Low power PIC MCUs extend battery life, eliminate external memory

November 25, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Microchip's PIC24F “GB6” microcontroller family has dual-partition flash with live update, for always-on capability; it is the first 16-bit PIC MCU with up to 1 MB of flash with error correction code (ECC) and 32 kB RAM, which can eliminate external memory and support low-power operation.

Featuring dual-partition flash with live update capability, these devices can hold two independent software applications, permitting the simultaneous programming of one partition while executing application code from the other. This combination of features suits the PIC24F “GB6” family for industrial, computer, medical/fitness and portable applications that require a long battery life, and data transfer and storage without the need of external memory. These applications include electricity metering, HVAC control, fingerprint scanners and gaming.

MCUs in the PIC24F “GB6” family have active current consumption as low as 190 µA/MHz and 3.2 µA in Sleep mode. With the ability to perform over-the-air firmware updates, designers can provide a cost-effective, reliable and secure method for updating their applications.

The peripheral set for these devices includes a 200 ksample/sec, 24 channel, 12-bit analogue-to-digital converter; up to 12 timers, six UARTS and USB-OTG to act as a USB device or host. Microchip Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) that run without the CPU are also integrated into the family, including a Configurable Logic Cell (CLC) for real-time logic control and DMA that enables faster throughput and lowers power consumption.

The PIC24F “GB6” family is supported by Microchip’s standard suite of development tools, and the PIC24FJ1024GB610 Plug-In Module (MA240023), priced at $25.00; the module works with the Explorer 16 Development Board (DM240001) which is priced at $129.99.

PIC24F product variants are available in 64-pin, 100-pin and 121-pin packages, with flash memory ranging from 128 kB to 1 MB.

Microchip; www.microchip.com/PIC24FGB6-112315a (includes a family table showing all device options).