Posted in | Nanoelectronics

Freescale Introduces New ColdFire+ Microcontrollers Developed Using 90nm TFS Flash Technology

Freescale Semiconductor is reinforcing its leadership in 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) with the announcement of 40 new ColdFire+ (plus) devices, taking its proven ColdFire portfolio to new heights. Built from 90 nanometer (nm) Thin Film Storage (TFS) flash technology with FlexMemory, ColdFire+ MCUs promise to be one of the most integrated, cost-effective, small-package 32-bit MCUs on the market.

ColdFire+ MCUs

ColdFire+ MCUs build upon Freescale’s strong heritage in 32-bit microcontrollers and signify the next step in the evolution of ColdFire. The new ColdFire+ line brings some exciting additions to the portfolio, including:

  • FlexMemory, configurable embedded electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM)
  • high precision and high performance mixed-signal capability
  • robust low-power features, with run currents down to 150uA/MHz
  • market leading enablement, including Freescale MQX™, a full featured real time operating system (RTOS), communication stacks, the modular Tower Rapid Prototyping System, Eclipse™ based CodeWarrior version 10.0, and other leading third-party software
  • additional application-specific peripherals for consumer devices

The MCF51Qx/Jx families are the first ColdFire+ products that combine cutting edge, low power performance with a diverse set of analog, connectivity and security peripherals, all contained in low cost, small footprint packages.

A Comprehensive Enablement Bundle

Freescale’s new ColdFire+ solutions are more than just silicon. With ColdFire+ MCUs, customers get one of the most comprehensive enablement bundles in the industry. This bundle features Freescale’s MQX with USB audio, medical, mass storage, human interface device, hub and device class stacks that help simplify hardware management and streamline software development. Also included is CodeWarrior Development Studio, a comprehensive integrated development environment with MQX RTOS kernel awareness for advanced debug support that is based on the Eclipse open development platform, providing a visual and automated framework to accelerate the development of complex embedded applications. In addition, Freescale’s Tower System, a modular development platform, saves months of development time through rapid prototyping and tool re-use. Freescale also has long standing relationships with software companies such as Green Hills® and IAR, which provide the software, tools, reference designs, application notes, software examples and online training to help round out the tool suite, ease the development process and speed time to market.

Innovative FlexMemory, configurable embedded EEPROM

The foundation of ColdFire+ MCUs is the embedded 90nm TFS flash technology upon which they are based with unique FlexMemory capability. Freescale is the only manufacturer integrating FlexMemory -- user-configurable EEPROM -- directly into microcontrollers. Designers can benefit from high performance endurance of up to 4.4 million write/erase cycles and write speeds as fast as ~100us. FlexMemory can be used to manage data tables or process data for a device and can also be used in brown-out situations to quickly store critical program parameters if voltage is lost. Freescale’s FlexMemory is fully operational and programmable over the full voltage range of 1.71v to 3.6v. Finally, FlexMemory can also be easily configured by the designer as either EEPROM or additional flash, adding even more system flexibility for the embedded designer.

Incredible ultra-low power features

ColdFire+ MCUs offer 10 flexible, ultra-low power modes achieving run currents down to 150uA/MHz in very low power run mode and stop currents of less than 500nA. Additionally, two low power timers are functional in lowest stop mode and a 4us wake-up time highlights several of the modes that support demanding low power applications. And when coupled with a low power hardware touch sensing interface, these new MCUs allow wake-up from a touch even in its lowest power modes, saving battery life for when it’s really needed.

High precision, high performance mixed-signal capability

The integration of a 16-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) module enables high resolution measurements for instrumentation devices. Additionally, an integrated 12-bit digital-to-analog converter (DAC) supports analog waveform generation for audio applications and high speed comparators provide fast and accurate motor over-current protection by driving pulse width modulations (PWMs) to a safe state. A voltage reference is internally tested and trimmed using the ADC to reduce test costs and increase accuracy.

Additional application-specific peripherals for consumer goods

As Freescale seeks to help customers further differentiate their designs, it continues to integrate key peripherals required for specific applications. The ColdFire+ families demonstrate this by integrating several key peripherals that are ideal for low power, secure consumer applications. These peripherals include:

  • a serial audio interface providing a direct interface to codecs via I2S.
  • an integrated USB 2.0 full speed device/host/on-the-go (OTG) controller with integrated transceiver, providing support for full USB functionality
  • a device charge detector and regulator support battery charge via USB for consumer portable devices
  • a cryptographic acceleration unit and random number generator that accelerate secure communication and device uthentication for small footprint, fast, secure connectivity in wireless sensor nodes

“We pride ourselves on being one of the industry’s most trusted MCU providers and our new ColdFire+ MCUs only help to solidify our position in the market,” said Reza Kazerounian, senior vice president and general manager of the Microcontroller Solutions Group at Freescale. “With more than 40 new products under the ColdFire+ umbrella, we are confident that our commitment to this innovative and proven product portfolio will provide our customers with a comprehensive set of design and enablement tools to give them confidence to create tomorrow’s technology today.”

V1 ColdFire+ MCF51Qx and MCF51Jx Families

These six families are pin- and software-compatible and feature:

  • innovative FlexMemory, configurable EEPROM
  • 10 flexible ultra-low-power modes
  • 16-bit ADC and 12-bit DAC provide flexible and powerful mixed signal capability
  • crypto acceleration unit and random number generator help secure communication
  • integrated capacitive touch sensing and display support
  • (Jx Only) integrated USB 2.0 full-speed device/host/OTG controller supports connection via USB and battery charging
  • (Jx Only) serial audio interface provides direct interface to codecs and to Inter-IC Sound (I2S) audio devices
  • package sizes as small as 5x5mm for space constrained applications


The first MCUs to feature 90nm TFS technology with FlexMemory will sample in the second half of 2010 with production planned by mid 2011.


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