Highly integrated instrument cluster solution brings multiple functions into one chip

August 28, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Freescale Semiconductor has added an entry-level device family designed primarily for two-wheel and entry-level automotive instrument cluster market to its S12 MagniV mixed-signal microcontroller (MCU) portfolio. The new S12 MagniV S12ZVHY MCU family aims at helping developers to create a comprehensive instrument cluster solution with a single chip, significantly reducing time to market and the overall bill of materials.

The S12ZVHY mixed-signal MCU family integrates extensive analog capability so automotive developers can connect high-voltage signals and power supplies directly to the MCU, helping save board space and reduce system complexity. By designing with the S12ZVHY MCU family, developers also can minimize sourcing from multiple suppliers and improve overall system reliability, Freescale argues. According to the company, S12ZVHY mixed-signal MCU family provides an ideal single-chip solution for the two-gauge automotive cluster market. With their very high degree of integration, these devices enable streamlined design for entry-level instrument cluster applications, where cost and board space are key selection criteria.

The S12 MagniV S12ZVHY portfolio is targeted at instrument cluster applications requiring controller area network (CAN) connectivity, stepper motor gauges and segment LCD or dot-matrix displays. Customers building an efficient instrument cluster solution can benefit from the integration provided by the S12ZVHY MCU platform, including familiar S12 MCU family features such as low power consumption and smart peripherals as well as features such as a CAN module, a built-in voltage regulator, a real-time clock and sound generator. Features unique to the S12ZVHY family include 4K of ECC RAM and stepper stall detection capability.

The S12ZVHY family is an extension of the current S12ZVH family, allowing hardware and software reuse between platforms through pin compatibility and common S12Z cores, peripherals and software. If customers developing on the current S12ZVH platform are looking for fewer features, the S12ZVHY family is ideal, providing further cost optimization and no major design modifications needed. Customers can seamlessly transfer their current S12ZVH development to the S12ZVHY platform, Freescale promises.

Traditionally, automotive electronic designs have required multiple devices: some created with a high-voltage process to connect to the battery and power actuator outputs, as well as microcontrollers created with a low-voltage digital logic process. The S12 MagniV technology, in contrast, uses Freescale's proven, low-leakage fabrication process to integrate 40V analog, non-volatile memory (NVM) and digital logic on a single