Low-power 32-bit microcontrollers provide first development platforms for DALI and DMX512 wired lighting control systems

May 04, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
NXP Semiconductors N.V. has introduced the industry's first development platforms for DALI and DMX512 wired lighting control systems based on the low-cost, low-power 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 processor.

The new evaluation systems feature an NXP LPC1100XL series microcontroller, which is suited to handle the communication requirements for intelligent lighting projects using DALI and DMX. In addition, the DMX512 system includes a master controller board with the LPC11U00, a highly flexible USB microcontroller, also based on the Cortex-M0.

Both the DALI and DMX512 systems can be connected to any of NXP’s lamp drivers using the PWM outputs of the Cortex-M0 processor. NXP will also offer an optional evaluation system to simplify RGB LED power stage design.

The first DALI and DMX512 evaluation systems available from NXP feature an LPC1114 microcontroller based on the Cortex-M0. The popular LPC1100XL series microcontroller offers a combination of features making it ideally suited for intelligent lighting projects using DALI, the Digital Addressable Lighting Interface, or DMX512.

With performance up to 45 DMIPS, the 50-MHz LPC1100XL series offers the resources required for a single MCU to code and decode DALI and DMX messages and generate PWM signals, with enough bandwidth available for the end application.

The new extra-low-power LPC1100XL series, NXP provides the industry’s lowest 32-bit active power consumption at 110 uA/MHz, and standby power consumption below 2 uA.

Storing scene settings and other programs in non-volatile memory are straightforward, using EEPROM emulation in flash or by using integrated EEPROM, now available in the LPC11E00 series.
Offering up to four 16-bit and 32-bit timers, the LPC1100XL series can generate up to 11 PWM signals to control and dim the ballast.

Embedded lighting applications can be programmed in C, significantly reducing development complexity. A basic DALI driver is available from NXP. For DMX lighting networks, development time is further reduced through the NXP solution, which already implements basic functions and Remote Device Management (RDM) in a fully DMX512-compliant software stack.

By offering many built-in peripherals to interface with lighting drivers and network interfaces in a tiny footprint, the LPC1100XL offers cost savings in the total BoM.