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Texas Instruments 4K DLP Chip Should Bring Affordable 4K Projectors to the Home, Office and School

January 14th, 2016 2 comments

4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) is slowly with the price of 4K television going down, 4K media players flooding the market starting at $40, and 4K content appearing online via services like Netflix and over the air with DVB-S2. Thanks to the latest Texas Instruments DLP 0.67″ digital micromirror device (DMD), a cost down version of the 1.38″ DMD used in around 80% of cinemas worldwide, we could start seeing affordable 4K projectors in the second half of 2016.

TI_4K_DLPThe chip includes 4 millions tiny mirrors that quickly switch to generate the ~8 millions pixels required by a 3840×2160 display, and should be found in projectors capable of delivering up to 5,000 lumens. The DLP chip can be used in home theaters, but also in the office and at school for presentations or courses were text needs to be easily readable.

The solutions should delivery 100″+ displays with sharp images and text, as well as good color accuracy. Backlight can be achieved with LEDs, lamps, laser, or laser phosphor. Other details have not been published so far, but you can register to be informed once more infor is released on TI 4K DLP page. The new chip should launch in Spring 2016. In the meantime, you can watch an impressive demo with the device filmed at CES 2016.

Texas Instruments claims it will allow affordable 4K projectors, but did not mention any pricing. For reference, Optoma HD141X, a popular 1080p video projector, currently sells for around $550 on Amazon, so I’m assuming an affordable 4K projector could cost between $1,000 and $2,000, possibly in the higher range at the beginning.

Via ARMDevices.net

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Texas Instruments MSP432 LaunchPad Development Board Sells for $4.32 (Promo)

January 11th, 2016 7 comments

Texas Instruments has started the year by offering a deal on their 32-bit MSP432 LaunchPad Development Kit, dropping the cost from $12.99 to $4.32 for a limited time with coupon code 432@432.

MSP432P401R_LaunchPad

MSP432 Launchpad’s key features:

  • MCU – Texas Instruments MSP432P401R ARM Cortex M4F MCU @ 48 MHz with FPU and DSP, 256KB flash, 64KB RAM
  • Expansion – 40 pin BoosterPack Connector, and support for 20-pin BoosterPacks
  • Misc – 2 buttons and 2 LEDs for user interaction
  • Debugging – Back-channel UART via USB to PC, Onboard XDS-110ET emulator featuring EnergyTrace+ Technology
  • Power – Micro USB connector

The kit includes the board, micro USB cable and a quick start guide. There’s plenty of technical documentation for the board, although for some unknown reasons,  I can’t download any PDF documents from TI website tonight.

MSP432 LaunchPad Discount

MSP432 LaunchPad Discount (Click to Enlarge)

The coupon is still working, but free shipping on TI eStore seems to be a thing of the past, as the total price adds $7 for shipping and handling to the US, and it goes up to $19 to countries in Asia.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

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Texas Instruments Introduces Entry level Sitara AM3351 Cortex-A8 Processor

December 20th, 2015 No comments

Texas Instruments Sitara AM335x processor are designed by industrial applications, and found in develompent board such as BeagleBone Black or BeagleBone Green, and the company has recently launched the new Sitara AM3351 Cortex A8 processor without 3D GPU, no PRU just like AM3352, but they’ve also canned the two CAN interfaces (sorry, I had to) in order to bring the cost lower, while keeping the processor software and pin-to-pin compatible with other AM335x processors available in 13×13 mm package.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

TI Sitara AM3351 CPU clock will also be limited to 300 MHz to 600 MHz with respectively AM3351BZCE30 and AM3351BZCE60 parts. It will only come with one Gigabit Ethernet port instead of up to two ports of other members of the family that are produced in 15x15mm package, and temperature range is limited to 0 to 90 C. Other features remain the same, and the processors will support TI-RTOS, Linux, Android, and Windows Embedded CE like its big brothers.

Texas Instruments Sitara AM3351 processor is available now with pricing starting at $5.70 in 1k quantity. More details can be found in the product page.

