New features added to Atmel's 8/16-bit AVR XMEGA MCUs

by Toni McConnel , TechOnline India - July 14, 2011

The company has added unique features to their 8/16-bit AVR XMEGA microcontroller (MCU) family with what it claims is the industry’s lowest power consumption of 100nA with 5µS wake-up time.

Atmel Corporation has added unique features to their 8/16-bit AVR XMEGA
microcontroller (MCU) family with what the company claims is the industry’s lowest power consumption of 100nA with 5µS wake-up time. The new AVR XMEGA family includes full-speed USB, the fastest and highest-precision analog systems, a Direct Memory Access (DMA) controller, and an event system that maximizes real-time performance and throughput while reducing CPU load. The new family lowers overall system cost through higher integration, capacitive touch support, and ultra-low power consumption. The AVR XMEGA microcontrollers are designed for applications in the industrial, consumer, metering and medical


The new MCUs integrate full-speed USB connectivity with functions that reduce overhead and provide higher data rates. Using the high-precision internal oscillator in the AVR XMEGA, designers can lower the system cost by eliminating the crystal oscillator traditionally required for full-speed USB. Atmel provides free software for all common USB device classes in the AVR Software Framework, which is a software package that includes drivers and communication stacks for AVR microcontrollers.

The AVR XMEGA family includes two 12-bit analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) with programmable gain stages that remove the need for external amplifiers. The ADCs operate down to 1.6V operating voltage, and have a combined sample rate up to 4MSPS. The two 12-bit digital-to-analog converters (DACs) also support systems that need fast and high-precision analog output. The DACs can drive high loads to reduce external driver component costs, while built-in current outputs enable embedded applications to remove external resistors or other constant current sources.

According to the company, the AVR XMEGA family is the only 8/16-bit MCU
in the market with DMA, Controller and Event System. Peripherals and communication modules can utilize the DMA system to move data so the AVR

XMEGA CPU has more idle time to save power or to perform other tasks.

The event system enables direct inter-peripheral signaling for short and 100 percent predictable response time without interrupt and CPU usage. Designers can now develop a solution with predictable real-time performance and data throughput even under a high system load.

Other functions such as hardware AES and DES encryption and decryption
ensure fast and low-power secure communication. Cryptography protects

important intellectual software property during remote programming and firmware distribution. Atmel AVR XMEGA can also easily realize robust touch sensing interfaces through the Atmel QTouch Library, enabling buttons, sliders, wheels or proximity for user interfaces.

All devices include the Atmel picoPower ultra-low power technology with true 1.6V operation, accurate real time clock (RTC) operation and full data retention at the industry-leading current consumption of 500 nA.

Pricing and availability The Atmel AVR XMEGA devices with USB are
available now. Pricing starts at $2.00 each in 10,000-piece quantities.

For more information visit XMEGA.

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