xCORE industrial multicore microcontrollers gain analogue functions

April 23, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
XMOS has added a number of analogue functions to its multicore MCUs; integrated analogue functions will reduce component count, save power, and improve signal integrity, allowing designers to combine analogue and digital interfacing, communications and deterministic control in a single device

xCORE-Analog is a range of 6, 8, 10, 12 and 16-core multicore microcontrollers optimised for designers of industrial products. With an integrated analogue-to-digital converter, power management circuitry and a range of timers, the new xCORE-Analog or ‘A-Series’ devices will be used in a range of industrial products, including smart interfaces, high-level sensors and actuators, PLCs, communications devices and motor controllers. Developers can use a level of multicore compute scaled to their exact requirements.

A-Series devices include up to eight channels of 12-bit, 1 MSPS A/D conversion; power-on reset, brown-out protection and watchdog facilities; integrated oscillator; deep sleep memory; and integrated DC/DC converter. These features combine to reduce the number of external components required and to allow designs to be implemented using simple two-layer printed circuit boards. The devices’ power management features enable low sleep-mode power consumption of 100 µA.

The introduction of the A-Series follows several recent announcements from XMOS in the industrial arena, including the addition of industrial Fieldbus capabilities; the launch of an industrial serial bus (IS-BUS) I/O card for the modular sliceKIT development system; and the announcement of a collaboration with Synapticon enabling smart motor control and service robotics applications. The A-Series is supplemented by the company’s expanding xSOFTip range of soft peripherals, which includes real-time Ethernet, USB and human-machine interface (HMI) functions.

Nigel Toon, CEO, XMOS comments, “xCORE-Analog combines the best of hardware integration and software configurability, offering a degree of intelligence and flexibility that is well beyond traditional MCU solutions.”

The A-Series brings the timing predictability, extremely low latency and hardware-level responsiveness of xCORE multicore microcontrollers to developers working on any type of system that needs to interface with analogue signals. Like the existing xCORE-General Purpose (L-Series) and xCORE-USB (U-Series) product ranges, the A-Series is configured and programmed via the xTIMEcomposer Studio development toolset, an easy-to-use C-based design environment that is timing-aware, allowing developers to quickly interface with hundreds of different types of sensors at