Tag Archives: low power

Atmel’s SAM4L at the Colorado School of Mines

Analog aficionado and Linear Systems marketing maven Tim McCune saw some of our cool ARM Cortex M4-based SAM4L-EK demo kits at the last Analog Aficionados party. Turns out his son Clark just entered the Colorado School of Mines and Tim thought his son could learn a lot from the kit. This is the same kit that Atmel is featuring in its 2014 Tech on Tour training, where we drive a giant 18-wheeler truck onto your campus or company and then do training or product demos.

Atmel-Tech-on-Tour-Trailer

The Atmel Tech on Tour mobile trailer is available to drive to your location and conduct training for employees or students.

So I wangle a couple kits from Atmel events director Donna Castillo and sent them off to Clark. In addition to the ARM Cortex M4-based SAM4-EK, the training bundle had an AT86RF233 Xplained Pro wireless board and an 10-pin XPRO adapter PCB. This allows the SAM4 Xplained pro to take the RF board.

Tim reported the kits were a big hit:

“The kits arrived last Friday, before the three-day weekend, which was a great morale-booster for Clark. He was stuck there with not much to do, most of his friends were at home or skiing. Figuring out how to fire up the kits and start working in C was pretty fun. And when his classmates started drifting back he had the coolest new toys on the hall.”

Clark-McCune_Colorado-School-of-Mines_Atmel-SAM4

Clark McCune and pal fires up the Atmel SAM4-EK at the Colorado School of Mines.

 

Clark-McCune_Colorado-School-of-Mines_Atmel-SAM4_close

Here Clark McCune has both SAM4-EK kits at the ready, with the one hooked to the computer also sporting the AT86RF233 wireless board that comes with the Tech on Tour training.

SAM4L-EK_for-clark

Here are the kits I sent Clark McCune. The Tech on Tour training will get you up to speed on ARM Cortex M4 programming as well as wireless connectivity.

SAM4L-EK_unboxed

The SAM4L-EK has a board and a ton of cables including the micro-USB ones you will need to power the board.

SAM4L-EK_displays

Both displays have a protective film over them, so be sure to peel them off to get the best appearance.

SAM4L-EK_slider

Right out of the box the board is programmed to read the slider on the bottom right side. The number “104” changes in proportion to your finger posing. Note the smaller power consumption display above the main one. The L in SAM4L stands for low power, so Atmel includes a power monitor right on the board.

SAM4L-EK_jumpers

We also include the jumpers, just set off to the side, so you don’t have to hunt any down from your old Windows 95 add-in cards.

SAM4L-EK_with-RF

Here is the SAM4L set up with the AT86RF233 Xplained Pro wireless board and an 10-pin XPRO adapter PCB. I hope Clark had them in the right way because I just copied what he had in his picture.

SAM4L-EK_full-power

Here is a close-up of the power monitor display. With the programs running full-bore, you can see the board is using 1.92 mA, but the firmware is nice enough to tell you it is using 159μA/MHz.

SAM4L-EK_backup-power

Press pushbutton PB0 and the board kicks into standby, where the PCB only draws 66μA. Sorry for the shaky camera, the display is sharp as a tack.

SAM4L-EK_into-backup-power

Speaking of shaky camera work, I tried to press the PB0 pushbutton and snap a pic at the same time, so you can see the little display on the SAM4L-EL work like a tiny oscilloscope, showing the power consumption dropping from 2mA to 69μA.

SAM4L-EK_outof-backup-power

And finally, another shaky camera shot of the SAM4L-EK returning to full power mode.

What is really cool about the little power monitor is that it does show transient events, like when the code services an interrupt and returns to low-power mode. Oh, I forgot to show the back of the PCB, here is a shot:

SAM4L-EK_backside

The back of the SAM4L-EK has more chips, I assume to run the debugger and such. Note the nice clear rubber feet to keep the pins from scratching your desk.

