Silicon Labs designs MCUs for complex IoT apps

Article By : Silicon Labs

Giant Gecko MCUs offer 72MHz processing performance, large memory options, peripherals and hardware accelerators and comprehensive software tools including the Micrium OS.

Silicon Laboratories Inc. (Silicon Labs) has expanded its EFM32 Gecko portfolio with the EFM32GG11 Giant Gecko family comprising industrial-strength microcontrollers offering a feature set for the low-power MCU market. The MCUs target applications such as smart metering, asset tracking, industrial/building automation, wearables and personal medical apps.

According to Silicon Labs, the Giant Gecko MCUs address the need of IoT applications for MCUs that excel in integration, performance and energy efficiency.

Features of the Giant Gecko family include:

  • ARM Cortex-M4 processor core
  • Up to 2MB flash and 512KB RAM internal memory
  • SD/MMC and Octal/Quad-SPI memory interfaces to support memory expansion
  • Fast wake-up/sleep transitions and a low-energy fabric allowing autonomous access to sensor inputs and enabling low-power peripherals to operate autonomously
  • 77μA/MHz consumption in active mode and 1.6μA in deep sleep mode

The Giant Gecko MCUs are able to integrate with the following communication interfaces and controllers:

  • 10/100 Ethernet media access control (MAC) for IP-based industrial control
  • Secure digital input output (SDIO) Wi-Fi interface for IP-based wireless cloud connectivity
  • Single or dual CAN bus controllers for industrial applications
  • Crystal-free USB controller
  • TFT display hardware acceleration with per-pixel alpha blending and ultra-low-energy segment LCD driver
  • Current-based capacitive sense engine providing touch input and wake-on-touch

Silicon Labs said the MCUs feature an energy-efficient security accelerator that runs algorithms with higher performance and lower power than conventional software methods, a security management unit (SMU) supporting fine-grained security for peripheral access, and a NIST-certified true random number generator (TRNG) for higher security randomisation.

Giant Gecko MCUs are available in QFN, QFP and BGA package options with up to 192 pins, including packages that are footprint-compatible with existing EFM32 MCUs. Software compatibility across the entire EFM32 MCU and EFR32 Wireless Gecko SoC portfolio enables broad software reuse and reduced design time and cost for developers, Silicon Labs added.

Silicon Labs' Simplicity Studio development tools support the Gecko MCUs, giving developers access to everything needed to complete projects in a unified Eclipse-based environment. Simplicity Studio includes graphical configuration, energy monitoring, network analysis and capacitive touch configuration tools as well as software examples and documentation. Giant Gecko MCUs natively support Micrium OS, and developers have easy access to Micrium tools through Simplicity Studio.

Engineering samples of the EFM32GG11 Giant Gecko MCUs are available today. Production quantities are planned for Q1 2018. Pricing for EFM32GG11 MCUs in 10,000-unit quantities begins at $5.66 (₹365). The SLSTK3701A Giant Gecko Starter Kit is available now and priced at $99.99 (₹6,443).

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