STMicroelectronics’ advanced wireless MCU to serve smart grid benefits to energy-conscious users

March 23, 2012

Max The Magnificent-March 23, 2012

The folks at STMicroelectronics have begun advanced sampling of their newest single-chip wireless microcontroller featured for the next-generation of smart grid standards. The new microcontroller is aimed at reducing power outages and carbon emissions while also supporting future lifestyle choices including plug-in rechargeable electric vehicles.

The STM32W microcontroller, is among the first IEEE802.15.4 certified platforms that will support the new ZigBee Smart Energy Profile version 2.0 (SEP 2.0), which defines smart grid scenarios for a “greener” world.  The use of the latest Internet Protocol (IPv6)-based Stack (ZigBeeIP) extends interoperability between different manufacturers and their physical-layer implementations.. Among many other SEP 2.0 advances, the STM32W includes support for pre-pay services, load response, and energy-demand management; the microcontroller and its features enable energy conscious homes and buildings.

Smart grid products, comprising interconnected equipment such as appliances, energy meters and infrastructure monitors featuring microcontrollers like the STM32W, are conceived to reduce peak loads, improve network stability, encourage lower consumption and better manage a wider variety of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. The US Department of Energy reported that smart grid applications could help reduce carbon emissions from the US utility industry by as much as 12 percent; equivalent to closing 66 average coal-fired generating plants.

ST’s STM32W enables development of SEP 2.0-compliant smart grid applications with its increased memory capacity of up to 256Kbytes and high code density, made possible by the ARM Cortex-M3 processor core. In addition to the certified IEEE 802.15.4 radio implemented on-chip, other functions such as two 16-bit timers, an encryption accelerator and 12-bit ADC are also valuable for designers creating cost-effective autonomous wireless sensors and control solutions.

Developers choosing the STM32W as the basis for new wireless products will also benefit from the device’s close links with other STM32 microcontrollers. Built from the STM32 DNA, the STM32W offers the same ARM Cortex-M3 processor core, and benefits from compatibility with the large family of STM32 devices. Another consequence of the STM32 DNA is the STM32W is also supported by familiar STM32 development tools. A large and active STM32 developer community is accessible online, providing support, expertise and third-party tools as a further aid to development.

Major features of the STM32W
  • Exceptional IEEE 802.15.4 radio performance
  • ARM Cortex-M3 advanced power-management features
  • Competitive price across the full STM32W family range
  • Wide memory footprint range delivers best fit for a variety of application requirements
  • Extensive support (including license-free IEEE802.15.4 protocol stacks and libraries; also three complementary development kits)
  • True single-chip solution

The STM32W is sampling now to lead customers, and is scheduled for introduction at resale price from $2.05 for 64 Kbyte Flash and $2.91 for 256 Kbyte Flash, in quantities of 1000 units. All variants will be available in a 48-pin QFN48 package, with a 40-pin QFN40 option also offered for lower-density versions.

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