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Microchip's New Digital Controller for Power & Drives

Microchip Technology announces a new Digital Signal Controller (DSC) with two dsPIC DSC cores in a single chip for high-end embedded control applications. The dsPIC33CH has one core designed to function as a master while the other is designed as a slave. The slave core is useful for executing dedicated, time-critical control code while the master core is busy running the user interface, system monitoring and communications functions, customized for the end application such as digital power or drives. The dsPIC33CH is designed specifically to facilitate independent code development for each core by separate design teams and allows integration when they are brought together in one chip. For example, in a digital power supply, the slave core manages the math-intensive algorithms, while the master core independently manages the PMBus™ protocol stack and provides system monitoring functions. Distributing the overall workload across two DSC cores in a single device enables higher power density through higher switching frequencies, leading to smaller components. The dsPIC33CH family was designed for live updating of the system, which is especially important for power supplies where firmware updates must be made with zero downtime.

In an automotive fan or pump, the slave core is dedicated to managing time-critical speed and torque control while the master manages the Controller Area Network Flexible Data rate (CAN-FD) communications, system monitoring and diagnostics. The two cores work seamlessly together, enabling advanced algorithms to improve efficiency and responsiveness. In addition, each of the new cores in dsPIC33CH devices has been designed to provide more performance than current dsPIC DSC cores through more context-selected registers to improve interrupt responsiveness; new instructions to accelerate DSP performance; and faster instruction execution.

The dsPIC33CH family is housed in a small 5 x 5 mm package and includes features such as CAN-FD communications. Memory sizes range from 64 to 128 KB of Flash. To reduce system costs and board size, advanced peripherals are available to each core including high-speed ADCs, DACs with waveform generation, analogue comparators, analogue programmable gain amplifiers and high-resolution PWM hardware. Having two cores, with dedicated peripherals, allows the cores to be programmed to monitor each other for functional safety reasons.

The $35 dsPIC33CH Curiosity Board (DM330028) enables customers to rapidly create prototypes. The dsPIC33CH Plug-in Module (PIM) for motor-control platforms (MA330039) is available for MCLV-2 and MCHV-2/3 systems and is priced at $25. The $25 dsPIC33CH PIM for general-purpose platforms (MA330040) is now available for the Explorer 16/32 development board (DM240001-2).

More support is given by Microchip’s MPLAB® development ecosystem including free MPLAB® X Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and MPLAB Code Configurator.

More in our July/August issue. AS



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