Microchip Technology Announces 16-bit dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers

Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, announced the first seven next-generation 16-bit dsPIC® Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs) for common, multi-loop Switch-Mode Power Supplies (SMPSs) and other power-conversion applications. These devices, offered in the industry’s smallest DSC packages for digital power conversion (with as small as a 6×6 mm footprint), provide up to twice the performance at a significantly lower price than Microchip’s first SMPS family. They feature an “Intelligent Power Peripheral,” which includes interconnected analog comparators, Pulse-Width Modulators (PWMs) and Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADCs) that are specialized for digital-power applications and can be software configured to adapt to a variety of topologies. This topology flexibility gives power-supply designers the complete freedom to optimize for specific product applications. And, with the dsPIC33’s in-circuit programming capabilities, common SMPS platforms can be differentiated late in the production process, saving both time and cost.

Microchip 16-bit dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs)“Microchip breaks new ground with this family of digital-power DSCs,” said Sumit Mitra, vice president of Microchip’s High Performance Microcontroller Division. “Digital power is now offered at price, performance, flexibility and efficiency levels that are expected to ignite the emerging digital-power revolution.”

Industry analysts concur that the market opportunity for digital power is expected to grow significantly over the next several years. According to Darnell Group president Jeff Shepard, “Digital-loop control is projected to grow at almost five times the unit growth rate of the overall power-supply market over the next five years. By 2013, the digital-loop-control market is projected to be 1.4 billion units.”

The seven new dsPIC33F “GS” series digital-power DSCs enable digital control loops with four to eight high-speed, 1 nanosecond (ns) resolution PWMs, up to four 20 ns comparators, each with an integrated Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) and one or two 10-bit, on-chip ADCs, providing 2 to 4 Million Samples Per Second (MSPS) for low latency and high-resolution control. These devices range from 18 to 44 pins and 6 to 16 KB Flash memory, and are pin compatible with Microchip’s initial digital-power DSC family. They feature interactive peripherals that both minimize the intervention of the processor and are able to handle the real-time needs of high-speed current-mode control.

These DSCs are well suited for AC/DC converters, DC/DC power-converters and other power-conversion applications, such as embedded power-supply controllers, power inverters, Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPSs) and digital lighting. Additionally, their 1 ns duty-cycle resolution PWMs can easily handle the precise timing requirements of all switching power-supply topologies, including the precise synchronous rectifier timing requirements.

“We will use the dsPIC33 DSC in a 6 KW AC/DC server power supply, and find the PWM and ADC modules very powerful and flexible for switched-mode power supply applications. It will be the trend for my team to migrate to digital control with Microchip’s SMPS DSCs in upcoming projects,” said Frankie Chan, principal engineer at Emerson Network Power.

The new digital-power dsPIC33Fs enable full control of the power-conversion process, via software running on the DSC and through its high-performance and highly configurable integrated peripherals. With these DSCs, digital power designers are not limited by analog-control design constraints. Components do not need to be “oversized” to account for component variation. Component drift and temperature compensation are no longer mainstream considerations, and manual tuning at the end of the manufacturing line can be eliminated. Fewer product platforms can serve a wider range of applications, since they are differentiated through software rather than hardware. Additionally, new fully digital topologies provide designers with a new degree of freedom to develop supplies with improved power density and improved cost effectiveness.

The dsPIC33F “GS” series devices offer 10 modes of PWM operation, including standard, complementary, push-pull, variable-phase and center-aligned. The on-chip, 10-bit ADCs have up to 12 input channels and sample at 2 MSPS, with a combined conversion rate of 4 MSPS for family members with two ADCs. Advanced sampling capabilities include individual triggers for each of the four sample and holds, which allow precise individual or simultaneous sampling modes. The on-chip analog comparators can be used as fault/current-limit inputs for fast shutdown of the PWMs, externally resetting the PWM periods; and also for triggering ADC conversions with no software overhead.

