Cortex-M4/M0 microcontroller targets high-speed data acquisition applications

October 23, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
NXP has used a 204-MHz ARM Cortex-M processor in a devices that features what the company says is the fastest 12-bit ADC on an MCU.

The LPC4370 microcontroller is a complete solution for high-speed data acquisition applications hosting a 204-MHz ARM Cortex-M4 processor and a 12-bit ADC with a sampling rate of 80 Msps. In addition, the LPC4370 has a 204-MHz Cortex-M0 co-processor for offloading control and I/O tasks such as handling USB stacks, as well as a dedicated subsystem for handling programmable digital I/O and pre- or post-processing. Advanced peripherals include Hi-Speed USB with on-chip PHY and Ethernet for high-speed communications, and a graphics LCD controller for display interfacing.

Demanding data acquisition applications such as spectrum analysis, current measurement, digital signal processing, audio streaming/processing, and analytical instrumentation typically require multiple chips for input, processing and output, NXP says, offering the LPC4370 as a single chip, eliminating data bottlenecks, improving power efficiency and noise performance, as well as reducing the overall PCB footprint, cost and application complexity. The multi-core architecture of the LPC4370 also offers simplified algorithm partitioning. With its large SRAM and flexible memory expansion, the LPC4370 allows you to tailor the memory type and size to specific application requirements.

The LPC4370 is pin-compatible with all LPC4300 and LPC1800 series microcontrollers in similar packages. LPC-Link 2, the standalone debug adapter introduced by NXP in April 2013, is based on the LPC4370 microcontroller.

According to Anders Rosvall, technical director, Embedded Artists, “... the Serial GPIO peripheral is great for digital I/O handling [plus] the new 80-Msps sampling rate of the 12-bit ADC. These new features make the LPC4370 an excellent choice for data acquisition applications. Our Embedded Artists’ LabTool is a powerful development tool because we have been able to make the most of the rich peripherals available on the LPC4370.”

The LPC4370 costs $3.96 (10,000) units. The LabTool is available from Embedded Artists or NXP distributors under product no. EA-XPR-202.

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