WCH CH572 is a RISC-V MCU with Bluetooth LE Connectivity

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Jiangsu Qinheng Co., Ltd, better known as WCH, is famous for their USB to TTL chip such as CH340, but the company also offers various wireless MCUs, including some Arm Cortex-M0 based Bluetooth / Zigbee parts such as CH579.

But today, I was informed a new Bluetooth MCU showed up on WCH website: CH572 with a RISC-V MCU core @ 60 MHz.

CH572 RISC-V Bluetooth LE MCUWe have limited information about the MCU, but here’s what we need so far about CH572 specifications:

  • Core – RISC-V MCU @ up to 60 MHz
  • System Memory – 10K SRAM
  • Storage – 96KB OTP (One-Time Programming) flash
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth LE
  • USB – 1x USB host, 1x USB device
  • Other Peripherals and I/Os
    • 11-ch 12-bit ADC
    • 3x 26-bit timers
    • 11x PWM
    • 2x UART, 1x SPI
    • 23x GPIOs
    • RTC and Watchdog
  • Supply Voltages – 3.3V/2.5V
  • Package – QFN28

The main downside is that’s an OTP flash, so you’d develop software using an ICE (In-circuit emulator), and once you are done and confident the software is stable enough, the manufacturer or maybe yourself can flash it to the MCU OTP flash. That means no firmware update is possible later on, but usually those parts are quite cheaper. CH572 is shown as being “在研”, which I understand means “under development”, so it’s unclear when it will become available.

Nevertheless, WCH CH572 is quite interesting, as AFAIK it’s one of the first RISC-V MCUs from a “traditional” silicon vendor that should be fairly easily procurable.

Thanks to Zoobab for the tip.

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Icenowy Zheng
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Icenowy Zheng

OTP is ridiculous for a 32-bit MCU.

bloom5
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bloom5

10k SRAM would be quite a limitation

Philipp
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Philipp

But if 44 cents are true… ūüėÄ

Sander
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Sander

Uhhh … MCU is … Microcontroller Unit?

dgp
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dgp

I suspect it’s OTP (if that isn’t a mistake and it actually has flash and some OTP efuse) and only has 10K of RAM because it’s going to be targeted at products like bluetooth mice, keyboards etc.

Diego
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Diego

Great to see that riscv pops up from non believers too.
Maybe this is not yet the ideal chip for tinkering but a great start.

James Chu
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James Chu

I am a Chinese Engineer, I talked to one of WCH stuff last year, They are always looking for an low-cost CPU IP, because ARM’s loyalty has eat up a lot of profit for low-end MCU. They have an MCU serial , CH56x with an ARM9 compatible core which I believe is not licensed from ARM.(I asked , They said it’s from another IP provider, Strange? ).

So RISC-V (and the patent timed-out 8051 ISA) is a good news for these low-end marckets.

dgp
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dgp

>So RISC-V (and the patent timed-out 8051 ISA) is a good news for these low-end marckets.

RISC-V taking off would be good news for everyone. We could get to the point where you can order a custom RISC-V based chip with only the stuff you need without having to order millions of them.

zoobab
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Do you have a good contact at WCH? I have requested some chip samples, let’s see what happens with those. I have few questions to ask them…

cyk
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cyk

Sure that it’s only OTP? Becasue on the website, they are talking about wireless OTA upgrade, so it must be real flash.

zoobab
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See also the Hackaday article linking to here:

https://hackaday.com/2019/02/17/how-to-program-a-really-cheap-microcontroller/

Another WCH chip…