New Industry Products

Ultra-Low Power FRAM MCUs target Battery-free Systems

June 23, 2014 by Jeff Shepard

Texas Instruments, Inc. (TI) today announced its comprehensive ultra-low power FRAM microcontroller (MCU) platform with all the necessary hardware and software tools, and support for developers to reduce energy budgets, minimize product size and enable a battery-free world. TI's new MSP430FR59x/69x FRAM MCU families with EnergyTrace++™ real-time power profiler and debugger range from 32 to 128 KB embedded FRAM. These MSP430™ MCUs are ideal for smart utility metering, wearable electronics, industrial and remote sensors, energy harvesting, home automation, data acquisition systems, the Internet of Things (IoT) and many more applications that require ultra-low power consumption, flexible memory options and smart analog integration.

TI’s innovative ultra-low-leakage (ULL) proprietary technology with embedded FRAM delivers the world’s lowest system power with active power of 100 µA/MHz, accurate-RTC standby power of 450 nA and industry-leading power performance across temperature range from -40 to 85 degrees Celsius. The new FRAM MCUs include a variety of smart analog peripherals, such as a differential input analog-to-digital converter (ADC) that consumes as little as 140 µA at 200 ksps and an enhanced scan interface for flow metering that can operate while the system is in standby, resulting in 10 times lower power. In addition, an integrated 8-mux LCD display and 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) accelerator reduce power consumption, bill of materials and board space.

TI’s new EnergyTrace++ technology is the world’s first debug system that enables developers to analyze power consumption down to 5nA resolution in real-time for each peripheral. This allows engineers to take control of their power budget and optimize software to create the lowest energy product possible. This new technology is now available for both MSP430FR59x and MSP430FR69x MCU families and with the new low-cost MSP430FR5969 LaunchPad development kit.

In addition to the outstanding power-saving benefits, TI’s MSP430FR59x/69x FRAM MCU families exceed developers’ needs with unmatched: Infinite Endurance. The unbeatable read/write speeds mean FRAM MCUs have more than 10 billion times more write-erase cycles than traditional non-volatile memory solutions – outlasting the product lifetime itself. Flexibility. FRAM has the unique ability to free developers from the traditional boundaries between code and data memory. Users no longer need to be confined to industry-standard flash-to-RAM ratios or pay a premium for increased RAM needs. And Ease of use. FRAM simplifies code development. Since FRAM does not require pre-erasure of segments and can be accessed at the bit-level, constant on-the-fly data logging is now possible. Wireless firmware updates are less complex, faster and lower energy.

Features and benefits of TI’s ultra-low power FRAM MCU portfolio: FRAM is the only non-volatile embedded memory that can be written at 8MBps in under 800µA – more than 100 times faster than flash. Ease development with pin-to-pin compatibility and a scalable portfolio of 32 – 128KB devices within TI’s ultra-low power MSP430™ FRAM MCU product platform. Leverage MSP430Ware™ to simplify migration with code and peripheral compatibility between MSP430 FRAM and flash portfolios. Replace EEPROM to design secure products with faster write times, lower power and higher memory reliability. A 256-bit AES accelerator enables TI’s FRAM MCUs to secure data transmissions. Extensive resources for developers include detailed migration guides and application notes to ease the migration from existing silicon to MSP430FR59x/69x MCUs.

Developers can get started with TI’s FRAM MCU portfolio through an extensive training program with online and in-person components available for all aspects of the ultra-low power platform. A series of in-depth tutorial videos will help developers jumpstart designs and troubleshoot TI’s FRAM MCUs with EnergyTrace++ technology and development tools at any stage of the design cycle.

MSP430FR59x MCUs are available immediately in production quantities for $3.35 USD in 1K units. The MSP430FR69x MCUs are available for sampling, with full production quantities available in 3Q 2014. The MSP-EXP430FR5969 LaunchPad bundled with the Sharp® 96 Memory LCD BoosterPack is available for $29.99. The MSP-FET is available for $115.