Dual core microcontroller can shrink coin cell operated devices

Bill of material costs can be reduced, together with the size of coin cell operated devices, says Maxim Integrated, using the MAX32666 low power, dual core microcontroller.

The device has a low power dual Arm Cortex-M4 microcontroller with floating point unit (FPU) and Bluetooth Low Energy 5.2 (BLE 5.2). Combining memory, security, communications, power management and processing functions traditionally performed by multiple microcontrollers into a single device, extends a device’s battery life, says Maxim.

Typically a system will include a dedicated processor to handle the application, another processor acting as a sensor hub, a separate standalone BLE microcontroller to handle the wireless connectivity function and in many cases, a power management IC (PMIC) to efficiently provide supply voltages to the microcontrollers.

The MAX32666 is the latest addition to the Darwin family of microcontrollers. The dual Cortex-M4F microcontroller manages computation of complex functions. It operates at up to 96MHz, which speeds up data processing by 50 per cent over the closest competitor, says Maxim. In place of a separate PMIC, the MAX32666 features an integrated single inductor, multiple output (SIMO) regulator, which extends the life for small-sized battery applications. The microcontroller offers BLE 5.2, supports up to 2Mbits per second of data throughput and long range (125 and 500kbits per second) and offers transceiver output power of +4.5dBm programmable down to -95dBm.

To protect applications from cybersecurity threats, there is a trust protection unit (TPU) and big math acceleration for fast Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA). The IC’s hardware accelerators provide AES-128, -192 and -256 encryption. TRNG seed generator and SHA-2 accelerator enhance security. A secure bootloader protects IP firmware.

The MAX32666 has up to 1Mbyte of on-board memory capacity and 560kbyte of SRAM with optional error correcting code (ECC), as well as multiple high-speed peripherals to manage more data and accommodate bigger applications without running out of code space.

The MAX32666 integrates two microcontroller cores, Bluetooth radio with dedicated stack core, power management, security and memory into a single IC with a 3.8 x 4.2mm WLP footprint.

Dynamic voltage scaling minimises active core power consumption and enables 27.3microA/MHz at 3.3V executing from cache memory. There are multiple power down modes support longer battery life, resulting in 1.2microA at 3.3V in the lowest power mode.

There is also an evaluation kit MAX32666EVKIT# available now.


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