Atmel’s SAM D20 can power this next-gen appliance UI control unit

An appliance user interface (UI) enables easy control of items such as washing machines and dishwashers, while providing visual and audio feedback in real-time. The UI accomplishes this by communicating with various subsystems, including motor controllers and wireless modules.


Key design considerations of a next-gen UI include capacitive touch, as well as full compliance with safety and energy standards such as EMC, IEC 60730 Class B, FMEA and EnergyStar.

As noted above, the UI is in constant communication with multiple subsystems such as dedicated modules that control motor tasks like drum rotation and compressor drives – or modules that offer wireless capabilities for linking home automation, remote control units and diagnostic tools.

A number of Atmel components can be used as a platform to help power a next-gen appliance UI control unit – supporting all of the above-mentioned features. These include the SAM D20 ARM Cortex-M0+based MCU, 86RF233 or AT86RF212 IEEE802.15.4 ZigBee radios, various MCUs for motor control, SHA204 Authentication IC for security, 30TS temperature sensor and AT24/AT25 Serial EEPROM.

“The SAM D20 offers an integrated UI, eases standards compliance and supports multiple communications interfaces, which reduces BOM cost and board space, increasing system reliability,” Atmel engineering rep Bob Martin told Bits & Pieces.

“In addition, there is hardware support for self and mutual-capacitive touch interfaces with up to 16×16 channels requiring virtually no external components. All of this enables quick response to touches in all power modes with high button count panels.”

Martin also noted that hardware-based 32-bit Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) and Memory BIST help customers achieve IEC 60730 Class B compliance, with EMC compliance eased by flexible PCB routing from SERCOM modules and integrated touch control. Plus, each of the 6 SERCOM interfaces can be configured as a USART, I2C or SPI to more efficiently communicate with multiple subsystems.

On the software side, the SAM D20 boasts an extensive development ecosystem, including Atmel Studio 6 (free IDE with compiler), free SW libraries of production-ready source code, a gallery open to extensions via Atmel’s app store and the SAM D20 Xplained Pro Kit – which offers an integrated programmer and debugger with connectors for expansion wings.

Additional information about the SAMD20 can be found here.

5 thoughts on “Atmel’s SAM D20 can power this next-gen appliance UI control unit

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