San Jose, Ca. – In a move that will no doubt bring crowds of embedded engineers to their booth (#316) at the Embedded Systems Conference here, Atmel Corp. is announcing that it has a new family of extremely low voltage tinyAVR 8-bit MCUs.
Not only can they operate for long periods from a single AA, AAA or coin cell battery but that they will be selling for $1.00 per MCUs (in 10k quantities).
Designed for use in portable battery powered consumer applications like phone accessories, remote controls, sporting goods and personal care products, Jukka Eskelinen Director, tinyAVR Product Marketing, said the first member of this new family, the tiny43U, has 4-Kbytes of Flash memory and 64 bytes of In-System programmable EEPROM.
Powered by a single regular AA, AAA or cell battery, the new MCU incorporates circuitry that gets around a serious problem in such devices ” drawing a voltage of up to 1.8V when fully charged, when energy is drawn from the battery, the battery voltage drops as the battery discharges, down to 0.7V where there is hardly any energy at all left in the battery.
To deal with this issue, said Eskelinen, the ATtiny43U has an on-chip boost regulator that works from battery voltages between 0.7 and 1.8V. The regulator converts the low battery voltage up to 3V, sufficiently high to effectively operate the AVR MCU, its peripherals and I/Os.
“The boost regulator can deliver enough current to the I/O pins to directly drive LEDs and electric motors,” he said.
It incorporates a 10-bit ADC, two 8-bit timer counters with PWM outputs, SPI, I2C interface, internal temperature sensor, and has up to 8 MIPS throughput running from a 0.7V battery.
The ATtiny43U features an internal regulator that removes the need for multiple batteries or complex external boost regulators, this reduces the physical size, time to market, and bill of material for battery powered applications, he said.
Like all the other AVR microcontrollers, the ATtiny43U features an on-chip debug system for easy, fast, and robust development. All tinyAVR microcontrollers use the standard AVR microcontroller development tools. The AVR Studio'AVR integrated development environment is available free of charge on Atmel's website.