New Industry Products

MCUs Double Flash Memory and Add New Security Options

August 24, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

Microchip Technology Inc. today announced the expansion of its eXtreme Low Power (XLP) PIC® MCU portfolio. Features of the new PIC24F "GB4" family include an integrated hardware crypto engine with both OTP and Key RAM options for secure key storage, up to 256 KB of Flash memory and a direct drive for segmented LCD displays, in 64-, 100- or 121-pin packages. Dual-partition Flash with Live Update capability allows the devices to hold two independent software applications, and permits the simultaneous programming of one partition while executing application code from the other. These advanced features make the PIC24F "GB4" family suited for designers of industrial, computer, medical/fitness and portable applications that require secure data transfer and storage, and a long battery life.

“Securing your data is one of the key challenges in today’s Internet of Things world,” said Joe Thomsen, vice president of Microchip’s MCU16 Division. “The combination of our XLP technology and encryption capabilities enables this new PIC24 ‘GB4’ family to increase the integrity of embedded data for a broad range of applications, without sacrificing power consumption.”

To protect embedded data, several Microchip Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) that run without the CPU are integrated into the PIC24F “GB4” family. The fully featured hardware crypto engine, which includes support for the AES, DES and 3DES standards, reduces software overhead, lowers power consumption and enables faster throughput. A Random Number Generator is used for generating random keys for data encryption, decryption and authentication, enabling a higher level of security.

For additional protection, this family offers the flexibility of choosing from two crypto-key storage options: One-Time-Programmable (OTP) to prevent overwriting keys, or Key RAM that erases keys if power is lost. 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.

Reducing system components, a segmented LCD display driver provides the ability to directly drive up to 512 segments, enabling more informative and flexible displays that include descriptive icons and scrolling. The PIC24F “GB4” family is supported by Microchip’s standard suite of world-class development tools, including the PIC24FJ256GB410 Plug-In Module (part # MA240038, $25.00) for the Explorer 16 Development Board (part # DM240001, $129.99).

These latest PIC24F MCUs are available for immediate sampling and production volumes are available within typical lead times. Pricing starts at $1.80 each, in high volumes.