighting and general-purpose applications. The family also offers EUSART, I2C/ SPI and eXtreme Low Power technology in small form-factor packages.

The PIC16(L)F1769 family is supported by Microchip’s development tools including the MPLAB ICD 3 (DV164035) priced at $199.95, the PICkit 3 (PG164130) priced at $47.95 and the MPLAB Code Configurator. This is a plug-in for Microchip’s free MPLAB X IDE and provides a graphical method to configure 8-bit systems and peripheral features, taking designers from concept to prototype in minutes by automatically generating efficient and easily modified C code for each application.

The PIC(L)F1764, PIC(L)F1765, PIC16(L)F1768 and PIC(L)F1769 are available now for sampling in 14- to 20-pin PDIP, SOIC, SSOP, TSSOP and QFN packages. Volume production is expected in March.

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