June 2001
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A new family of MSP430 ultra-low power mixed-signal microcontrollers (MCU) from Texas Instruments (TI) Incorporated is said to be the first in the industry to combine a high-performance 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC), analog comparator, hardware multiplier, two serial ports, two 16-bit pulse-width modulation (PWM) timers, and up to 60 K bytes of ultra-low power flash memory.

The new MSP430F14x/13x MCUs include a high-performance 12-bit ADC with eight external channels, a 16-word programmable buffer with auto-scan, on-chip voltage references, an integrated temperature sensor, low-battery detect, and a sustained conversion speed of up to 200 KSPS (kilo-samples-per-second). The auto-scan feature allows the ADC to run independent of the CPU, automatically storing conversion data in a programmable buffer. The CPU overhead is greatly reduced by not having to fetch each individual conversion result. Instead, the CPU is free for additional digital signal processing or to be placed in low-power modes.

The MSP430F14x/13x with ultra-low power flash consumes less power in stand-by mode than typical batteries dissipate on the shelf, according to the company. With the ability to burst from stand-by to full active mode in less than 6uS, battery life is extended since time is not wasted during a start-up condition. When operational, the device consumes 250 µA per MIP at 2.2 V.

All MSP430 derivatives incorporate the same 16-bit RISC CPU for efficient processing when active. Such low-power and system efficiency reportedly open the door for new battery-powered applications, such as energy meters, personal medical devices, and remote security systems. All members of the MSP430 family also include a flexible digitally controlled clock generation system that allows operation without external components, a single watch crystal, a single high-speed crystal, or two external crystals. The MSP430F14x/13x have an operating range of 1.8-3.6 V and operate up to 8-MIPs.

Evaluation of all members of the MSP430F14x/13x families is possible with the MSP-FET430P140 flash emulation tool (FET). With the FET, emulation is done on-chip using IEEE 1149.1 JTAG communication. Flash code can be programmed and erased, and full-speed operation and breakpoints are supported. The FET includes two MSP430F149 evaluation chips, target board, simulator, assembler and limited C-compiler. All of the new MSP430F14x/13x devices are pin compatible and come in a 64-pin quad flat pack (QFP) package.

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