Low power animated display driver extends battery-powered devices

Battery-powered and power-conscious designs with and without liquid crystal displays (LCDs) can now include an array of innovative features, says Microchip, when system developers use PIC eXtreme Low Power (XLP) microcontrollers (MCUs). There are 14 types of Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) that operate outside the central processing unit (CPU) of the PIC24F GU and GL families for power savings, including the LCD with Autonomous Animation CPI.

By using the integrated LCD driver with autonomous animation, developers can offload most of these simple animation routines from the CPU, allowing animation even when in doze, idle or sleep modes.

The MCUs also feature MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC) support to assist developers in quickly designing such display interfaces. The graphical programming environment with LCD display designer helps eliminate the meticulous and time-consuming task of mapping the pins and segments, explains Microchip.

Joe Thomsen, vice president of Microchip’s MCU16 business unit, explained: “This scalable family of devices enable applications from cloud-connected low-power IoT nodes and sensor systems to automotive, consumer and industrial automation applications and helps developers easily add displays, robustness and security to their designs.”

The MCU families are also designed to make it easy to increase the security of an application, whether it is connected to the Internet or a standalone system. Microchip’s CodeGuard security flash protection enables segmenting memory into boot and general segments to implement memory access restrictions. The flash memory is configurable as one time programmable (OTP) via Microchip’s In-Circuit Serial Programming (ICSP) write inhibit feature that disables any further modification of the flash through external programmers/debuggers.

Security can be further enhanced using Microchip’s CryptoAuthentication devices as a companion chip to add secure over-the-air updates and pre-provisioned cloud services. The MCUs are also supported by CryptoAuthLib, 16-bit bootloader, USB and application libraries in MCC to significantly reduce development time and complexities.

The integrated hardware safety features of the PIC24F GU and GL families enable reliable operation in harsh environments through flash error correction code (ECC), deadman timer (DMT), windowed watchdog timer (WWDT), fail-safe clock monitor (FSCM), configurable high-low voltage detect (HLVD) and cyclic redundancy check (CRC).

The MCUs feature an extended operating temperature of up to 125°C and are AEC Q100 Grade 1 qualified. They are suitable for use in harsh environments, in automotive, industrial and consumer applications. They also have a diagnostic library for IEC 60730 (household appliances) Class B safety standards.

The PIC24F GU and GL MCUs are supported by Microchip’s MPLAB development ecosystem including Microchip’s free MPLAB X integrated development environment (IDE) and MPLAB code configurator. Other supporting boards include the PIC24F LCD and USB Curiosity development board, PIC24F LCD Curiosity development board, and the PIC24FJ512GU410 and PIC24FJ128GL306 general purpose plug-in modules (PIMs) for the Explorer 16/32 development board.

The PIC24F GL3 family – with integrated LCD – is available in 28-, 36-, 48- and 64-pin packages which can be as small as 4.0 x 4.0mm (uQFN). Memory ranges from 64 to 128kbyte flash and 8kbyte RAM.

The PIC24F GU4 / GL4 family – with integrated LCD and USB – is available in 48-, 64-, 80- and 100-pin packages with memory ranges from 128 to 512kbyte flash and 32kbyte RAM.


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