This is such a well-done kit, and if you want to get on the ARM bandwagon, it is a perfect way to learn. Better yet, with the RF board it gets you familiar with the Internet of Things (IoT) applications the whole world is hungering for. So check out the Tech on Tour training and feel free to badger you local Atmel rep or FAE to bring the ToT mobile trailer to your school or company.

SAMA5 and SAM9: Atmel’s big iron microprocessors

Atmel is rightly famous for its AVR line of 8-bit Flash microcontrollers. But we also have “big iron” chips like the SAMA5 and SAM9 ARM-core microprocessors. A microcontroller has its own internal Flash memory. A microprocessor uses external memory, as much or as little as your application might need.

Hardware engineers have two big worries with any “big iron” microprocessor. First, they are in big packages, hundreds of pins in a ball-grid array. That can be hard to prototype with, since it needs a fine-line PCB that costs a lot to spin. The other big concern is laying out the DDR memory interface. These are wickedly fast and require best layout practices and some register tweaking to get them up to full speed.

SAMA5D3_Xplained_angle

The SAMA5D3 Xplained kit has connectors for Arduino Shields and dual Ethernet ports.

Thankfully, Atmel has solved both problems with a series of evaluation systems. For the SAMA5, you can start with a 79-dollar SAMA5D3 Xplained Kit. It has solved your DDR memory problem since it’s got 256MB on-board. One of the coolest things is that it has connectors where you can plug in any Arduino Shield. Now you can’t use the Arduino libraries, those are based on Atmel’s 8-bit AVR, but it’s not hard to re-write the open source code libraries into something that will run on ARM, if someone hasn’t done it already. The eval board has Atmel’s SAMA5D36 Cortex-A5 Microprocessor, 256Mbytes of NAND Flash, LCD connectors, dual Ethernet (GMAC + EMAC) with PHY and connectors, three USB connectors (2 Host + 1 Device), one SD/eMMC and one MicroSD slots, expansions headers, and power measurement straps.

SAM9N12-EK_SAM5D3x-MB

Atmel makes eval kits for the SAM9N12 (left) and SAM5D3x ARM-based microprocessors.

For those that are doing higher-level applications, the fact that you can run Linux brings all the advantages of open-source development to the SAMA5 and SAM9 microprocessors. And best yet, you get a powerful CPU that uses very little power thanks to Atmel’s architecture. The SAMA5 uses 150mW when running at full speed. It has a DDR controller that give you 1328MB/s of bandwidth. It comes with for gigabit Ethernet, 3 USB ports, dual CAN, UARTs, SPI, and an LCD controller with a graphics accelerator. There is a camera interface, a 12-bit analog to digital converter (ADC) and 32-bit timers.

A SAMA5 chip can run Linux and even has the power to run Android in a “headless” application, that is, where there is not a high-resolution display to eat up your CPU cycles. With an ARM core it’s ideal if you want to do “bare metal” development, where you are writing native ARM code.

SAM9N12-block-diagram

The SAM9N12 architecture gives you low power and a great peripheral set.

Looking at the SAM9, the SAM9CN runs at 400MHz. They have security built in with a cryptographic engine and a secure boot. There is an LCD controller with touchscreen interface, USB, MLC NAND memory support, along with multiple UARTs and I2C. It sips 103mW at 400MHz.

You can get separate LCD panels made to work with the SAMA5 Xplained kit. But if you want to get a SAMA5 kit with the LCD already included, look at the 595-dollar SAMA5D31, SAMA5D33, SAMA5D34 and SAMA5D36 kits. There is also the 445-dollar SAMA5D35 kit, which is cheaper since it does not have an LCD system. These kits cost more but they come ready to go. These are a small working computer that you can immediately start programming in high-level languages or Linux scripts. The kits come with installed applications for its Qt-based GUI.

SAMA5D3-EK_launch-screen

The SAM5A5Dx-EK demo kit comes with Linux and some demo applications pre-installed.