The dsPIC33FJ06GSXXX devices have 6 Kbytes of Flash and two PWM generators; the dsPIC33FJ16GS4XX have 16 Kbytes of Flash and three PWM generators; and the dsPIC33FJ16GS5XX have 16 Kbytes of Flash and four PWM generators. All devices in this family operate between 3.0 and 3.6 volts. Additional features include:

  • 40 MIPS performance
  • Small-footprint QFN package (6 mm x 6 mm)
  • On-chip high-speed analog comparators (up to four)
  • On-chip, 10-bit Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC)
  • UART, I2C[tm] and SPI communications
  • Internal pin remapping to optimize PCB layout, via the Peripheral Pin Select function
  • Fast, deterministic interrupt responses
  • Extended-temperature operation (-40 to 125 degrees Celsius)
  • Flexible configuration of ADCs, Comparators and PWMs to handle peak loading without CPU intervention

Application examples include AC/DC power supplies, Power Factor Correction (PFC), DC/DC converters, UPSs and power inverters. A host of other applications can benefit from the ultra-fast PWM and ADC on the dsPIC33F “GS” series devices, such as digital lighting (including HID) and liquid crystal display (LCD) backlights.

Development Support
The dsPIC33F “GS” series DSCs are supported by the MPLAB® Integrated Development Environment (IDE), MPLAB C Compiler for dsPIC DSCs, MPLAB SIM 30 Software Simulator, MPLAB ICD 3 In-Circuit Debugger and MPLAB Visual Device Initializer.

For advanced development, Microchip’s Explorer 16 (part # DM240001, $129.99) Development Board can be used with the new Buck/Boost Converter PICtail[tm] Plus Daughter Board (part # AC164133, $ 89.99). A dsPIC33F “GS” series Plug-in Module (PIM) is available for the Explorer 16 (part # MA330020, $25.00), which enables development with this new DSC family. Alternatively, the new PICtail Plus can also be used with Microchip’s 16-bit 28-pin Starter Board (part # DM300027, $79.99).

The Buck/Boost Converter PICtail Plus Daughter Board, also announced today, is a power-supply board that consists of two independent DC/DC synchronous buck converters and one independent DC/DC boost converter. All of the necessary power, drive and control signals are presented to board connectors. This board can control two buck stages, or one buck and one boost stage, via the demo software running from the onboard dsPIC33 DSC.

All three stages of the Buck/Boost Converter PICtail Plus Daughter Board are controlled by the Explorer 16 Development Board. The control boards provide closed-loop Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) control in the software, to maintain the desired output-voltage level. The dsPIC33F DSC provides the necessary memory and peripherals for A/D conversion, PWM generation, analog comparison and general-purpose I/O, while excluding the need to perform these functions in external circuitry.

Additional information is available from Microchip’s online resource center for fully digital power conversion, available at www.microchip.com/SMPS.

Pricing and Availability
The dsPIC33FJ06GS101 is available in an 18-pin SOIC package. The dsPIC33FJ06GS102, dsPIC33FJ06GS202, dsPIC33FJ16GS402 and dsPIC33FJ16GS502 are available in 28-pin SOIC, SPDIP and 6×6 mm QFN packages. The dsPIC33FJ16GS404 and dsPIC33FJ16GS504 are available in 44-pin TQFP and QFN packages. These DSCs start at $1.96 each in 5,000-unit quantities. Samples are available today from Microchip’s Web site at sample.microchip.com, and volume-production orders can be placed today at www.microchipdirect.com or via authorized Microchip distributors.

For additional information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip’s Web site at www.microchip.com/SMPS.

About dsPIC Digital Signal Controllers
The dsPIC digital signal controller is a 16-bit (data) modified Harvard RISC machine that combines the control advantages of a high-performance 16-bit microcontroller with the high computation speed of a fully implemented DSP. Most instructions require only one clock cycle to execute, and the dsPIC DSC has a fixed, deterministic interrupt latency, thus allowing very predictive, real-time performance. For more information on the dsPIC DSC family, please visit: www.microchip.com/dspic.

Microchip Customer Support
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About Microchip Technology
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, Ariz., Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality.

The Microchip name and logo, dsPIC, and MPLAB are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Incorporated in the U.S.A. and other countries. PICtail is a trademark of Microchip Technology Incorporated in the U.S.A. and other countries.