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TI SimpleLink CC1310 Wireless MCU Promises 20 Km Range, 20-Year Battery Life on a Coin Cell

December 18th, 2015 8 comments

Some LPWAN standards such as SigFox, LoRa, or nWave allows for transmission of data at low bitrate over several kilometers, and I’ve very recently featured Microchip’s LoRa modules and motes in this blog. So when Texas Instruments sent their December 2015 newsletter entitled Wireless MCU spans 20 km on a coin cell, I decided to have a look, and the company’s CC1310 wireless Cortex-M3+M0 MCU based on a proprietary sub GHz technology also claims to last 20-year on a coin cell for applications such as grid communication infrastructure and heat and water meters.

TI CC1310 MCU Block Diagram

TI CC1310 MCU Block Diagram

SimpleLink CC1310 key features:

  • Microcontroller – ARM Cortex-M3 @ up to 48 MHz with up to 128KB programmable flash, 8KB DRAM for cache/general purpose, 20KB Ultralow Leakage SRAM
  • Sensor Controller – Ultralow power and autonomous; 16-Bit Architecture; 2KB of Ultralow Leakage SRAM for code and data
  • RF core
    • Cortex M0 core with 4KB RAM, and ROM
    • Data rate – 4000 kbps (Max)
    • Receiver Sensitivity – –124 dBm using long-range Mode, –110 dBm at 50 kbps
    • Selectivity: 52 dB; Blocking performance: 90 dB; programmable output power up to +14 dBm
    • Single-ended or differential RF Interface
    • Suitable for systems targeting compliance with ETSI EN 300 220, EN 303 131, EN 303 204 (Europe); FCC CFR47 Part 15 (US); ARIB STD-T108 (Japan)
    • Wireless M-Bus and IEEE 802.15.4g PHY
  • Peripherals
    • All digital peripheral pins can be routed to any GPIO
    • 4x general-purpose timer modules – 8x 16-Bit or 4x 32-Bit Timers, PWM each
    • 12-Bit ADC, 200 ksamples/s, 8-Channel Analog MUX
    • Continuous Time Comparator
    • Ultralow Power Clocked Comparator
    • Programmable Current Source
    • UART, 2× SSI (SPI, MICROWIRE, TI), I2C
    • I2S
    • Real-Time Clock (RTC)
    • AES-128 security module, True Random Number Generator (TRNG)
    • Support for eight capacitive sensing buttons
    • Integrated Temperature Sensor
  • External System
    • On-Chip Internal DC-DC Converter
    • Few External Components
    • Integration with SimpleLink CC1190 range extender
  • Power Supply – 1.8 to 3.8V
  • Power Consumption
    • Active mode – Rx: 5.5 mA; Tx (+10 dBm): 12.9 mA; MCU: 48.5 CoreMark/mA; Sensor Controller @ 24 MHz: 0.4 mA + 8.2 µA/MHz
    • Sensor Controller woken up once per second performing one 12-Bit ADC sampling: 0.85 µA
    • Standby: 0.6 µA (RTC running and RAM and CPU retention)
    • Shutdown: 185 nA (Wakeup on external events)
  • Packages – 7-mm × 7-mm RGZ VQFN48 (30 GPIOs); 5-mm × 5-mm RHB VQFN48 (15 GPIOs); 4-mm × 4-mm RSM VQFN48 (10 GPIOs)
Connected Water Meter Block Diagram

Connected Water Meter Block Diagram

Software and development tools include reference designs for Different RF configurations, packet sniffer PC Software, Sensor Controller Studio, SmartRF Studio, SmartRF Flash Programmer 2, IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM, Code Composer Studio as well as development kits such as SimpleLink sub-1 GHz CC1310 development kit bundle comprised of one  CC1310EMK-7XD-7793 evaluation module kit with  two boards with the wireless MCU and RF layout (779 to 930 MHz) with two antennas, and two SMARTRF06EBK  evaluation board that is the  motherboard for the CC1310 evaluation module, and equipped with an on-board XDS100v3 debugger, LCD, buttons, LEDs, debugger and sensors.

SimpleLink CC1310 Evaluation Module Kit

SimpleLink CC1310 Evaluation Module Kit

TI CC1310 MCU is selling for $2.50 to $3.98 per unit for 1K orders, and the development kit is available for $299 + shipping. More details can be found on Texas Instruments SimpleLink CC1310 and CC1310 development kit product pages.

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$249 TI AM437x Starter Kit for Industrial Design Launched by Element14

October 10th, 2015 1 comment

Element14 has recently launched their “Texas Instruments AM437x Starter Kit” based on Sitara AM4378 Cortex A9 processor, including a board and touch screen LCD, and targeting industrial, HMI (Human Machine Interface) and networking applications.

