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LPC MCU intelligent industrial control support
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Monday 18 March 2013

Due to huge industrial ecology as well as hardware and software support, NXP has introduced the 100% focused 32-bit ARM architecture low power consumption (LPC) series MicroController Unit (MCU) with low pin count, low power consumption, and low cost simplified system design that can be used for intelligent industrial control applications such as outdoor lighting equipment, factory automation, equipment HMI human interface devices, elevator/lift controls, touch applications, smart grid/ammeter, and smart indoor lighting.

NXP also provides a complete set of development tools, evaluation boards and software libraries, abundant third-party software development/debugging tools, and community support to enable the rapid develop a variety of intelligent industrial applications by the industry….

Intelligent industrial control applications that are 100% focused on ARM architecture

Jeff Liu, technical marketing manager of NXP Semiconductors (NXP) in Taiwan, indicated that NXP's LPC series MCU is fully focused on industrial control/embedded applications, which is 100% dedicated to the 32-bit ARM processors. The MCU adopts an extendable 32-bit ARM core architecture and enjoys software/hardware intellectual property (IP) reusability/portability made possible by the extensive ARM industry ecology, which enables a fast-growing industrial ecosystem with community and technical support. NXP provides the LPCXpresso development tools, free open source codes, and third-party vendor support. The award-winning innovation enables connectivity, flexibility, integration, packaging, power efficiency, ease of use, and long service life.

The Cortex M0 ARM was launched for low-power embedded applications, and the even-lower power consuming Cortex M0+ core was further introduced during late 2012. Focusing on the alternative market for the 8/16bit MCU, NXP has launched LPC800, LPC1100 (Cortex M0) that have 110 μAmp/MHz low-power consumption running in active mode; adopt TSSOP, SO, and DIP packages; and provide the LPC1100 designed ultra-small WL CSP module package (2mm x 2mm) that make these models ideal for active cable applications. NXP has also introduced a comprehensive series of products for the USB market segment ranging from the low cost LPC1100 and LPC1300 to LPC1700, LPC1800, and LPC4300. The USB driver codes for these products can be built-in into the internal ROM and free software and technical support are also available. The LCD Controller supports 1024x768 resolution and 24bbp color to provide a complete product for the market segment, such as the high-end LPC1700, LPC1800, and LPC4300. Free LCD software libraries are also available. NXP has introduced the fastest 180MHz Cortex-M3, 204MHz Cortex-M4 microprocessor products to meet the performance demands of embedded applications. The LPC4300 adopts the Coretex-M4 plus Cortex-M0 dual-core unique design.

Under the present industrial interconnection scheme, outdoor lights/lighting equipment, smart meters, and indoor elevators are connected to the control room via cloud control or a wired method; automated factory machines and equipment are also connected to the control room via the PLC programmable logic control gate through Ethernet; and household automation includes using Zigbee to provide wireless controlled intelligent lighting. These embedded applications include point-of-sale (POS) devices, PLC controller, human machine interface (HMI) on machines, car alarms, etc.

The LPC178x/1800/4300 series PLC controllers specifically designed for HMI applications have the maximum 1024x768 LCD display capacity and maximum 204MHz clock; Ethernet, USB, and UART connectivity; as well as rapid assessment and development kit provided for R&D. The LPC178x/1800 specifically developed for elevator control is equipped with a 7-inch LCD display module, uses CAN Bus to replace the old RS-485 interface, and uses a simple system architecture to reduce design as well as FPGA and BOM meter costs.

Touch applications such as the LPC1700 series support device firmware upgrades from USB (USB DFT), provide dual SPI port and high-performance CPU data operations, have low-power consumption, and are certified by the USB specification. Smart grid/smart meter product planning includes the EM773/783 plug meter, LPC122x 1-ph meter, LPC122x entry-level collector, LPC2000/LPC17xx 3-ph meter, LPC18xx/ LPC40xx data collector, and LPC43xx/LPC32xx concentrator applications.

The LPC series provide CFL and LED intelligent lighting solutions that allow iPad/iPhones to control lights through switches, touch control capacitive switches, and wireless light sockets. In addition, there is also the TCP/IP to JenNet gateway wired intelligent lighting solution.

Blueprint for the LPC series embedded MicroController products

Liu also illustrated NXP's blueprint for the LPC series embedded MCU products. NXP's LPC series controllers have accumulated 10 years of the ARM core R&D experiences and are divided into the entry level LPC Go series, the mainstream LPC Connect series, and the high performance LPC Connect/Turbo and LPC Command series. Their clock frequencies range between 30, 50, 70, 72, 100, 120, 125, 180, and 204 MHz; they have between 8 and 296 pins, and their flash memories range between 4KB to 1MB.

LPC Go come in LPC800/1100/1100LV/11E00/131x/210x models; adopts the Cortex M0/M3/ARM7 core architecture; has frequencies ranging between 30, 45, 50, 70, and 72 MHz; has reduced system power consumption and design costs; can replace the 8/16 bit MCU and be rapidly incorporated into the market; and adopts the 8 to 64 pin design as well as the 4KB to 128KB flash memory capacity. Liu indicated that the LPC800 series is further divided into five different models: LPC800M021FN8, LPC811M001FDH16, LPC812M101FDH16, LPC812M101FD20, and LPC812M101FDH20. These models adopt the Cortex M0+ core architecture, 2-stage pipeline, and single-cycle I/O design and can provide 0.93DMIPS/MHz of execution performance.

