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At the recent Embedded World Show 2011 in Nuremberg, Infineon Technologies unveiled a range of real-time signal controllers designed to address low-end and ultra-low-end industrial applications.

The new XE16xL and XE16xU signal controllers provide 16-bit performance at an 8-bit cost, supporting the design of cost-effective electric drive systems for energy efficiency and mass-market applications, according to the company.

With these products, Infineon supports industrial customers seeking to offer solutions over a wide performance and cost range using a common microcontroller platform.

Featuring excellent real-time performance, high computing power and optimised peripherals, the new 16-bit devices further broaden the application bandwidth of the XE166 16-bit microcontroller range, reaching from low cost to high performance with the scalable real-time signal controllers.

According to the company, many manufacturers of electric drives are adding variable-speed systems to product portfolios in response to the growing demand for improved energy efficiency.

This applies to both low-cost consumer market producers and providers in the high-end segment that are looking to apply technological expertise in solutions for the low-end segment with correspondingly high volumes.

With its new XE16xL and XE16xU real-time signal controllers, Infineon is addressing these needs, while the customers will benefit from hardware and software reuse with significant cost savings.

The new microcontroller series is suitable for cost-efficient motor control units (such as three-phase BLDC motors), which, to date, have mostly been addressed by high-end 8-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) or low-end digital signal processors (DSPs).

Typical applications include solar inverters, low-end drives, intelligent sensors (factory and building automation), fitness equipment, home appliances and low-cost blowers and fans.

Performance wise, the new devices extend Infineon’s 8-bit microcontroller range thanks to a MAC unit for DSP operations, accompanied by a peripheral set.

Key features of the XE16xU and XE16xL derivates include a high DSP performance, a fast 12-bit analogue-to-digital converter with up to 19 channels and a conversion time below 1us and an efficient capture/compare unit (CCU6) to drive any industrial three-phase motor.

The new low-end series from the XE166 range delivers a computing power of up to 80MIPS, 32-160Kb embedded flash, up to 12KBb RAM and up to four universal serial interface channels (USICs) that can be configured as UART, LIN, SPI, IIC or IIS.

The package offering comprises versions with 38, 48 and 64 pins.

All members of the XE16xU and XE16xL series are opcode and peripheral compatible and thus permit simple scalability and the reuse of existing software.

The main differences between the XE16xL (L for low-end) and XE16xU (U for ultra-low-end) series are the maximum flash capacity (160Kb vs 64Kb), the 12-bit analogue-to-digital converter (up to 19 channels vs 10 channels), pulse-width-modulation units (two vs one) and USICs (up to four vs two).

The XE16xL MCUs each feature a high-speed Multican module with two nodes and 32 message objects.

The new XE166 devices are supported by development tools and software solutions, including evaluation boards and application kits, debuggers, compilers and corresponding documentation.

In order to provide an easy start for new customers, Infineon puts a specific focus on free development tools and related software.

A free complete tool chain including a C compiler, a debugger and the Eclipse-based, easy-to-use Integrated Development Environment (IDE) has been developed in collaboration with Altium.

Peripheral configuration software and low-level drivers can be created using the Digital Application Virtual Engineer (Dave).

With the Dave drive auto-code generator, it is possible to generate complex motor control code automatically and quickly.

In conjunction with customisable application kits, it is possible, for example, to generate the code for sensor-less field-oriented control of a PMSM motor in just 15 minutes.

Engineering samples of the new XE166xU and XE166xL series are available now, with volume production scheduled for the third quarter of 2011.

The XE160FU (TSSOP-38), the XE161FU (QFN-48), the XE161FL (QFN-48) and the XE162FL (QFP-64) are specified for an ambient temperature of -40C to 125C.

Prices are planned to start below EUR1 (GBP0.85) for volume orders.

A complete tool chain to support the XE166 16-bit MCU range is available from Infineon and its partners.

Kits are also available from Infineon distribution partners EBV, Arrow and Rutronik.

Infineon Technologies

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