And if you dread laying out a PCB with a working DDR memory interface, but don’t need the whole $595 kit, you can get help there as well. You will notice that the microprocessor and memory are on a little mezzanine PCB in the SAMA5D3 demo kits. This PCB will be available from Embest and other partners. The SAM9 is also available as a tiny SBC (single-board computer).

SAMA5D3-EK_mezzinine_PCB

The SAMA5D3-EK series are designed with a mezzanine card holding the CPU and DDR memory. You can use this card in your high-volume designs.

So now you can develop your custom hardware starting with the SAMA5D3 kit, and then make your own custom hardware that still uses the same exact CPU+memory mezzanine card. While you are perfecting and troubleshooting that hardware, your software team can be working on the Atmel eval kit. This paralleled development will substantially speed up your time to market. And best yet, you won’t be bogged down trying to troubleshoot the DDR memory interface, since it is already working on the mezzanine card.

So don’t just think of 8-bit AVRs when you consider Atmel. We make some really high-power MPU products for everything from IoT (Internet of Things) servers to routers and industrial automation. With Atmel’s kits and our extensive partner network, we can get you up and running in no time, for very little cost, and you can have confidence you designs will work on that final hardware spin.

UK invests big in the IoT



The UK government will reportedly spend an extra £45m on developing Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The pledge, made by British Prime Minister David Cameron, more than doubles the amount of IoT-related funds currently available to UK tech firms.

“I see the internet of things as a huge transformative development,” British Prime Minister David Cameron recently told CeBIT attendees in Germany in a statement quoted by the BBC. “[It is] a way of boosting productivity, of keeping us healthier, making transport more efficient, reducing energy needs [and] tackling climate change.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the IoT is essentially a combination of multiple market segments, tens of thousands of OEMs and hundreds of thousands of products.

“It is seen by many as the next wave of dramatic market growth for semiconductors. If you look at the different estimates made by market analysts, the IoT market will be worth trillions of dollars to a variety of industries from the consumer to financial, industrial, white goods and other market segments,” Dr. Reza Kazerounian, Senior VP and GM of the Microcontroller Business Unit at Atmel, recently told EEWeb.

“Companies that provide cloud-based services, service providers and semiconductor companies will also benefit from this market. The number of small or new companies that are showcasing connective devices has increased – there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. These nodes will have characteristics such as low-power embedded processing, a human-machine interface and connectivity.”

Interested in learning more about the IoT? You can check out previous Bits & Pieces articles on the subject here.

Cure RF squegging with a Neutrodyne circuit

Some headlines write themselves, huh? Squegging is when an RF amplifier or MHz-class switching regulator starts cycling on and off. In an audio amp it is called “motorboating” since that is the sound it makes. FET amplifiers are subject to this, like old tube amplifiers. Both have a high-impedance input, the tube grid or the FET gate. A FET gate is capacitive, so any charge that gets put on it will be stored by the gate, moving the bias point of the FET too high, and causing squegging. The Neutrodyne circuit comes from 1920 vacuum tube amplifiers. It is one of the ways you can tame squegging. High Frequency Electronics magazine has a nice article about squegging (pdf). The best way to show it is a figure in the article, who I hope the fine legal team at Summit Technical Media will let me show you.

Squegging-amplifier

Squegging is when the input of a FET or vacuum tube floats up momentarily and shuts down oscillations. This make the output cycle on and off, called motorboating (courtesy High Frequency Electronics).

Trust me; you really want to click over to the article since it has the schematics of a FET amplifier that will start to motor boat, as well as several ways to fix it. The whole magazine is pretty good. While you are at it, think of signing up for a print copy of the magazine. You need to be an engineer or tech worker, since the magazine is audited by BPA, so the advertisers know they are reaching tech people and not random idiots.

