NORWOOD, Mass. -- Analog Devices Inc. here today stepped up its efforts to lure motor control designers away from standard microcontrollers and convince them to use digital signal processors with the introduction of new low-cost DSPs.
Analog Devices is promoting the new DashDSP series as the industry's first 28-pin digital signal processors aimed at motor control with integrated flash memory and high-precision analog circuitry. The initial ADMCF32x members are targeted at vertical segments in motor control applications for home appliances, industrial equipment and "personal mobility systems," which include automobiles, electric bicycles and other vehicles.
"We have tried to make this series easier to use for the 'transitioning' products that are candidates to move from microcontrollers to DSPs," explained Phil Davies, product line director for the Embedded Control Systems Division of Analog Devices.
The Norwood company began aggressively pursuing embedded control applications about four-and-a-half years ago. In the past three years, Analog Devices became a major supplier of DSPs for motor control to Electrolux Compressor Co. and Emerson Electric Co. Davies said both Electrolux and Emerson have become early users of the new DashDSP series, and they have begun high-volume production of control applications with the new 28-pin DSPs.
In the future, flash-based DashDSP chips will be introduced for other embedded control applications, such as smart sensors, uninterruptable power supplies, and analog signal conditioning.
The new series contain Analog Devices' first flash memory used on digital signal processors. The 4-Kbytes of program flash memory has been optimize to work the ADSP-2171 fixed-point DSP core, which performs 20 million instructions per second (MIPS). The DashDSP chips also contain a 10-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC), power-on reset and voltage reference circuitry.
In addition, Analog Devices said it has created low-cost software and development tools to ease the introduction of DashDSP chips into motor control applications. "The monitor and debugger program is on the chip itself. So there is no need for in-circuit emulation," Davies said. "We have also put in functions that motor control engineers traditionally use," he added, referring to mathematical functions used in applications. "These are now just call routines."
To support product development, Analog Devices has created a special Web site with more than 60 software modules of code for various motor types and applications. "We feel there has never been a better time for MCU users to look at DSPs--not just because of the chip but also because of the support," Davies stated.
Managers at Analog Devices believe the 28-pin package and ease-of-use features integrated on the DashDSPs and support tools will beat out competing DSP chips in motor control--such as the TMS320LC240 series from Texas Instruments Inc. (see June 7, 1999, story). Meanwhile, the performance of DSP technology in real-time control is expected to edge out standard microcontrollers from the likes of Motorola, Microchip Technology and a number of Japanese suppliers.
"DSP power will allow the systems to be a lot more powerful with communications, diagnostics and other functions that were not considered before, such as sensorless control," Davies said. "DSP has the mathematical capability to take on those control challenges."
In quantities of 250,000, the initial DashDSP products are selling for $2.95 to $8.95 each. The development tool kits cost $395.