Precision mixed-signal microcontroller focuses on portable sensing applications

May 02, 2011 // By Paul Buckley
ON Semiconductor has introduced the first in a new family of mixed-signal microcontrollers for precision measurement and monitoring. Designed for use in portable sensing applications and built with the ARM Cortex-M3 processor, the Q32M210 provides a combination of high precision performance and predictable operation with power efficiency.

Q32M210 is specifically designed for portable sensing applications that demand high precision. The device features dual 16-bit ADCs, a highly accurate voltage reference, triple 10-bit DACs and 32-bit core. The ultra-low-noise ADCs offer true 16-bit performance unlike typical converters where non-linearity and noise can reduce the number of effective bits.   
Predictable operation is essential for many applications including portable medical devices such as patient monitors, wireless ECGs and blood glucose meters, as well as other sensing applications that require improved flash memory reliability. Q32M210 features on-chip power supervision with dedicated brown-out protection circuitry and low battery detection for predictable operation under all battery conditions. Integrated error checking and correction circuitry monitors the on-chip flash memory, detecting and correcting single bit errors and alerting when larger errors are detected.
Operating at less than 400 µA / MHz, Q32M210 is power efficient, helping to extend the battery life of end products. The ultra-low-power sensor interface, flexible clocking architecture, multiple operating modes (active, standby and sleep) and intelligent power-supply monitoring feature make Q32M210 the most power efficient microcontroller in its class.
The integration of a highly configurable analog front-end with programmable 32-bit core and 256 kilobyte (kbyte) of flash memory form a flexible and scalable measurement engine. All critical functions are included on the chip including a real-time clock, power management, a 112-segment LCD interface, on-chip low resistance switches, uncommitted op-amps, a precision voltage reference (< 50 PPM/°C) and an RC oscillator to reduce complexity and external component count - helping designers achieve an overall lower system cost. Housed in a 140-pin TLLGA package, the microcontroller supports an extensive range of data interfaces including UART, dual-SPI/SQI, I2C, I2S and a USB 2.0 full speed interface with integrated PHY.
To simplify development, an evaluation and development kit is available with a hardware board and easy-to-use software including firmware libraries and sample code. The KickStart edition of IAR Embedded Workbench