Cypress launches low-power, mixed-signal array for portable control

Lynnwood, WA—Cypress MicroSystems Inc. announced Aug. 12 what it reports are the industry's lowest-power, system-aware, field-programmable system-on-chip (PSoC) devices for high-volume, embedded-control functions in portable, flash-based applications, including remote sensors, handheld instruments and portable consumer electronics.


Lynnwood, WA— Cypress MicroSystems Inc. announced Aug. 12 what it reports are the industry's lowest-power, system-aware, field-programmable system-on-chip (PSoC) devices for high-volume, embedded-control functions in portable, flash-based applications, including remote sensors, handheld instruments and portable consumer electronics. The firm’s PSoC CY8C26x mixed-signal arrays draw just 3 uA in sleep mode with all power supervisory functions turned on, for a total power consumption of 10 uW. Cypress Microsystems is a subsidiary of Cypress Semiconductor Corp.

While PSoC CY8C26x’s 3-uA sleep mode and 10-uW total power consumption might at first seem to be more than another controller that claims a sleep current of only 0.1 uA, Cypress reports that this second controller actually draws 12 uA with its supervisory functions turned on, and has a total power consumption of 36 uW. A third controller claims a sleep current of 0.5 uA, but it draws 61 uA with its supervisory functions turned on, and it consumes 152 uW. This is 50 times what hat PSoC requires in the same application. Cypress reports that this sort of ''specmanship'' makes it difficult for designers to choose an embedded controller that will provide the results they need in their designs.

''Most manufacturers of embedded microcontrollers specify 'sleep mode' with all functions turned off,'' says John McDonald, Cyrpress' marketing VP. ''In the case of portable, flash-based applications, this is totally misleading. The controller must be aware of the environment in order not to corrupt the code and data stored in flash memory. When you add critical power supervisory functions to sleep current, PSoC has the lowest sleep-power consumption in the industry, making it ideal for portable, embedded control applications.''

PSoC's sleep-mode specification includes operation of all power supervisory functions, including power-on reset (POR), which ensures that the part only starts to operate when power is within operating limits; brown-out detection (BOD), which insures that the part shuts down safely when power is not within preset limits; low-voltage detection (LVD), which alerts the processor that power is failing; sleep timer, which wakes the part periodically to perform time-critical functions; and watchdog timer (WDT), which resets the processor if it is not properly executing code. All of these functions are required in flash-based embedded designs in order to avoid corrupting code or data stored in the flash memory in the event of a power failure.

Cypress’ PSoC devices also contain more than 100 reconfigurable analog and digital library components created from 12 fundamental analog and eight digital blocks. As true systems on a chip, PSoC CY8C27x devices include a 24 MHz 8-bit microcontroller unit (MCU); 16 kbytes of flash memory; 256 bytes of SRAM; an 8x8 multiplier with 32-bit accumulator; power and sleep monitoring circuits; and a precision real-time clock. PSoC devices are dynamically reconfigurable, which enables designers to create new system functions on-the-fly. Being able to reuse the same silicon for different functions on different clock cycles allows designers to achieve more than 120% utilization of the die in many cases.

To further shorten design cycles, the PSoC family includes pre-programmed, specialized versions for lighting, energy, motor control, communications, automotive and battery applications. Each family member comes with a reference design and application notes to speed application development.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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