Texas Instruments AM437x Starter Kit For Industrial Design (Click to Enlarge)

Texas Instruments AM437x Starter Kit For Industrial Design (Click to Enlarge)

Element14 Texas Instruments AM437x Starter Kit specifications:AM437x_Touch_Panel

  • SoC – Texas Instruments Sitara AM4378 ARM Cortex A9 processor @ 1 GHz with PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3L SDRAM (2x 4-Gb Micron chips).
  • Storage – 64MB SPI NOR Flash (MX66L51235FMI), serial EEPROM with board specific data, 1x micro SD slot
  • Display – 4.3″ Capacitive Touch LCD
  • Connectivity – 2x 10/100/1000M Ethernet RJ45 ports (Micrel KSZ9031RN transceivers), support for COM8 form-factor wireless boards via J20 Samtec card edge connector.
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 2x micro USB ports
  • Camera – 2x 12 header for custom-made camera module from TI
  • Audio – TLV320AIC3106 audio codec, 2x audio jacks for headphone out, and Line In
  • Sensors – Accelerometer (STMicro LIS331DLH)
  • Misc – Menu, Home, Back and Search buttons, user LEDs
  • Power Supply5V DC (rated 2.5 A minimum) via a DC Jack
  • Dimensions – N/A

AM437x_Starter_Kit_Block_Diagram

The kit includes the evaluation board, a power supply, a micro SD card with Linux, a micro SD to SD Adapter, a micro USB Cable, and a Quick Start Guide. Documentation can be found on Element14 website. The board may have been launched a few days ago by Element14, but it’s also been available via Texas Instruments website for about a year, and you can also find the same documentation on TI website.

TI AM437x Starter Kit sells for $249 on Farnell (Europe), Newark (North America), and Element14 (Asia Pacific), or you can also purchase it directly on TI eStore.

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WiPy Wi-Fi Board for IoT Runs MicroPython on Texas Instruments CC3200 (Crowdfunding)

April 24th, 2015 29 comments

If you’ve interested in connecting devices via Wi-Fi, you’re being spoiled as “Internet of things” boards keeps getting designed and produced. The latest board with WiPy, a small board powered by Texas Instruments CC3200, running MicroPython, and consuming less than 1mA in suspended mode with Wi-Fi connected.

WiPyWiPy specifications:

  • MCU – TI CC3200 ARM Cortex-M4 @ 80 MHz with 256KB RAM, Wi-Fi and TCP/IP stack
  • Storage – 2MB flash
  • Connectivity – WiFi 802.11b/g/n 16Mbps (AP, Station and WiFi-Direct), on-board antenna and u.FL connector
  • Expansion – 2x 14-pin headers (2.54mm pitch) with
    • Up to 25 GPIOs
    • 2x UART, SPI, I2C, I2S, and SD card
    • 3×12 bit ADCs
  • Others
    • 4×16 bit timers with PWM and input capture
    • RTC
    • Hash and encryption engines: SHA, MD5, DES, AES
    • Reset switch, heartbeat LED
  • Power Supply – 3.6 – 5.5V DC input; 3.3V output up to 250mA
  • Power Consumption – Active: 14 mA; Suspended (Wi-Fi connected): 850 uA; Hibernating (No Wi-Fi): 5 uA
  • Dimensions – 25mm x 45mm (1.0″ x 1.77″)

WiPy_MicroPythonBeside low power consumption, the board can switch from suspended to active mode in less than 5 ms, send some data, and go back to sleep, with the developers claiming several years on a single battery charge with this type of activity.

The board run MicroPython and so it can be programmed using Python 3.4, minus some functions like “with” or “yield from”. You’ll notice no USB port on the board that can be used for programming, that’s because you’d normally connect via Telnet to access the console, and program the board from there, and alternatively you can also connect via FTP to upload Python scripts or other files. WiPy supports BSD sockets, and MicroPython compatible librairies are being worked on to handle HTTP, SMTP, XMPP, FTP, and MQTT, and since the TI MCU also support hardware hash and encryption, secure HTTPS and SSL connection will also be available.