The LPC Connect series LPC11Uxx/LPC11Cxx/11A00/1200/134x/213x/214x also adopt the Cortex M0/M3/ARM7 architecture with a 50/60/72MHz frequency, USB and CAN bus controller or Segment LCD display, connectivity, 20 to 64 pin design, and 16KB to 512KB of flash capacity. Liu indicated that the CAN bus controller equipped LPC11Cxx series is comprised of the LPC11C12, LPC11C14, LPC11C22, and LPC11C24 models; and the non-CAN transceiver LPC11C1x series such as the LPC11C00 with LPC1700 can be used for robotic automation applications in factories. LPC1800 and LPC4300 connected to LPC1700 through a CAN Bus or RS-485 can serve as a programmable logic controller (PLC) application.

The high performance LPC ConnectPlus series include LPC407x/408x/1700/2300/2400 models that adopt Cortex M3/M4/ARM7 core architecture with the faster 72/100/120MHz frequency, provide USB plus Ethernet/LCD/CAN bus controller, 80 to 208 pin design, and 32KB to 512KB of flash capacity. Liu mentioned that the LPC177x/8x and LPC407x/8x series in conjunction with an LCD display module can be applied to HMI devices for machine equipment or household automation control devices.

Blueprint for LPC dual-core embedded processor

The LPC ConnectTurbo series is comprised of the LPC1800/4300/2900 models. It has the fastest clock frequency combinations of 125/180/204MHz; provides optimal integration options such as HS USB, LCD, CAN with Ethernet and DSP instruction set acceleration; and diverse designs such as 144 to 256 pin numbers and 512KB/768KB/1MB flash memory capacities. These chips can be applied to wireless walkie-talkies, factory/laboratory testing machines, electronic medical equipment, and wireless network base stations/infrastructures.

Liu specifically introduced the LPC43xx series comprised of the following 11 models - LPC4312/4313/4315/4317/4322/4323/4327/4333/4337/4353/4357. The entire series adopt the optimal 204MHz Cortex M4+Cortex M0 large and small dual-core design, are equipped with field magnetic oriented control (FOC) required for motor control, and provide features such as circuit and industrial control bus controllers, high-speed SPI flash interface that connects to serial flash in order to accelerate firmware read and execution speeds, state configurable timer, and serial GPIO serialization signal line control.

The LPC Command series is comprised of the LPC3100 and LPC3200 models that adopt ARM9 micro core architecture with the clock frequency of up to 266MHz. These models can execute high-end operating systems such as Linux and have 180 and 296 pin number package options as well as the external flash memory (flashless) designs.

LPC development engineering suite and third-party products/community support

Liu explained that the first step to develop the NXP LPC MCU for intelligent industrial control applications is to select the optimal software development platform. NXP provides the LPCXpresso integrated development environment (IDE) with the maximum firmware code compilation capacity of 128KB. There are also third party IDEs such as Keil/ARM MDK, Embedded Workbench from IAR, Red Suite from Code_Red, Crossworks from Rowley, TrueStudio from Atollic, and other GNU open source compiler software.

The hardware debugger is supported by NXP's LPCLink (on LPCXpresso development board), Segger Company's J-Link, IAR/Signum's I-Jet/JTAGjet, Keil/ARM ULink2, Code Red Company's Red Probe, Hitex Company's Tantino, and Lauterbach Company's Trace32.

The evaluation/development board is comprised of NXP's LPCXpresso board and built-in LPCLink debug cable/kit combined with the previously mentioned LPCXpresso IDE to provide the lowest embedded engineering assessment costs/development platform for the clients. At present, the LPCXpresso forum has more than 1,000 registered members. In addition, NXP also provides the mbed rapid engineering prototype boards with built-in LPC1768 and LPC11U24 MCUs, which has shipped over 15,000 units; and the NGX Xplorer evaluation/development boards with built-in LPC1800/LPC4300 MCUs. In addition, other evaluation/development boards include those developed by Embedded Artists, IAR, Keil/ARM, Code Red, Hitex, Embest, and NGX.

Regarding a free software library; NXP provides open source, nxpUSBlib library for USB control, Free Lightweight IP (LWIP) library for Ethernet network control, and emWin graphics library for GUI interface. Regarding real time operating systems (RTOS); μC/OSII or μC/OSIII developed by FreeRTOS and Micrium or μCLinux developed by EmCraft are free and downloadable online.

Finally, regarding technical support; NXP has established the website to provide education and training, software and driver download, engineering schematics, development tool download, FAQ, and design technique discussion and information. Educational training video clips are also available at the lpczone channel on YouTube. Finally, NXP LPC microprocessor discussion information can also be found in social networking sites such as Yahoo, Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook as well as exclusive community websites such as LPCware, LPCXPRESSO, and mbed.

NXP Jeff Liu

Jeff Liu, technical marketing manager of NXP Semiconductors (NXP) in Taiwan

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