TI extends MSP430 MCUs for ultra-low-power battery operation

October 18, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Boosting battery life in "always on" applications, ultra-low power microcontrollers expand TI's portfolio of 128 kB Flash MCUs with advanced features such as 1.8V split-rail I/Os and eight serial interfaces to support sensor aggregation

Developers who transfer sensor hub, keyboard control and battery/power management functions to MSP430F525x MCUs can create portable consumer devices that put power-hungry application processors and touch screen controllers on standby instead of draining the system's battery, according to TI.

MSP430F525x MCUs feature a 1.8V split-rail I/O architecture that allows seamless interface to the application processor without needing an external level shifting circuit. You can now create smartphones, tablets and accessories that maintain I/O at 1.8V while operating the MCU at maximum performance. With a fast wake-up time at 3.5 µsec and as little as 1.6 µA power consumption in standby mode, these microcontrollers can extend battery life in portable consumer products from hours to days, while simultaneously reducing board space and system cost.

All of the MSP430F525x microcontrollers include easy-to-use software and support to help designs get started quickly. The MCUs are compatible with MSP430Ware software so you can access code examples to simplify development and speed time to market; and they are code-compatible with existing MSP430 devices.

The new 16-bit MCUs also include additional RAM, I/O and serial interfaces to speed up handling of complex sensor algorithms, aggregation and monitoring functions.

Features include;

- four USCI_A and four USCI_B interfaces so developers have up to eight serial interfaces (four I 2C and four SPI) for fast and robust communication to sensors or peripheral devices

- up to 35 general-purpose I/O can be used in the 1.8V voltage rail to conserve energy by switching off power supplies to components that are not in active use

- low-power peripherals include four 16-bit timers, a high-performance 10-bit analogue-to-digital converter (ADC), hardware multiplier, DMA, comparator, and real-time clock module with alarm capabilities

- active power at 290 µA/MHz in Flash and 150 µA/MHz in RAM, standby mode at 1.6 µA (3V) and ultra-fast wakeup at 3.5 µsec allows developers to implement differentiated features while maintaining ultra-low