Remember that these tips apply to high frequency switching converters. And regulators are getting up into RF ranges. I remember seeing an 8-MHz switching regulator from Micrel years ago when I worked at EDN magazine. You might be using one of these fast regulators for some extreme size problems. These high speeds do cause less efficiency, as the gate charge is getting shunted to ground, but the inductor you need with these fast converters is miniscule. That Micrel part still manages 90% max efficiency, but you can use a 0.47µH inductor. That is one tiny inductor.

So I assume the Micrel folks have solved any squegging problems in their part, but it is still a good principle to understand should you run across it. It’s like sub-harmonic oscillations in switchers with a duty cycle greater than 50% (pdf page 10, pdf page 5, pdf page 72. It might befuddle you if you have never heard of it and don’t know the steps you need to take to solve it.

Ground, earth ground, common, shield, and power supply return

A recent edition of Design News had a nice story about ground bounce causing problems in LCD panels. Poor or incorrect grounding causes all kinds of horrible problems in electronic systems. The first thing you need to understand is that silly little symbol on your schematic does not magically create an ocean of zero impedance. The ground symbols are just a convention so we don’t have to draw all the separate return paths in our electronic circuits. Many days I think it would be better if we did draw all the grounds as separate wires on our schematics.

The article above bemoans that LCD panel suppliers are connecting their power supply returns to the chassis of the display. The author seems to think this is bad, and I tend to agree, if I understand the problem correctly. He says the LCD panel people do this to lower EMI radiation out of the panel. I have to assume what is going on is that the ITO (indium tin oxide) transparent electrodes on the panel need to be at least ac referenced to earth ground, so they can serve as a shield for the EMI caused by the digital signals inside the panel. But he points out that these fast digital signals can cause the ground to bounce up and that causes memory erasure and all kinds of other problems.

Now a Ham radio person would know the difference between a ground, a shield, and a power supply return. Those RF folks really understand EMI and radiation and low-impedance, even if they are not engineers. Ideally you would have an ITO layer on the display that was continuous and connected to the chassis of the product. That would serve as an EMI shield for all the fast edges inside the LCD panel.

To reduce EMI you want the tightest shortest loops between current carrying conductors. So if there is a ribbon cable to the display, you would want a return line next to each and every signal line. If the ribbon is that twisted pair type that is even better. In addition to putting in power supply returns for the signals, what you folks love to call “ground,” you could also shield the cable by running it a conduit or wrapping it with copper tape. But you have to be very careful where you connect that shield to the power supply returns (aka ground) and also to earth ground, which is that third round pin on your wall plug.

Earth-chassis-signal

The three grounds in your electronic system.

If you connect that shield in multiple places, it will start sharing current with the power supply returns. Now you have changing currents in space, and EMI. I am starting to film a whole YouTube series on schematics, and the first 6 shows are all on the humble ground. So remember, that upside-down Christmas tree that everyone calls ground—that is earth ground. Linear Tech has routinely used it as a signal ground on their datasheets and app notes for 30 years. It is absolutely wrong and sloppy to do this. They are chip guys, maybe brilliant chip guys, but they don’t do system design. If you try to take a product through UL or CE they would like you using earth ground symbols all over the place.

The middle symbol above is chassis ground. That is what you use for a chassis of a car or radio. Unfortunately car makers do use the chassis to return electrical signals, but they are getting smarter and putting in copper wires to make sure the return currents really do return. What we should be using for most all our circuits is the little triangle symbol. And yeah, the power supply common does connect to the chassis common, and you should show that on your schematic. And if your product plugs into a wall, you have to connect the metal chassis to earth ground, unless it is a double insulated product, in which case the plug need not carry the earth ground.

Stay tuned, I will start filming these shows in our new studio here at Atmel and will back-post to them on this blog once I start getting them up.

