The new controllers—the TMS320F2801, TMS320F2806, and TMS320F2808—are said to combine the real-time performance of the company’s digital signal processors with the peripheral integration, C-language efficiency, and ease of use of a microcontroller (MCU).
According to Chris Clearman, C2000 Applications for Houston, TX, U.S.-based Texas Instruments (TI), the main benefit the new controllers offer appliance engineers is high performance at a reasonable cost. “We are able to offer 100 MIPS of true 32-bit single cycle MAC performance on a single chip that includes field-reprogrammable flash memory, 16 channels of 12-bit 6.25 MSPS A/D conversion, up to 8 PWM channels, and various communication interfaces,” he tells APPLIANCE. “A 32-bit implementation is a benefit for control systems because it reduces errors from rounding, quantization, truncation, and over and underflow.”
Mr. Clearman says designing all of these functions into a cost-effective controller required detailed design work. “The biggest challenge in the design of high-performance digital signal controllers such as the F2801 is the blending of several different technologies into one single device,” he confirms. “It can be a challenge to include a leading-edge 0.18u digital process with a highly accurate, high-speed analog circuit for the ADC, as well as integrating the technology needed for on-chip reprogrammable flash memory.”
The answer was using TI’s previous experience in semiconductors. Mr. Clearman says the performance capabilities of the F2801 were first displayed in the company’s 150 MIPS TMS320F2812 controller, which was released for production at the end of 2003. TI used the exact same core to ensure code compatibility and re-synthesized the controller to allow for a maximum of 100-MHz operation. “We then enhanced many of the peripherals based on customer feedback,” he adds. “This allowed us to offer the ideal performance and integration level for many of our customers at about 1/3 the price of the F2812.”
The end result is an innovative solution that Mr. Clearman says is benefiting many 8-, 16-, and 32-bit MCU customers. “The performance capabilities on a device with this type of integration and at this price point have never been seen before,” he says. “We are seeing customers able to now harness the performance to create innovative motion control and power conversion products that are smaller, run quieter, use less energy, and last longer.”