Microchip Technology Inc. recently released a dual-core digital signal controller (DSC) designed to simplify product development while strengthening security and increasing the ease of integration. The dsPIC33CH is a DSC with two embedded cores, each to function as a master and a slave, respectively, thereby eliminating the need for multiple DSC chips. This minimizes the system-level debugging time. The dual-core design allows for multiple teams to develop codes independently for various processes. The DSC chip will integrate all of the digital functions into one chip.
The dsPIC33CH contains an internal oscillator and programmable PLLs and oscillator clock sources. Its core contains five sets of interrupted context selected registers and accumulators, which allows for faster interrupt response and has a fast six-cycle divide. The master and slave chips have 90-MIPS and 100-MIPS operation, respectively, and have independent peripherals. It comes in eight variations to allow for flexibility in design ranging from 28 pins to 80 pins and is available in packages as small as 5 x 5mm. The dsPIC33CH chip has a memory that ranges from 64 KB to 128 KB of flash.
The Microchip website offers a video with a sample demo of the DSC controlling a motor. In the video, Microchip’s Tom Spohrer shows us how the two processors work independently and communicate with one another. The motor is adjusted to a speed via a potentiometer connected to the master board. The master board can then send this requested speed to the slave board via a core-to-core interface wherein the slave then handles the computations of the number of windings needed to achieve target speed.
The demo also shows that the master board can be reset while the DSC is running without affecting the motor speed of other functions. While this is happening, the slave board’s OLED also displays that the master board is being reset and continuously provides a reading of the activity of both boards. The chip also allows for low-power modes, sleep and idle, to conserve energy when not in use.
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