Atmel debuts new low-power 8-bit tinyAVR MCUs

Atmel has expanded its low-power 8-bit tinyAVR family with the addition of the ATtiny441 and ATtiny841. As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the 8-bit AVR MCUs are ideal for cost-effective consumer applications such as computer accessories, thermostats, personal health accessories and a wide range of Maker projects.

atmelnewattiny

According to Atmel’s Director of Flash-based MCUs Ingar Fredriksen, the new ATtiny 441/841 MCUs boast higher system integration with intuitive tools and peripherals to help facilitate optimized performance with lower power consumption. Indeed, the ultra-low power 14-pin tinyAVR MCUs deliver enhanced analog and communication capabilities for an overall lower system cost in a smaller package.

“Atmel has been the 8-bit MCU leader for more than a decade and continues to think beyond the core, enabling our customers to differentiate their end products,” said Fredriksen. “Our AVRs have been popular since its inception and continue to be the MCU of choice both for professional engineers in consumer and industrial applications and among our 300,000 members in the AVR Freaks community consisting of engineers, hobbyists and Makers.”

As Fredriksen notes, the ATtiny441/841 devices are powerful MCUs packaged in a small form factor. More specifically, the new ATtiny441 and ATtiny841 MCUs feature an uber-mini 3×3 QFN package and 4 and 8KB of Flash memory, respectively.

“The new devices offer enhanced analog performance, including an ADC with calibrated multilevel internal analog reference, with 12 ADC channels on a 14-pin device, two independent USARTs with wake-up from power down without data loss, SPI interface and an I2C slave interface for enhanced communication capabilities,” Fredriksen continued. “In addition, the devices feature flexible clocking options, including a ± 2% internal oscillator with fast wake-up, which allows the UARTs to communicate without the need of an external crystal and wake-up from sleep without data loss.”

As expected, the ATtiny441/841 devices are fully supported by Atmel Studio 6, the integrated development platform (IDP) for developing and debugging Atmel ARM Cortex-M and Atmel AVR MCU-based applications. Simply put, Atmel Studio 6 IDP offers devs a seamless, easy-to-use environment to write, build, simulate, program and debug applications written in C/C++ or assembly code using the integrated GCC compiler and AVR assembler. AS6 also provides easy access to the online Atmel Gallery apps store and Atmel Spaces, a cloud-based collaborative development workspace allowing the designer to host software and hardware projects targeting Atmel MCUs.

To help accelerate devs and Makers accelerate ATtiny441/841 AVR MCU designs, the new devices are supported by Atmel’s AVR Dragon Board which can be snapped up at the Atmel Online Store for USD $49. The ATtiny841 and ATtiny441 are also supported by the STK600, AVRONE, JTAGICE mkII, JTAGICE3 and AVRISPmkII development tools.

The ATtiny441/841 is currently available in mass production, with samples that can be ordered here. Readers who are Maker interested in testing their creativity with AVR MCUs (including the new ATtiny441/841 AVR MCUs) may want to check out Atmel’s very own Master Maker Design Contest here.

3D printing market worth $8.41 billion by 2020

Analysts at MarketsandMarkets have confirmed that the lucrative 3D printing market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 23% from 2013 to 2020, ultimately reaching $8.41 billion in 2020. The rapid growth is attributed to a wide range of diverse factors including innovative and advanced technologies, customized products, government funding, a wide unexploited app space and rapid development of products.

Currently, the major companies operating in this market are 3D Systems (U.S.), Stratasys (U.S.), Arcam AB (Sweden) and Exone (U.S.). As of 2013, the United States holds the largest revenue share, followed closely by Europe in 3D printers materials and related services. However, Europe is expected to surpass America in terms of 3D printing market revenue by 2020.

“The foremost factors accountable for the expansion of 3D printing market include new and improved 3D printing technologies, a wide range of materials government funding, broad application scope and increased awareness regarding the benefits of 3D printing over traditional techniques (injection molding and CNC machining),” a MarketsandMarkets rep explained. “However, APAC is the fastest growing and most promising market for 3D printing due to high industrial growth, technological awareness, supportive government policies and financial investment by the governments in R&D.”

