Tag Archives: memory

Introducing the world’s most innovative 2-pin, self-powered Serial EEPROM

Atmel has launched the industry’s most innovative Single-Wire EEPROM with only two-pins, making it ideal for the Internet of Things, wearables, consumable, battery and cable identification markets.

The advent of smart gadgets has increasingly made it necessary for embedded systems to store small amounts of information about the system itself. While a majority of memory technology development has been dedicated to increased capacity at low costs, a new class of memory applications have arisen that demand only modest amounts of memory. However, because these memories provide capabilities that might be considered administrative or overhead, space and power must be kept down to an absolute minimum in order to keep the extra functionality from pushing the system beyond its power and size requirements.


Fortunately, a new class of serial EEPROM has emerged to satisfy this need. Meet the Atmel AT21CS01/11 SEEPROM. Tapping into our legacy of delivering “advanced technology for memory and logic,” hence our name, Atmel has launched the industry’s most innovative Single-Wire EEPROM with only two-pins — a data pin and ground pin for operation — making the new family ideal for the Internet of Things, wearables, consumable, battery and cable identification markets.

The AT21CS01/11 are self-powered, eliminating the need for a power source or Vcc pin, with a parasitic power scheme over the data pin. This latest set of devices provide best-in-class ultra-low power standby of 700nA, 200µA for write current, and 80µA for read current at 25 degree Celsius—delivering just one-third of the power of leading competitors.

With confined spacing in smaller IoT, wearables, battery and cable identification applications, the AT21CS01/11 eradicate the need for external capacitors and rectifiers with its parasitic power scheme over a single data pin. Additionally, the new devices have an ultra-high write endurance capability to allow more than one million cycles for each memory location to meet the requirements for today’s high-write endurance applications.

The AT21CS01/11 products include a simple product identification with a plug-and-play 64-bit unique serial number in every device, making it ideal for connected gadgetry in today’s IoT world. The new Single-Wire EEPROM family also delivers industry-leading electrostatic discharge (ESD) rating (IEC 61000-4-2 Level 4 ESD Compliant), so applications such as cables and consumables can tolerate exposure to the outside environment or direct human contact while still delivering flawless performance.


“With Atmel’s legacy rooted in memory, we are excited to bring a new generation of innovative ‘true 2-pin’ serial EEPROMs that are parasitically powered,” explained Padam Singh, Atmel’s Director of Marketing, Memory Products. “Our new Single-Wire EEPROM family makes it very convenient to add serial EEPROM using just one-pin from the MCU/MPU without the need to route the Vcc to the device, delivering significant board space savings while simplifying the layout. In addition, the plug-and-play 64-bit serial number is the easiest way to add identification to various accessories and consumables. We look forward to proliferating these products to next-generation applications and delivering more value-added solutions and industry-firsts.”

The recently-revealed products follow the I2C protocol, allowing for an easy migration from existing EEPROM with less overhead and capability to connect up to eight devices on the same bus. The AT21CS01 offers a security register with a 64-bit factory programmed serial number and an extra 16-bytes of user programmable and permanently lockable storage, delivering a guaranteed unique serial number for inventory tracking, asset tagging and can permanently protect the data if needed.

There are two variants of the device available to support different voltage requirements. The AT21CS01 is targeted for low-voltage applications operating at 1.7V-3.6V. For applications that require higher voltage ranges such as Li-Ion/polymer batteries, the AT21CS11 will support 2.7V-4.5V operating range and is the ideal product to meet IEEE1725 specifications for electronic identification of battery packs.

Interested? The AT21CS01 is now available in production quantities in 3-lead SOT23, 8-lead SOIC and 4-ball WLCSP, while the AT21CS11 will debut later this year in Q4. Read more about the 2-pin, self-powered Serial EEPROM series here.

Logic doubling with Atmel

Atmel’s EPLD product line comprises two major categories: simple programmable logic devices (SPLDs) and higher density complex programmable logic devices (CPLDs). Essentially, Atmel SPLD lineup consists of industry standard 16V8 and 22V10s in a variety of voltage and power-saving options.

“We offer low-voltage, zero-power and quarter power versions as well as our proprietary ‘L’ automatic power down low-power devices including the battery friendly ATF22LV10CQZ,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces. “All popular packages are supported in addition to the Atmel-only, TSSOP package – the smallest package offered for any SPLD device. All versions are EE-based for high-reliability and easy re-programming and are supported by all popular third party programmers.”

