FTDI adds board-level products around its 8051-based micro core

January 07, 2016 // By Graham Prophet
Creating an ‘ecosystem’ to accompany its 8-bit FT51A MCU, FTDI Chip has designed a series of modules that exploit the features available on its connectivity-orineted, 8051-compatible device.

To support its FT51A microcontroller FTDI Chip (Glasgow, Scotland) has introduced an array of board levels products to assist designers in gaining familiarity with this MCU platform before putting their first prototypes into action.

The processing core of the FT51A MCU executes an 8051 feature set (capable of running at 48 MHz). Along with this, it possesses a wide array of interfaces - including USB client, UART, SPI, I ²C, 245 FIFO, PWM and GPIO options. The USB hub feature, which is completely unique to this IC, allows multiple USB-enabled devices to be cascaded or combined with one another. The FT51A’s data conversion capabilities comprise an 8-bit ADC. Its 16 kB shadow RAM accelerates read access of the core, thereby heightening throughput levels. Low power operation is another key characteristic of this device, drawing 20 mA (typical) while active and 150 µA (typical) when in suspend mode.

The FT51A-EVM evaluation module provides different functions to demonstrate the FT51A MCU’s application parameters - in particular its suitability for multi-sensor circuits. The module incorporates a 20x2 character LCD display (with an RGB backlight) plus a series of different sensor mechanisms through which various forms of data can be acquired. There is a heart-rate monitor (with filtered and amplified analogue output), a force sensitive resistor (which can measure the pressure applied by the user’s finger) and a SPI-enabled temperature sensor. The upstream and downstream USB ports permits cascading of multiple units. The module comes preloaded with dedicated firmware - allowing the full scope of the FT51A’s functionality while avoiding the need to create any code. Provision has been made within the modules’ IOs for communication with FTDI’s FT800 Embedded Video Engine (EVE) modules, so that more sophisticated human machine interfaces can be added if necessary.

In a 40-pin dual-in-line (DIP) package, the UMFT51AA also features an FT51A MCU. This compact module provides engineers with is a drop-in replacement for legacy 8051 MCUs