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Use an MCU to declutter designs; Wireless charging gets a boost

November 14, 2017

embedded.com.staff-November 14, 2017

Sensing applications often require multiple devices to support relatively simple but critical functionality. Texas Instruments says that instead of cluttering up designs with different devices, designers can use a member of its low-cost MSP430 MCU family to replace as many as 25 different ICs. Integrated mixed-signal peripherals in these MCUs support a wide range of sensing requirements. In fact, the newest MSP430 family members, the MSP430FR2000 and MSP430FR2100 MCUs, offer integrated ferroelectric RAM (FRAM) memory to even handle basic requirements for non-volatile storage to preserve data, configuration, or state. TI even provides an e-book that describes specific examples of functional replacement.

To build a timestamped voltage monitor, for example, developers can use a TI MSP430FR2000 MCU to replace a dedicated circuit (Figure 1). Here, developers connect the supply voltage to be monitored through a simple resistor network to the MCU comparator's positive input pins and add an external 32768-Hz crystal as the clock source. By connecting the MCU's digital-to-analog converter (DAC) output to the comparator's negative input, developer's can use a built-in firmware macro to set a comparator threshold voltage. When the comparator senses that the monitored voltage has fallen below the threshold value, it generates an interrupt. The corresponding interrupt service routine needs only record the measured value and timestamp in its non-voltage storage to record the power loss event.

Figure 1. Developers can use an FRAM-based MCU and few additional components to implement a timestamped power monitor. (Source: Texas Instruments)

For more about TI's approach, read the details on our sister site, Electronic Products.


Separately, STMicroelectronics announced its STWBC-EP -- ST's latest digital controller for wireless battery charger (WBC) transmitters supporting Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) 1.2 certified applications up to 15 W. The device integrates a full set of capabilities required to control power transfer to WPC-compliant receivers. Along with a full set of peripherals, the STWBC-EP integrates functionality required for active object detection and enhanced foreign object detection (FOD) with accurate Q-factor measurement (Figure 2). Read more about the STWBC-EP on Embedded's sister site, Power Electronics News.

Figure 2. ST's STWBC-EP integrates a full complement of peripherals required for accurate power transfer to WPC-compliant receivers. (Source: STMicroelectronics)

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