MSP430F2xx microcontrollers from Texas Instruments have double the processing power and consume half the stand-by power of earlier MCUs. The 16-bit Risc MCUs consume just 1 mA in standby mode and switch to a fully synchronized 16-Mips active mode in 1 msec. Applications include battery-powered security systems and portable medical devices.

An integrated ±2.5% on-chip oscillator, pull-up/pull-down resistors, and a greater number of analog inputs cut external component count. Onboard Flash memory (1 to 8 kbyte) uses smaller 64-byte segments that program at speeds to 17 msec/byte at 2.2 Vdc, eliminating the need for external EEPROMs in most systems.

Products designed for harsh environments benefit from a zeropower brownout reset function, a fail-safe clock system, an enhanced watchdog timer, and an improved bootstrap loader (BSL). In the event of a crystal failure, the clock automatically restarts the on-chip oscillator and forces a nonmaskable interrupt. External crystal connections are also filtered to prevent the introduction of noise. The watchdog timer stops software from disabling its clock source, and errant code will force a complete system reset. A hackproof BSL executes a complete memory erase after receiving an incorrect password, further strengthening code security.

Unlike competing MCUs, failsafe functions are available during all modes of operation and with no power penalty. The MSP430F2xx operates from 1.8 to 3.6 Vdc and is fully software compatible with existing MSP430 devices. TI says expect volume production the first half of next year.

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