MCUs cut automotive BOM costs

Silicon Laboratories’ new C8051F5xx automotive-qualified microcontrollers (MCUs) reduce system cost and footprint by eliminating discrete analogue components in applications such as fan control, seat adjustment, window lifters and fuel tank sensors. The F5xx automotive MCUs offer an unprecedented level of mixed-signal integration, creating a compact footprint as small as 4×4 mm with a system cost savings of more than $0.50 compared to competing solutions. The F5xx devices include an integrated precision voltage reference, a 5 V regulator and a high-accuracy on-chip oscillator, which enables the latest high-speed control area network (CAN 2.0) and local interconnect bus (LIN 2.1) connections without an external clock crystal. This industry first reduces system cost while improving system reliability. A patented automatic analog adjustment feature enables the use of lower cost sensors. The parts operate from 1.8 to 5.25 V, eliminating the need for an external voltage regulator, further reducing the bill of materials. The new F5xx MCUs feature automotive-grade embedded flash with densities available up to 32 kB.

Offering a CPU throughput of up to 50 MIPS, the F5xx family enables real-time computations instead of look-up tables, which reduces code size. Signal processing algorithms can be implemented in real-time, reducing the need for external filtering components, which in turn lowers system complexity and cost. The high digital throughput also enables the F5xx devices to be used in place of more expensive 16-bit MCUs.

‘The C8051F5xx microcontroller family is the fastest and most integrated 8-bit automotive MCU offering on the market today,’ said Mark Thompson, vice president and general manager of Silicon Laboratories. ‘The family contains more than 100 unique products with pin and software compatibility, providing an unparalleled development platform for embedded automotive and industrial electronic systems.’

Software compatibility throughout the F5xx family allows developers to maximize software reuse and minimize development cost. The family offers a variety of memory and processor options, accelerating prototyping and streamlining product development. The broad range of device options and compatibility also reduces development risk and enables complete optimization for target applications.

The C8051Fxx automotive MCUs are AEC-Q100 qualified, operate at up to 125 degrees C and are 5 V tolerant. Silicon Labs and its supply chain conform to the standards set forth by ISO/TS 16949:2009.

Pricing and Availability
The C8051Fxx products are available in space-saving QFN packages, as well as leaded QFP packages. Samples and production quantities are available now. Pricing for the F5xx family starts at $1.90 (USD) in 1k quantities.

The newest devices are supported by two development kits–the C8051F540DK (F54x devices) and the C8051F560DK (F55x, F56x and F57x devices). Both kits feature two MCUs on a single board, enabling the designer to develop a fully functioning CAN 2.0B and LIN 2.1 master/slave network with a single piece of hardware. In addition, the external connector and 12 V regulator allow the designer to connect to any existing automotive network for maximum design and test flexibility. Both development kits are priced at $99.00 (USD).