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MCUs with RF transceiver target remote controls

Posted: 18 Nov 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microcontroller  MCU  Zigbee  RF transceiver 

uPD78F8058 MCU

From NEC comes NEC Electronics three new 16bit All Flash microcontrollers (MCUs) with embedded IEEE802.15.4-compliant 2.4GHz RF transceiver for Zigbee RF4CE, an industry standard for remote control in consumer electronics.

The new MCUs are suitable for RF remote control and claim to provide the lowest level of power consumption in the industry. The three new MCUs come with 56 pins and 8mm x 8mm QFN packages, and part numbers differ according to their flash memory capacity: the uPD78F8056 offers 64KB flash memory, the uPD78F8057 has 96KB and the uPD78F8058 has 128Kbtye.

To support development tasks of the Zigbee RF4CE applications, NEC Electronics also provides a Zigbee RF4CE software development kit (SDK), which includes a Zigbee RF4CE stack library and a three-channel real-time sniffer, capable of simultaneously monitoring packets from the three RF4CE frequency channels, as well as an evaluation board with NEC Electronics' uPD78F8058 MCU.

To align with advanced digital TVs, STBs, Blu-ray disc devices and other audio-visual home entertainment devices, RF remote controls alleviates several shortcomings of IR remote controls, such as unidirectional communication and line-of-sight limitations. The two-way communication in RF4CE remote controls enables advanced home entertainment systems to support sophisticated features. By eliminating line-of-sight problems, AV systems can form networks of their own for command-and-control purpose, thereby enhancing the user's experience. Security features of the RF4CE standard authenticate legitimate devices and protect data exchanges within its network.

To meet market expectations for RF remote control based on Zigbee RF4CE specifications, NEC Electronics developed the ultra low-power MCUs integrated with a low-power IEEE802.15.4-compliant radio transceiver in one package. In addition to the RF4CE application, these MCUs also can be used for 802.14.5 wireless networking.

The new MCUs combine NEC Electronics' ultra-low-power 78K0R/Kx3-L 16bit CPU and the ultra low-power IEEE802.15.4 compliant 2.4GHz RF transceiver with hardware MAC functions, realising the lowest level of power consumption in the industry. These three offer current consumption of 18mA during reception and 19mA during transmission.

With a built-in voltage booster, NEC Electronics' new MCUs with radio connectivity allow applications to program and erase flash EEPROM at 1.8V, offering longer lifetime with two dry batteries while counting frames and storing the non-volatile count values, which are key elements for security.

NEC Electronics' Zigbee RF4CE SDK includes a Zigbee RF4CE library, automatic transmission commands and its interpreter, and a three-channel real-time sniffer that can simultaneously observe packets in the three RF4CE frequency channels. An evaluation kit, which is comprised of an RF module board with an NEC Electronics uPD78F8058 MCU and a flash programming and debugging board, is also available for evaluation and prototyping.

Samples of the new chips are currently available. Mass production is scheduled to begin in the first half of 2010, and is expected to reach a monthly production of 1,200,000 units by 2011. A Zigbee RF4CE SDK and evaluation kit are also available now.

- Paul Buckley
Power Management DesignLine Europe

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