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RAD-HARD 8051 MCU mates with Honeywell MRAM

Posted: 02 Sep 2005     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:silicon laude  mcs8051  microcontroller  mcu  Honeywell 

Silicon Laude has launched what's claimed to be the first radiation-hardened and radiation-tolerant MCS8051 instruction-compatible microcontrollers (MCUs) that can directly interface with Honeywell's new HXNV-0100 64k x 16 radiation-hardened Magnetic RAM (mram), yielding an unprecedented two-chip, radiation-hardened/tolerant microcontroller solution capable of reliable operation in 300krads total ionizing-dose (TID) environments.

Dubbed the SL80RT051-AX001 for the radiation-tolerant version, and SL80RH051-AF001 for the radiation-hardened version (or SL80RX051 collectively), the MCUs are implemented in Actel space-qualified RTAX-S and Aeroflex radiation-hardened UT6325 FPGAs, respectively.

Both the radiation-hardened and radiation-tolerant versions of the SL80RX051 are packaged in a 208-pin, CQFP package. Power supply requirements for the SL80RT051-AX001 are 1.5V and 3.3V for the core and I/Os, respectively, while the SL80RH051-AF001 core and IO supply voltages are 2.5V and 3.3V, respectively. At its maximum operational frequency of 28MHz, the SL80RT051-AX001 consumes about 280mW and can execute instructions at a rate of up to 7MIPS. The SL80RH051-AF001 has a maximum operation frequency of 16MHz at about 350mW and an instruction execution rate of up to 4MIPS.

Engineered specifically for the harsh environments of space and with applications developers in mind, the MCUs offer features not found on any other microcontroller, according to the company. These features include 256 bytes of Triple Module Redundancy (TMR) internal data RAM, 1,536 bytes of on-chip, TMR extended data (XDATA) RAM, memory soft-error detection and correction capability, quad pulse-width modulator (PWM) modules that can operate in stochastic DAC output mode, and Silicon Laude's proprietary Hardware Monitor and Data eXchange (HMDXTM) technology for real-time monitoring and debugging via an IEEE 1149.1 compatible test port.

To achieve direct compatibility with Honeywell's synchronous, 16-bit MRAM, as well as traditional asynchronous, 8-bit EEPROMs and SRAMs, the basic 8051 model was re-architected to include a 16-bit, synchronous/asynchronous external interface, selectable with an external Mode pin. When tied high, the microcontroller operates in synchronous MRAM mode. Tying the Mode pin low configures the device for operation with traditional EEPROMs and SRAMs.

Fundamentally a single-clock, pipelined architecture at the CPU core level, a 4x clock provides the timing necessary to achieve synchronous operation with the MRAM device as well as the high frequencies necessary to take advantage of the PWMs stochastic DAC output mode.

Having the ability to generate precision voltages without the use of external DACs can prove very advantageous in applications that are power, mass, and board space constrained, as the only external components that the stochastic D/A converters require for generating precision 8bit voltages are a 1 kiloohm series resistor terminated to a 2.2µF capacitor to ground.

Target applications for the SL80RX051 include general instrumentation and control, launch vehicle vibration monitoring, Tunable Diode Laser (TDL) spectrometers, and general data acquisition functions. Because of the MRAM's non-volatile storage capability, the MRAM/SL80RX051 combination is ideal for applications that need to collect and store data periodically, with later, less frequent uploads. Another advantage to the MRAM approach is that programs can be easily updated due to the fact that data and programs can be written to the MRAM like ordinary SRAM, but retained like an EEPROM when powered down. To prevent unintended writes to program memory, the SL80RX051 includes a write protection security lock that can be deactivated with a unique, three-byte code and enable sequence, similar to an ordinary flash memory.

Fully instruction-set-compatible with the MCS8051 MCU, the devices are fully supported by the Keil Software 8051 C compiler and uVision 2 IDE as well as Domain Technologies BoxView real-time, high-level language debugger and USB-JTAG debug pod. On-chip hardware monitor and data exchange debugging functions include unlimited software breakpoints, single-steps, program and data memory downloads, and on-the-fly register/memory examination and editing.

With Silicon Laude's proprietary Hardware Monitor and Data exchange (HMDXTM), applications developers are able to monitor and exchange data between host computer and target board on-the-fly, and in real-time, without first having to breakpoint or otherwise halt the microcontroller. When used with Domain Technologies BoxView real-time debugger, a data window into the device can be opened and its contents monitored and/or data-exchanged in real-time. This capability is especially useful for tweaking constants and/or variables in program/data memory, or simply watching a sine or arbitrary waveform modulate in real-time when the window is opened in graphic animation mode. Because all data and program transfers are done in hardware, no monitor software routines are required on the target side to support HMDX.

Special commercial grade (non-radiation tested) emulator versions of the SL80RX051 are available for evaluation, prototyping, and software development. These emulator versions feature an extended debugging capability that includes event counters, triggers, and a 144-channel by 128-sample deep real-time trace buffer that traces a 32-bit time-stamp, program counter, accumulator, B register, PSW, DP, SP, and internal data pointers and corresponding data movements.

Commercial grade, emulator versions of either device are priced at $3,000 each in single-unit quantities and are shipped within 10 days of receipt of order. The SL80RT051-AX001 (B-flow) and SL80RH051-AF001 (QML-Q classification) are priced at $8,950 and $8,000 each, respectively, in 100-unit quantities with delivery within six weeks of order.

- Marty Gold


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