how to choose a 32bit microcontroller that meets emerging ...

russianharmoniousElectronics - Devices

Nov 2, 2013 (3 years and 7 months ago)



High connectivity: how to choose a 32bit microcontroller that
meets emerging communication needs

ARM® Cortex™-M processors have changed the way microcontroller manufacturers
conceive new products, placing greater emphasis on the performance and capabilities of
peripherals. Roland Gehrmann, Marketing Manager for Consumer and Industrial IC
Marketing, Toshiba Electronics Europe GmbH, discusses how versatile connectivity has
become a key demand among embedded developers.

The ARM® Cortex™-M embedded processor architecture emerged as a response to
demands within the embedded space for improved performance, energy efficiency and ease
of use. Few would deny that it has met these requirements. ARM has issued more than 120
Cortex-M licenses to semiconductor manufacturers, and over 350 Cortex-M3 microcontroller
variants are now in the market.

In terms of performance, the 32-bit Cortex-M core is highly energy efficient and has a high-
density instruction set that allows smaller code leading to reduced silicon costs. This enables
licensees to position their devices against traditional 16-bit and even some 8-bit
architectures, as well as other 32-bit microcontrollers, while offering more DMIPS per MHz to
support richer end-user features at lower power consumption. Increased code density also
reduces demand for system memory, helping developers reduce solution size and cost.

Since Cortex-M cores are used in a large number of microcontrollers from various
manufacturers, developers can also benefit from greater freedom to choose the best device
for a given application without being locked into a proprietary architecture. This is a new
market dynamic that is moving microcontroller vendors to distinguish their products against
those of competitors by enhancing the performance and capabilities of peripherals such as
analogue functions and connectivity.

Connectivity Plus
Important market trends present numerous opportunities for microcontrollers combining
high-performance processing with rich peripheral features. These include connected-home
and smart-home applications, tele-health, automotive networking, low-cost industrial
automation, and the Internet of things comprising low-power connected nodes incorporating
sense or control capabilities.

Equipment such as portable medical monitors, game terminals or GPS navigation devices
are target applications for cost-effective microcontrollers offering versatile USB connectivity
with support for Device, Host or On The Go (OTG) functionality. On the other hand,
applications such as industrial automation will drive demands for new generations of devices
combining Ethernet or CAN connectivity with functions such as multi-channel timers or PWM
blocks for motor control. Sensor networking in industrial or environmental monitoring
applications can be served by low-power Cortex-M devices combining Ethernet or serial
connectivity with precision analogue to digital converters.

Gateway devices are another class of microcontrollers combining the power of the 32-bit
ARM Cortex-M3 processor with rich connectivity supporting a combination of USB, Ethernet
10/100 and CAN connectivity.

Networks such as CAN, and also LIN, are increasingly sharing space with consumer
connections such as USB and DVI in connected-car applications. Consolidating such
connectivity in the vehicle head unit enables display of advanced driver assistance data such
as the feed from rear-view cameras, while also allowing users to connect devices such as
mobiles, game terminals and DVD players into the vehicle network. Looking further forward,
a wide variety of in-car systems ranging from body electronics to infotainment could demand
microcontrollers combining high-performance processing and peripherals with support for
Automotive Ethernet connectivity.

Emerging Microcontroller Generation
Among the leading Cortex-M3 licensees, Toshiba has used this advanced core in its
TMPM36x family of microcontrollers. The majority of family members provide plentiful I/O
interfaces supporting standards that are widely used in sectors such as industrial, consumer
and automotive.

Within the family of microcontrollers, the TMPM366 targets applications such as industrial
control and office automation. Its rich communication peripherals include single-channel
USB-Device controller, a 2-channel serial bus interface that can be configured for S or
synchronous-mode communication, a 3-channel synchronous serial interface (SSP), a 2-
channel general-purpose serial interface supporting UART or synchronous modes, and a
single-channel UART supporting UART and IrDA 1.0. These interfaces are implemented
alongside monitoring and control peripherals such as a 12-channel, 12-bit ADC capable of
1µs conversion time, a 16-bit timer and a watchdog timer.

