Microcontrollers feature independent 1.8-V IO supply rail to extend battery life

December 07, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
Offering total system power savings for co-processor designs, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) has unveiled the MSP430F521x/F522x microcontroller family.

The microcontrollers support a main supply rail (1.8 V – 3.6 V) and I/O supply rail (1.8 V +/-10%), eliminating the need for level translators and offering system-level advantages such as reduced system cost and increased flexibility. Featuring this new dual voltage rail capability, the F521x/F522x microcontrollers can operate as an ultra-low-power co-processor to higher power/performance devices such as TI’s OMAP processor and Sitara platforms.

The MSP430 microcontrollers can be used to offload functions such as sensor hub, keyboard control, battery/power management, capacitive touch, haptics and proximity detection with lower power consumption compared to running these within an application processor. With a fast wake-up time at 3.5 µs and as little as 1.4 µA power consumption in standby mode, the F521x/F522x microcontrollers can extend battery life from hours to days.

TI also offers a F521x/F522x-based 9-axis sensor fusion solution that works with a wide range of popular sensors in the market, providing greater flexibility to developers and broadening the devices’ reach in battery-operated mobile computing and health and fitness applications. Additionally, F521/F22x devices add support of the latest Windows 8 operating system human interface device (HID) over I2C protocol. Using this protocol offers significant power savings advantages compared to HID over USB in applications like sensor hub and keyboard control in tablets, ultrabooks and other Windows 8-based products.

MSP430F521x/F522x microcontrollers are compatible with MSP430Ware software so developers can access code examples to simplify development and speed time to market. Additionally, F521x/F522x microcontrollers are code compatible with all MSP430 devices for broader scalability across TI’s MSP portfolio. Application notes are also available online for a 9-axis sensor fusion algorithm as well as keyboard controller with HID over USB. For the HID over I2C solution, please contact your local TI sales associate for more information.

Availability and Pricing

MSP430F521x/F522x microcontrollers are priced from $2.05 for 1K units and samples are immediately available. The MSP-TS430RGC64C target socket is now available for $99. The