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Chip resets frozen gadget without removing battery

Posted: 02 Nov 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart-reset IC  processor  battery 

STM65xx smart-reset IC

STMicroelectronics offers a smart-reset chip that safely restarts electronic products without removing the battery or finding a tool to push the reset button, usually hidden behind a hole in the casing.

As more and more people come to use highly featured products such as smart phones, media players, game consoles, e-books and others, the problem of how best to recover a frozen device is surely encountered many times, daily, around the world.

Mechanisms to overcome frozen devices are often less well developed than the main product features. Most manual reset keys, where provided, are hidden to prevent resetting the device accidentally. As these can be difficult to access, a popular "fix" is to remove the battery. This can potentially damage the system, for example by causing critical data loss.

ST's new STM65xx family of smart-reset IC has two inputs that can be connected to two of the device's normal function buttons. When these are held down for a certain time, which is programmable, the IC will send a reset signal to the main processor. The two inputs and programmable delay time allow a combination of button presses and hold-down times to guard against unintended resets. While other ICs on the market can control one reset key, only the STM65xx has this smart-reset capability with two inputs and also includes the system-controlled supervision and reset features that most product designs require.

The arrival of this chip will enhance users' experiences by providing a safe, convenient and easily understood means of restarting those frozen gadgets. For manufacturers, combining an improved manual reset with the system-controlled reset functions in a single chip offers better performance and saves cost and PCB space. Its 2mm x 2mm package has a smaller overall footprint than using separate chips for system reset and one-key manual reset, or an equivalent network of discrete components that can occupy as much as 100sq-mm on the board.

In addition, by allowing the manual reset to be controlled from the normal user buttons, the STM65xx can enable product designers to eliminate the traditional hidden reset requiring an access hole in the casing. This can save tooling costs and also provides an opportunity to create splash-resistant or waterproof new products.

The STM65xx is in mass production now, priced at Rs.25.87 ($0.53) for 10,000 units.





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