Other devices in the family, such as the TMPM361 and TMPM363, target, embedded
applications such as office equipment and industrial control systems where minimum power
consumption and component count and high levels of connectivity are key design criteria.
Both have a 5-channel general-purpose Serial I/O (SIO) and 3-channel Serial Bus Interface
(SBI). Two similar devices, the TMPM362 and TMPM364, have 12 channels and five
channels respectively. A third SBI channel on both the TMPM361 and TMPM363 can be
configured for I
C, while CAN and USB interfaces are built into the TMPM363 and

All variants have a synchronous serial bus interface (SSP) that supports SPI, SSI and
Microwire formats. Peripherals partnering these interfaces include a 10-bit ADC, a 16-bit
timer and a watchdog timer. In addition, a Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) unit and a
remote control signal pre-processor (RMC) speed up completion of designs featuring remote
control functionality.

Another variant, the TMPM369 shown in figure 1, implements USB Device/Host, CAN2.0B
and 10/100 Ethernet for embedded applications. Bringing these interfaces together in one
device delivers a powerful platform for industrial networking applications.


Figure 1 – TMPM369 targets network-gateway opportunities

Standard peripherals also on-chip include a 12-bit ADC, 10-bit DAC, 16-bit timers and
support for multiple interrupt sources. With the advanced performance of the Cortex-M3,
developers can also host features such as motor controls, user-interface control and display
interfacing on the MCU, in equipment as diverse as domestic appliances, modules for smart
buildings, patient monitors, retail technology and industrial automation. Furthermore, the
incorporation of a Multi Purpose Timer that combines three-phase PWM control with an ADC
trigger and a protection circuit is particularly relevant in motor control applications.

Upgrading the Development Toolchain
To speed up completion of next-generation embedded designs supporting multiple interfaces
and powerful application-level features, new generations of development tools such as IAR,
Keil and Atollic TrueSTUDIO/TX V2.0 are also emerging.

The success of the ARM Cortex-M philosophy, among semiconductor vendors as well as the
embedded developer community, is driving rapid improvements in microcontroller peripheral
performance and connectivity. Developers can take advantage of these improvements, as
well as the inherent advantages of the Cortex core in terms of energy efficiency,
performance per MHz, memory footprint and code compatibility, to create next-generation
products offering unprecedented capabilities and features.


For more product information visit
or our Toshiba
Electronics Europe's web site at

Contact details:
Toshiba Electronics Europe,
Hansaallee 181, D-40549 Düsseldorf, Germany
Tel: +49 (0) 211 5296 0 Fax: +49 (0) 211 5296 792197

E-mail: MAC/IC:

About Toshiba
Toshiba Electronics Europe (TEE) is the European electronic components business of Toshiba Corporation,
which is ranked among the world’s largest semiconductor vendors. TEE offers one of the industry's broadest IC
and discrete product lines including high-end memory, microcontrollers, ASICs, ASSPs and display products for
automotive, multimedia, industrial, telecoms and networking applications. The company also has a wide range of
power semiconductor solutions as well as storage products like HDDs, SSDs, SD Cards and USB sticks.
TEE was formed in 1973 in Neuss, Germany, providing design, manufacturing, marketing and sales and now has
headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany, with subsidiaries in France, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
TEE employs approximately 300 people in Europe. Company president is Mr. Takashi Nagasawa.

Toshiba Corporation is a world-leading diversified manufacturer, solutions provider and marketer of advanced
electronic and electrical products and systems. Toshiba Group brings innovation and imagination to a wide range
of businesses: digital products, including LCD TVs, notebook PCs, retail solutions and MFPs; electronic devices,
including semiconductors, storage products and materials; industrial and social infrastructure systems, including
power generation systems, smart community solutions, medical systems and escalators & elevators; and home
appliances. Toshiba was founded in 1875, and today operates a global network of more than 550 consolidated
companies, with 202,000 employees worldwide and annual sales surpassing US$74 billion.

For more company information visit Toshiba's web site at