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A8 MCUs deliver power dissipation below 7mW

Posted: 28 Nov 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:A8 microprocessors  communication protocols  power dissipation 

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI) unleashes Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 microprocessors claimed as first single-chip solutions offering integrated industrial communication protocols to accelerate industrial designs.

The Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 microprocessors claim to deliver power dissipation levels below 7mW, along with two industrial automation hardware development tools, complete software and analogue signal chain complement to offer a total industrial automation system solution. Using this solution, developers can get to market faster with industrial automation designs, including input/output (I/O) devices, human machine interfaces (HMIs) and programmable logic controllers (PLCs).

The AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 microprocessors include a programmable real-time unit (PRU) on-chip interface to enable real-time industrial communications capability (master and slave) to support popular protocols, such as EtherCAT, Ethernet/IP, PROFIBUS, PROFINET, POWERLINK and SERCOS III. This unique PRU + ARM architecture in the AM335x ARM microprocessors claims to eliminate the need for an external ASIC or FPGA to reduce system complexity and save on bill of materials (BOM) costs by more than 30 per cent. The AM335x ARM microprocessors also include other key, on-chip industrial peripherals—CAN, ADC, USB + PHY and two-port Gigabit Ethernet with IEEE1588—to enable fast network connectivity and rapid data throughput, as well as connection to sensors, actuators and motor control.

Designers can take advantage of the pin-to-pin and software compatibility of the AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 microprocessors and design several end equipments with the devices that aim to best fit their industrial automation need.

Specifically targeted to enable sensors, actuators, motor drives, communications modules and gateways needing industrial slave communications, the AM3356 and AM3357 ARM microprocessors offer a low-performance 275MHz solution. These two devices do not require an external memory or an operating system making the system solution simple and compact.

Offering high performance of up to 720MHz, the AM3356 and AM3357 ARM microprocessors are said to be well suited for high-performance PLC applications that need to control various I/O devices in an automation system such as electric motors, pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders, magnetic relays solenoids and more; and Said to be ideal for designing HMI products, the AM3354, AM3358 and AM3359 ARM microprocessors offer an on-chip 3D graphics accelerator, which combined with the integrated touch screen controller, enables rich and intuitive graphical user touch screen interfaces. For HMI applications not requiring integrated industrial communications, the AM3354 and AM3352 and ARM microprocessors offer lower cost options.

AM3359 Industrial development kit (IDK) from TI is an extensive development tool claiming to enable customers to evaluate all popular industrial communications and motor control applications. The AM3359 IDK has many different evaluation features such as 512MB of DDR2 memory, dual motor drivers, digital I/O, a C2000 Piccolo microcontroller with integrated analogue to digital converters, a Stellaris ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller, USB, Ethernet, SPI, I2C and much more. The AM3359 IDK is Rs.0.40 lakh ($895) and available for order today.

AM3359 Industrial communications engine (ICE) from TI is a pocket-sized, cost-optimised and form-factor optimised hardware tool for I/O devices and sensors needing to add industrial communications quickly and easily. The AM3359 ICE is Rs.4,439.46 ($99) and available for order today.

Further easing development is a software development kit (SDK) with free, production-ready, certified software for industrial automation, supporting Linux, Android and Windows Embedded Compact 7 for high-end applications. For low-end applications, the SDK contains the ultra-compact, real-time SYS/BIOS operating system. The SDK also includes support for popular industrial communications protocols, industrial automation design demos, applications notes and videos.

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