September 08, 2008
TI Set to Intro Energy Efficient Chips
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
The energy crisis is gaining the attention of many, from consumers to big corporations, politicians and small businesses, all are seeking ways to become more “Green” in their approach to business and to life.
Texas Instruments (News - Alert) (TI) has taken the approach that the key to becoming energy efficient is smarter chips. The company is slated to introduce Piccolo, a line of microcontrollers that are designed to make more sophisticated power electronics available to a broader array of products, such as battery-driven cars, solar panel "microinverters," LED lighting, and home appliances.
The new Piccolo F2802x/F2803x microcontrollers offer architectural advancements and enhanced peripherals in package sizes that start at 38-pins. These microcontrollers deliver the benefits of 32-bit real-time control to applications typically unable to justify the associated cost.
Real-time control delivers greater system efficiency and precision as a result of the implementation of advanced algorithms for industrial, consumer and automotive applications including solar power micro-inverters, LED lighting, white goods appliances and hybrid automotive batteries.
"The combination of 32-bit performance, enhanced peripherals and small package sizes allows designers to add real-time control and system management using just one microcontroller to applications that could not afford it previously," said Keith Ogboenyiya, TMS320C2000 marketing manager, TI, in a Monday statement.
"We named these devices Piccolo because of the small size and price that they offer our customers. They also double the number of C2000 options and build on TI’s growing MCU portfolio."
In general, energy efficiency is perceived as the most cost-effective and efficient way to reduce pollution. Electronics with specialized power offer a way to conserve energy usage, something that consumers throughout the world are increasingly demanding in the products and services that they use.
CNET writer Martin LaMonica highlighted that sophisticated microcontrollers could set an air conditioner or refrigerator fan at a lower speed rather than always at full blast. According to TI, a variable-speed air conditioner could be 30 percent more efficient.
Unfortunately, at present, many embedded chips that control motors and power supply in appliances really only have two settings: on and off. These chips have been popular with manufacturers as they are the least expensive. To counter this objection, TI has shrunk the size and cost of its chips. The 32-bit controller will start at $2 per chip for volume purchases.
According to Ogboenyiya, the chip will be available late next year and will be in more energy-efficient appliances and solar panels with individual microinverters that convert direct current to household electricity.
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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Tim Gray