Microchip’s AVR MCUs also pack built-in safety functions and offer high operating temp for harsh environments

By Warren Miller, contributing writer

Technology Inc. (MCHP) recently introduced two new additions to its family of tinyAVR
microcontrollers (MCUs) that boast larger memory capacity and more
sophisticated analog functions than their predecessors. With two
analog-to-digital convertors (ADCs) and enhanced safety features, the ATtiny3216 and the ATtiny3217 enable engineers to design reliable
sensor node applications capable of functioning in extreme conditions.

The two
newest members of the tinyAVR MCU series both operate at up to 5 volts and
feature 32 KB of Flash memory, more than enough space for a developer’s
application code without creating a cumbersome physical footprint on the PCB. They
also include safety features designed to detect and correct drops or variations
in voltage such as the power on reset (POR), voltage level monitor (VLM) and
the windowed watchdog timer (WWDT).

The pair of
ADCs can either be used independently or in harmony to sample voltage and
current signals, improving real-time accuracy and performance. While one ADC is
working with the peripheral touch controller to acquire touch signals, the
other can be monitoring additional inputs from heat and pressure sensors. Additionally,
both devices are available in 125°C variants for reliable performance
in harsh environments. 


Source: Microchip Technology

As sensor
deployments expand, their use in harsh environments may become the norm rather
than the exception. The convenience of deploying sensors in varying conditions without
worrying about temperature or humidity makes it possible to create wide sensor
networks for an expanding set of applications. Consider sensor use in
industrial applications where the environment can include temperature extremes,
dust and vibration. Sensors able to tolerate these extremes and still deliver robust
responses to touch inputs, as well as accurate environmental readings will be a
must. Automotive applications can produce even harsher environments while
requiring higher levels of safety and reliability.   

“We continue
to invest in bringing new AVR MCUs to the market with advanced features that
meet our customers’ needs while easing the development process,” said Steve
Drehobl, vice president of Microchip’s MCU8 division, in a statement. “The
combination of responsive touch sensing and built-in safety functions make it
easier for designers to improve the user experience in applications such as
home appliances, automotive and industrial automation.”

tools supported include Atmel Studio 7 integrated development environment (IDE)
and the Atmel START code configurator. The ATtiny3217 Xplained Pro evaluation
kit is also available for evaluation purposes. The eval kit (ATTINY3217-XPRO)
is priced at $38.

The ATtiny3217
and ATtiny3216 are available for sampling and in volume production starting at $0.68 each in quantities
of 10,000.