Image Credit: RepRap.org

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the DIY Maker Movement has been using Atmel-powered 3D printers like MakerBot and RepRap for some time now. However, 3D printing recently entered a new and important stage in a number of spaces including the medical spherearchitectural arenascience lab and even on the battlefield.

Indeed, the meteoric rise of 3D printing has paved the way for a new generation of Internet entrepreneurs, Makers and do-it-yourself (DIY) manufacturers. So it comes as little surprise that the lucrative 3D printing industry is on track to be worth a staggering $3 billion by 2016 – and $8.41 billion by 2020. 

Gartner: IoT will create new economy and markets

Analysts at Gartner say the rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT) will create a new economy along with fresh markets. According to Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of Research, the incremental revenue generated by the IoT’s suppliers is estimated to reach $309 billion per year by 2020.

“Half of this activity will be new start-ups and 80 percent will be in services rather than in products,” he confirmed. “[Clearly], the Internet of Things is a strategically important market. It will accelerate fast and drive both revenue and cost efficiencies.”

In 2009, there were 2.5 billion connected devices; most of these were mobile phones, PCs and tablets. In 2020, there will be over 30 billion devices connected, of far greater variety. Simply put, the IoT is projected to create greater economic value for all organizations and the global economy at large.

Indeed, Gartner predicts the total economic value add for the Internet of Things will hit $1.9 trillion dollars in 2020. Verticals leading IoT adoption include manufacturing (15 percent), healthcare (15 percent) and insurance (11 percent).

More specifically, the manufacturing sector will benefit from producing billions of devices and from more efficient tracking of materials and components. In terms of healthcare, smart slippers and other wearable devices for elderly people are expected to contain a growing number of sensors capable of detecting falls and various medical conditions. Another example includes installing sensors in cars to facilitate a “pay as you drive” insurance model – effectively linking a premium to the individual’s risk profile in real-time.

“The Internet of Things enables solutions that are optimized for the customer and enables new innovative business models. This will allow companies to move away from blanket pricing to more tailored solutions which benefit both company and customers,” Sondergaard explained. “The Internet of Everything and the Nexus of Forces, which combine the physical world and the virtual, will drive organizations and their CIOs toward an all-embracing digital future. No matter what business or service organizations deliver today, digitalization is changing it and becoming pervasive inside organizations.”

Nick Jones, research vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner, expressed similar sentiments, noting that the IoT will create tens of millions of new objects and sensors, all generating real-time data.

“Data is money. Businesses will need big data and storage technologies to collect, analyze and store the sheer volume of information. Furthermore, to turn data into money business and IT leaders will need decisions,” he explained. “As they won’t have the time or the capacity to make all the decisions themselves they will need processing power. Computers can make sophisticated decisions based on data and knowledge, and they can communicate those decisions in our native language. To succeed at the pace of a digital world, you’ll have to allow them to do so.”

Meanwhile, Dave Aron, research vice president and Gartner Fellow, noted that every business will require its own flavor of digital strategy as digital is embedded in everything we do.

“Vanilla is off the menu. Digital is not an option, not an add-on, and not an afterthought; it is the new reality that requires a comprehensive digital leadership,” he said.

To be sure, business requires digital leadership capable of recognizing the huge opportunities in shifting business models; leadership that can create the freedom and agility to capture business moments, and leadership that extends itself beyond company boundaries to guide and shape the ecosystem.

“Just like with the strategy, the flavor of digital leadership is not vanilla. CIOs must explore, adapt and embrace the new digital realities. They must be fearless digital leaders,” Aron added.

Analyst Patrick Moorhead talks IoT

The rapidly evolving Internet of Things (IoT) is clearly an idea whose time has finally come. Indeed, falling technology costs, developments in complementary fields like mobile and cloud, together with support from governments have all contributed to the dawning of an IoT “quiet revolution.”