Meanwhile, the ATF15xxAS/ASL/ASV/ASVL CPLD family offers pin-compatible supersets of the popular Altera 7000 and 3000 series, devices ranging from 32 to 128 macrocells with propagation delays from 7.5 to 15 ns for 5V standard power versions and 15 ns for 3.3V versions. Specifically, Atmel’s proprietary low-power (“L”) versions use Input Transition Detection (ITD) to power down the device automatically when nothing is switching. All devices also support JTAG in-system programming (ISP).

“The Logic Doubling features of the ATF15xx family make these products ideal for new designs. The ATF15xx family offers the most powerful switch matrix and routing resources of any CPLD while also supporting multiple independent feedbacks, individual output enable, global clear and D/T/latch configurable flip-flops,” the Atmel engineering rep continued. “More global clock pins, a programmable pin-keeper and the ability to realize two latches per macrocell are further examples of the enhanced features available from this CPLD product family.”

In addition, Atmel CPLDs can be used for I/O expansion as well as for memory, control and Interfacing with different types of memories such as compact Flash or mobile SDRAM. Simply put, converting an Altera EPM7000 series design is easy with Atmel’s push button POF2JED software utility that generates an industry standard JEDEC programming file from an Altera POF file.

Last but certainly not least, Atmel offers the ATF750C/CL and ATF2500C CPLDs, with the ATF750C boasting twice the logic of a standard 22V10 in a pin-out compatible 24- or 28-pin package. The ATF750C is ideal for 22V10 designs requiring a bit more logic than is typically offered in a 22V10 device, but still needs to maintain the 22V10 pin-out. The ATF2500C is a very high-density (2500 usable gates) 44-pin CPLD, ideally suitable for the most difficult 44-pin designs. It should probably be noted that the ATF2500C (electrically erasable) has replaced the ATV2500B/BQ/BQL/BL in commercial, industrial and military temperature grade offerings.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to check out extensive product category breakdown here.

A closer look at Atmel’s AT24CS Serial EEPROM

Yesterday, Bits & Pieces got up close and personal with Atmel’s AT24MAC family which provides a pre-programmed MAC address inside of a serial EEPROM device – without consuming any user memory area.


And today we will be taking a closer look at Atmel’s AT24CS Serial EEPROM. Simply put, practically every application in production today can benefit from or (already) requires a unique identifier or serial number.

“This number allows identification and tracking for multiple purposes including node identity, build control, version control, customer tracking and authenticity check,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces.

“However, building and maintaining an infrastructure to assign and maintain the serialization of products, particularly in high-volume production lines across multiple locations, can be challenging.”

And that’s precisely why Atmel’s AT24CS lineup of devices includes a unique, factory-programmed, read-only 128-bit serial number to help engineers simplify inventory control of mass production lines, all while enhancing product trace-ability.

“The CS family comes in multiple EEPROM array densities from 1Kb through 64Kb,” the Atmel engineering rep continued. “As an application’s needs grow over time and greater memory densities are required, the 128-bit serial number contained within any CS series Serial EEPROM product remains unique, enabling the value to remain distinctive across the entire portfolio of applications.”

As expected, the AT24CS series maintains all of the features that make serial EEPROMs a must-have element in most designs, including one million cycle write endurance, 100-year data retention, byte write capability, along with very low active and standby current consumption. Plus, the read-only serial number is stored in a separate area and does not reduce the user portion of  the memory array.

Interested in learning more about Atmel’s AT24CS and AT24MAC? Be sure to check out our official product page here.

Securing Your Design with the Fixed Challenge Authentication Model

By: James Tomasetta

Fixed challenge authentication is an easy way to add security to your product without the added expense of additional hardware to the host or client, interactive testing, or extensive software development.

Fixed Challenge Response

Fixed Challenge Response

Fixed challenge authentication is the only authentication model that does not require a key or calculation on either the host or client.  With the fixed challenge model the host sends the same challenge every time authentication is needed and the client always responds with the same response.  By ensuring the same challenge and response are used both sides can have a pre-calculated version of the challenge response pair.

The major weakness in this model is that an attacker can monitor the bus and record the challenge/response pair and then use the recording to fool the system into validating a fake device.  This is known as a replay attack and is one of the easiest forms of attacks.  To counter this, the host can have a list of challenge/response pairs and randomly select from the list requiring the attacker to record multiple transactions on the bus prior to fooling the system.

Another key weakness in the system is that the challenge/response pairs need to be stored in memory, making them easy to extract from the host.  One solution to this is to add a hardware authentication device to the host.  Adding a hardware device like the Atmel ATSHA204 CryptoAuthentication IC allows the system to increase the level of security without the need to change any client device already in the field.