Microchip expands XLP PIC MCU portfolio with industry’s lowest active current for 16-bit MCUs & new low-power sleep modes

9th January 2012
ES Admin
Microchip announces the expansion of its eXtreme Low Power (XLP) microcontrollers (MCUs) with the PIC24F ‘GA3’ family, which features the industry’s lowest active current for 16-bit Flash MCUs, as well as several flexible new low-power sleep modes. The PIC24F ‘GA3’ devices feature 150 microamperes/MHz active current, as well as six DMA channels, which allow a routine to be executed with less power consumption and increased throughput.
The family demonstrates the continual advancement of Microchip’s XLP technology and adds a new low-power sleep mode with RAM retention down to 330 nA. Additionally, these are the first PIC® MCUs with VBAT for battery backup of the on-chip Real-Time Clock Calendar. With these features, plus an integrated LCD driver and numerous other peripherals, the PIC24F ‘GA3’ devices enable more efficient, less expensive designs for consumer thermostats, door locks, and home automation; industrial products such as security, wired and wireless sensors, and controls; portable medical devices and medical diagnostic equipment; and metering products including e-Meters, energy monitoring, automated meter reading and meters for gas, water or heat; in addition to other applications.

Some applications require battery life to approach the operational life of the end product. With its operating current of 150 microamperes/MHz, numerous low-power modes, and a low-power sleep mode with RAM retention down to 330 nA, the PIC24F ‘GA3’ MCUs enable maximum battery life by reducing the overall amount of power that the application consumes. To allow the application’s Real-Time Clock to continue running when primary power is removed, a VBAT pin can be used to supply back-up power with only 400 nA. Additionally, the transition from VDD to the VBAT supply pin occurs automatically as VDD is removed. The integrated LCD display driver provides the ability to directly drive up to 480 segments, with an eight-common-drive capability, enabling more informative and flexible displays that include descriptive icons and scrolling.

The MCUs also include a Charge Time Measurement Unit (CTMU) with a constant current source that can be used for mTouch™ capacitive sensing, ultrasonic flow measurement and many other sensors. The on-chip, 12-bit ADC features threshold detection and works in conjunction with the CTMU to perform proximity sensing while in sleep, to further reduce power consumption.

To support development of designs based on the PIC24F ‘GA3’ family, Microchip also announces the PIC24FJ128GA310 Plug-In Module (PIM) (MA240029), priced at $25.00, for the Explorer 16 Development Board.

To evaluate or develop designs with a 480-segment LCD, the LCD Explorer Development Board (DM240314), priced at $125.00, will be available in January.

The PIC24F ‘GA3’ family is available today for sampling and volume production in versions with 64 KB or 128 KB of Flash. The PIC24FJXXXGA306 MCUs are available in 64-pin QFN and TQFP packages; PIC24FJXXGA308 versions are available in an 80-pin TQFP package; whilst PIC24FJXXXGA310 are available in 100-pin TQFP and 121 BGA packages.

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