MicroPython_GPIO

Sample code to toggle a GPIO in Python

There aren’t any shields for WiPy, as it’s breadboard compatible so you can easily connect it to your existing modules for your project, but they’re still in the process of developing an expansion board with a micro USB and battery connectors, FT234XD USB to  serial converter, a LiPo charger, a micro SD socket, two prototyping areas, and more.

WiPy_Baseboard

MicroPython source code for CC3200 is already available on WiPy github account, and the hardware files are being promised once the project is about to ship.

WiPy has just reached its 30,000 Euros target on Kickstarter, where you can pledge 27 Euros to get WiPy with the headers of your choice (male, female, double stackable, or none), or 37 Euros to also include the expansion board above. Shipping is included, and delivery scheduled for August 2015. You can find more details, ask question on their forums, and soon access tutorials on www.wipy.io.

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Texas Instruments Introduces MSP432 ARM Cortex-M4F MCU Family

March 25th, 2015 No comments

Texas Instruments has just launched a successor for its 16-bit MSP430 MCU family with MSP432 MCU series featuring a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F core, a DSP, up to 256 KB flash, up to 64 KB SRAM, and according to the company ” delivering a ULPBench score of 167.4 outperforming all other Cortex-M3 and -M4F MCUs on the market”. The new MCU family targets  consumer & portable electronics, building & factory automation & control, smart grid & energy,  healthcare & fitness, and wearables applications.

MSP432_Block_DiagramKey features listed for MSP432P4xx:

  • MCU – 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F up to 48 MHz with FPU and DSP. Delivers 3.4 Coremark/MHz
  • Memory – Up to 64 KB RAM;  Selectable RAM retention
  • Storage – Up to 256 KB Flash; dual bank for simultaneous reading and writing
  • Security – 256-bit AES encryption, JTAG access lock, 4 IP Protection regions
  • EnergyTrace Technology
    • Real-time power measurement and debugging
    • Generate application energy profiles including current and CPU state
  • Ultra-Low Power Consumption:
    • 95 uA/MHz active mode
    • 850 nA LPM3 (With RTC)
    • Wake-Up From Standby Mode in < 10uS
  • ADC – 24-ch 14-bit (13.2 ENOB) differential ADC; up to 1 MSPS; 375 uA at full speed
  • Voltage – 1.62 to 3.7 V operation

There are currently 6 devices available with 32 to 64KB RAM, 128 to 256KB flash and various I/O options and packages.

MSP432 Family Table (Click to Enlarge)

MSP432 Family Table (Click to Enlarge)

To allow customers to quickly evaluate the new MSP432 MCU, Texas Instruments also launched MSP432 LaunchPad Evaluation Kit based on MSP432P401R with 256KB flash and 64KB RAM.

MSP432 Launchpad Board

MSP432 Launchpad Board

Key features listed for the kit:

  • Low-power ARM Cortex-M4F MSP432P401R
  • 40-pin LaunchPad standard that leverages the BoosterPack ecosystem
  • XDS110-ET, an open-source onboard debugger featuring EnergyTrace+ technology and application UART
  • Two buttons and two LEDs for user interaction
  • Backchannel UART through USB to PC

The kit includes the board, a micro USB cable, and a quick start guide.

Software examples and hardware design files have been released for the board. Development can be performed with MSPWare Software Development Package either from the desktop or within a web browser. MSP432 MCUs are also said to support real-time operating system (RTOS) such as TI-RTOS, FreeRTOS and Micrium uC/OS.

MSP432P401RIPZ MCU is already sampling, while other upcoming devices will be available later, and pricing starts at $2.15 US in 1K units.  MSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPad kit will sell for just $12.99, and the company can also provide MSP-TS432PZ100 target board for $89. You can find more details, including documentation, tools, and software for the boards, on Texas Instruments MSP432 product page.

Via Embedded.com

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Texas Instruments Announces Sitara AM437x Cortex A9 SoCs and Evaluation Modules

July 2nd, 2014 6 comments

Texas_Instruments_Sitara_AM437xThe first time I heard about Texas Instruments Sitara AM437x was via a TechNexion EDM-CT-AM437x system-on-module back in 2012, but Texas Instruments Sitara Cortex A9 processors development seems to have dragged a little longer than expected. Nevertheless, the company has now formally announced their Sitara AM437x ARM Cortex A9 SoC targeting automation, IoT gateways, and other industrial applications, and featuring four PRUs (Programmable Real-time Units), and support for dual camera for terminals with bar code scanning.

