Front and center with Atmel’s ARM-powered SAM9

Atmel’s versatile ARM-powered SAM9 has popped up in a number of recent Bits & Pieces articles lately. So today we will be taking a closer look at the most current SAM9 MCU lineup (SAM9G15, SAM9G25, SAM9G35, SAM9X25, SAM9X35) which is capable of driving a wide range of hardware-based applications, including industrial communicationsPLC systems & I/O modules, human machine interfaces and the industrial Matrix-505 by Artila Electronics.

“Essentially, Atmel’s ARM926-based Atmel SAM9 microcontrollers deliver expanded feature sets – including enhanced display and connectivity peripherals – offering engineers the flexibility to design industrial and commercial applications that make a difference,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces.

“High levels of performance and integration coupled with reduced system cost make Atmel SAM9 processors ideal for main-powered, cost-sensitive applications such as industrial and building control, HVAC, POS terminals, smart grid, printers and medical.”

In terms of integration, connectivity peripherals include up to three USB ports, CAN, Ethernet, SDIO/SDCard/MMC and a unique integrated soft modem. Meanwhile, display peripherals boast a graphics LCD controller with 4-layer overlay and 2D acceleration (picture-in-picture, alpha-blending, scaling, rotation, color conversion), camera and touch-screen interfaces.

“For high-performance architecture, Atmel’s SAM9 series features a processor clock running at 400 MHz, along with a high data-bandwidth architecture based on a multi-layer bus matrix with dual 8-channel central Direct Memory Access (DMA) controllers,” the engineering rep continued. “Plus, the lineup offers dedicated DMAs to support the high-speed connectivity peripherals.”

atmelsam9evalkit

As expected, the above-mentioned devices offer LPDDR, DDR2 and MLC NAND Flash support, in addition to SDRAM and NOR Flash, with boot from NAND Flash, SDCard, DataFlash or serial DataFlash. They also support up to 24-bit error code correction on MLC NAND Flash. As with other Atmel MCUs, full-featured evaluation kits are available with free board support packages (BSP) for Linux, with development tools, OS, middleware products and support from industry-leading partners.

Last, but certainly not least, power consumption is only 300µW/MHz at 400MHz operation and 8µA in backup mode, with 3.3V IOs eliminating the need for external level shifters while 0.8mm ball pitch packages simplify PCB design.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to check out our breakdown of SAM9-based devices below for specific key specs:

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