FRAM microcontroller range grows for metering, health/fitness and wearables designs

September 01, 2014 // By Graham Prophet
Texas Instruments has added to its ferroelectric RAM MCUs with the ultra-low-power MSP430FR69x that has integrated smart analogue, extended scan interface, LCD controller and up to 128 kB memory.

Enabling developers to reduce power consumption, bill of materials and product size, Texas Instruments has 46 new ultra-low-power MSP430 FRAM microcontrollers (MCUs) with more memory, features and integration. These MCUs are scalable up to 128 kB non-volatile FRAM memory and include smart analogue integration, such as an extended scan interface (ESI) and a differential input analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) that consumes as little as 140 µA at 200 ksamples/sec. Developers can also use the integrated 320-segment LCD controller to add a display to their products and a 256-bit advanced encryption standard (AES) hardware accelerator to increase security of data transmissions. This integration not only reduces overall power consumption, it minimises product size by eliminating redundant components in systems.

TI's focus on optimising its MSP430FR69x MCUs for ultra-low-power and high integration yields MCUs with the lowest active, standby and peripheral power. Unbeatable write speeds of MSP430FR69x FRAM MCUs and 10 billion times more write-erase cycles than flash solutions results in memory that can reduce power, increase data accuracy over time, and even extend product lifetime. FRAM offers unmatched memory flexibility, does not require pre-erasure of segments and can be accessed at the bit-level, enabling constant on-the-fly data logging and faster, simpler wireless firmware updates.

The integrated ESI module, differential ADC and LCD controller suit MSP430FR69x MCUs for smart flow-metering designs for water, gas and heat. Adding TI's complementary SimpleLink Sub-1 GHz CC1120 transceiver, SimpleLink Wi-Fi CC3100 wireless network processor or Wireless M-Bus connectivity solutions can connect an MSP430FR69x-based flow meter design to the grid. Power-conscious developers can also include TI's TPS61220 boost converter to optimise battery-powered systems.

TI's FlowESI GUI simplifies sensor setup in software and EnergyTrace++ technology enables developers to debug power consumption at a function- and peripheral-level. Three comprehensive TI Designs based on MSP430FR69x MCUs build on the integrated extended scan interface module. These complete reference designs for water meters using inductive-capacitive (LC), giant magneto-resistive (GMR) or optical sensors include