In fact, over three-quarters of companies are now actively exploring or using the IoT, with the vast majority of business leaders believing it will have a meaningful impact on how their companies conduct business. In a recent report sponsored by ARM, Clint Witchalls confirms that consumers will likely soon be awash with IoT-based products and services – even if they may not realize it.

Commenting on the Witchalls report in Forbes, analyst Patrick Moorhead notes that business leaders seem to be highly optimistic about the IoT and its ability to transform their business, either by driving new sources of revenue or by making operations more efficient.

“This is a good sign that leaders think they can make more money and save more money. It isn’t often that you can find both of these together,” he explains. “The [Witchall report] also shows that most companies are investing in IoT right now, but most are just researching what they can do with it versus planning, piloting, or implementing projects.”

So how far are we along the continuum from early adoption to mass adoption?

Well, 95% of those surveyed in the above-mentioned ARM report say they believe their companies will be using IoT in three years.

“While most in surveys are optimistic, this is a huge number when you think of it, even if, in reality, it’s four to five years,” Moorhead notes. “While I think 95% is overly-aggressive, this would be as pervasive as a smartphone or a personal computer use.”

Interestingly, Moorhead splits the concept of IoT into two distinct segments: the Industrial IoT (IIoT) and the Human (HIoT).

“The IIoT brings autonomous monitoring and operations capability to factory boilers, HVAC systems, and hospital medical systems,” he says. “IIoT systems are very high availability and companies like General Electric GE  and Echelon ELON play in this space. The HIoT comprise of more interactive, consumer-based devices like a FitBit, Revolv Hub and a Nest Thermostat. ARM, the study sponsor, obviously plays heavily in both the IIoT and the HIoT.”

Interested in learning more? The full text of the Forbes article can be read here, while the ARM-sponsored Witchalls report is available here.

Atmel’s fast Cortex-A5 based MPU is low power

Last week, Atmel expanded its ARM Cortex-A5 microprocessor (MPU) portfolio with new SAMA5D3 devices that deliver smaller packaging, extended temperature support and an alternative peripheral mix.

The latest SAMA5D3 devices – designed to neatly balance high performance and low-power operation – also offer an expanded ecosystem with new software and hardware.

“To better meet wearable, portable computing and medical application requirements, we have added a smaller package option to the SAMA5D31 to include a tiny, fine-pitch 12x12mm BGA324 0.5mm ball pitch package,” Jacko Wilbrink, Sr. Director of ARM Products, Atmel Corporation, explained.

“For volumes starting at 100,000 pieces, Atmel offers the SAMA5D3 in-die, facilitating the development of Silicon in Package (SiP) solutions for even smaller form factor designs. Incremental support for the industrial and automotive aftermarket is provided by the new SAMA5D36, a superset device providing a unique combination of user interface (UI) and connectivity features including an LCD, 2x Ethernet ports and dual CAN support.”

As the folks at Electronic Products note, the Cortex-A5 based SAMA5D3 (ATSAMA5D3xA) microprocessor now offers a smaller 12 mm package and -40° to 105°C temperature support. The device – which delivers up to 850 DMIPS at 536 MHz – sips under 150 mW in active mode at maximum speed and boasts a 64-bit advanced interrupt controller, SHA algorithm, AES security support and 192 customer allocated fuse bits.

In addition, the MPU lineup series features an multi-layer internal bus structure and 39 DMA channels, plus support for DDR2/LPDDR/LPDDR2 and MLC NAND flash memory with 24-bit ECC and a floating point math unit (VFPv4). The MPU is also equipped with a 12-channel 12-bit A/D converter, a GbE MAC with 1588 support, a 10/100 Ethernet MAC, two CAN controllers, a four channel 16-bit PWM controller along with many other I/O.

Atmel’s SAMA5D3 lineup can be purchased from Electronic Products here.