At launch there will be four AM437xprocessors: AM4376, AM4377, AM4378, and AM4379. The processors will all be based on a single Cortex A9 core  @ 800 to 1000 MHz with 64KB SRAM shared with 32KB data cache and 32KB programmable cache, 256 KB L2 and L3 caches, a 32-bit memory interface supporting LPDDR2, DDR3, and DDR3L, a 2-port Gigabit Ethernet switch , two USB 2.0 OTG + PHY and the following other interfaces:

  • Serial Ports – 6x UART, 5x SPI, 3x I2C, 2x McASP, 2x CAN, HDQ, QSPI
  • System – EDMA, Debug, Counter (SyncTimer32K), WDT, RTC, 3x eQEP, 3x eCAP, JTAG, 12x Timers, 6x PWM
  • Parallel – 3x MMC/SD/SDIO, GPIO, 2x Camera, 2×12-bit ADCs, NAND/NOR (16bit ECC)

Some interfaces (HDQ, McASP, eQEP..) seem specific to Texas Instruments, and if you’d like to get a short explanation of these, I’ve updated my technical glossary.

The main differences between the four SoCs are related to the presence of a PowerVR GPU and EtherCat support as shown in the table below.

AM4376 AM4377 AM4378 AM4379
Graphics N/A PowerVR SGX530
PRU-ICSS 4x 32-bit Programmable Real Time Unit (PRU) 4x 32-bit Programmable Real Time Unit (PRU) + EtherCAT slave support 4x 32-bit Programmable Real Time Unit (PRU) 4x 32-bit Programmable Real Time Unit (PRU) + EtherCAT slave support

Total power consumption will be less than one watt in active mode, about 5mW in deep sleep, and less than 0.03mW in RTC-only mode. AM437x processors are available in 17x17mm, 0.65mm VCA packages.
AM437x_Block_Diagram
Texas Instruments already have a software development kit based on Linux 3.x mainline and with a GUI launcher, as well as graphics and other demos. Adeneo Embedded also announced a Windows Embedded Compact 7 (WEC7) BSP for AM437x processors, SYS/BIOS RTOS with support for real-time industrial protocols will be available in Q3 2014, Android 4.3 or greater support will be released by a third-party in the fall of 2014. Other various RTOS solutions by Mentor Graphicsm, QNX, Wind River, Green Hills Software and Ittiam are also planned, but no timeline has been provided.

Texas Instrument AM437x Evaluation and Development Kits

The company has already readied an evaluation module based on AM4378 with a 7″ touch screen.

AM437x Evaluation Module (TMDXEVM437X)

AM437x Evaluation Module (TMDXEVM437X)

TMDXEVM437X Kit has the following key features:

  • Sitara AM4378 ARM Cortex-A9 Processor
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – On board 4GB NAND and 4GB eMMC memory, 1x Micro SD/MMC
  • Vido Output / Display – 7″ capacitive touch screen LCD, HDMI output
  • Audio – Audio in/out
  • Camera – 2 camera modules
  • Connectivity – 1x Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 1x USB2.0 OTG, 1x USB 2.0 host
  • Other I/O – 1x UART, 2x CAN, 1x JTAG
  • Misc – Connector for Wilink8 (Wi+Fi + Bluetooth module)
  • Power – TPS65218 Power management IC

The development kit currently supports the Linux SDK, and sells for $599. You can find more information on AM437x evaluation modules page. Two other evaluation modules are schedule for later this year: TMDXIDK437X Industrial Development Kit based on AM4379 with 1 GB RAM, and no display but with industrial protocols support thanks to SYS/BIOS RTOS (Q3 2014 – $329), and TMDXSK437X based on AM4378 with 1GB RAM, a 4.3″ capacitive touchscreen (Q4 2014 for less than $300). Eventually, I suspect there may also be a low cost platform for hobbyists… Beaglebone Green anyone?

You can watch the introduction video below for an overview about TI Sitara AM437x SoCs, evaluation modules, and software solutions.

LinuxGizmos reports Sitara AM437x processors will start sampling later this month, mass production is expected to begin Q4 2014, and pricing will be around $15 per unit for 1k orders. You can find more information on Texas Instruments’ Sitara AM437x page, as well as TI Wiki.

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