Piccolo Microcontrollers Improve Real-Time-Control System Performance by 5x
New C compiler, motor control software library and system examples easily expand access to integrated floating-point CLA co-processor for innovative, custom motor control designs
Upgrading designs, improving performance and simplifying development of digital real-time-control systems, Piccolo™ microcontrollers from Texas Instruments are bringing new efficiencies and innovations to motor control applications. The TMS320F2803x  and TMS320F2806x  Piccolo microcontrollers now contain a C-programmable, integrated control law accelerator (CLA) co-processor via a new C-compiler to enable even greater levels of innovative designs. The CLA is a 32-bit floating-point math accelerator, designed to work independently of the TMS320C28x™ CPU core to offload complex, high-speed control algorithms. This offloading frees the CPU to handle input/output and feedback loop metrics, resulting in up to a 5x increase in performance for closed loop applications. The CLA also provides direct access to on-chip peripherals for parallel execution of algorithms to accelerate system response time and improve efficiency.
Accessible through the controlSUITE  software platform are new CLA C-compiler software libraries and system examples available for motor control application development. The CLA provides efficient software partitioning, and TI’s optimized, free source code software libraries and system examples running on the control law accelerator (CLA) provide software code blocks, enabling developers to easily and quickly create customized designs while delivering 15-20 percent performance gains in motor control applications.
Features and benefits of F2803x and F2806x Piccolo microcontroller systems:
- C-programmable, 32-bit floating-point co-processor via a new C compiler for the CLA on F2803x and F2806x Piccolo™ microcontrollers ease programming, improve flexibility and compatibility with meta-language tools and enable direct access to on-chip peripherals for parallel execution of algorithms. The CLA also enables faster system response, high MHz control loops and improved triggering and fault detection to increase system robustness.
- F2803x Piccolo microcontrollers  incorporate TI’s enhanced pulse width modulators (ePWMs @ 150ps resolution), 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) and two 10 MHz oscillators on chip and can replace multiple electronic components (i.e. external power ICs) to lower overall system cost while enabling advanced power electronics management.
- F2806x Piccolo microcontrollers  incorporate a Viterbi, Complex Math and CRC Unit (VCU) in addition to the C28x core and CLA, providing 75 tailored math instructions to accelerate processing of communications algorithms. Also included on-chip are USB 2.0 and CAN for improved communications throughput and PWMs, a 16 channel, 3 MSPS 12-bit ADCs and three analog comparators with 10-bit reference, to eliminate external design components.
- Motor control and digital power development kits  to use with software, training and 24/7 support to make development easy and get products out quickly.
- Code compatibility across the C2000 microcontroller platform allows developers to scale solutions from 40 MHz to 300 MHz.
- controlCARD , controlSTICK  and C2000 experimenter kits , C2000’s flexible and modular design concepts, allow developers to experiment with various C2000 microcontrollers to fit price, performance and peripheral feature set requirements.
- Includes controlSUITE  software, providing easy-to-use open source demonstration GUIs, software examples and documentation for motor control development, as well as digital power.
Pricing and availability
The F2803x Piccolo microcontrollers start at around $3 in 1k volumes, and the F2806x Piccolo microcontrollers start at $4.95 in 1k volumes. Both are available in a wide variety of configurations for flexible design. Development tools for the F2806x microcontrollers are available and include: $39 controlSTICK (TMDX28069USB ), $59 controlCARD (TMDXCNCD28069 ) and $99 Experimenter’s Kit (TMDXDOCK28069 ). F2803x microcontroller development tools are also available and include: $59 control card (TMDSCNCD28035 ) and $99 Experimenter’s Kit (TMDSDOCK28035 ). controlSUITE software  is free and can be accessed immediately. Several motor control and digital power development kits  are also available now.
Find out more about TI's C2000 solutions by visiting the links below:
- C2000 motor control primer: www.ti.com/c2x-f2803-6x-pr-tr 
- Training on CLA co-processors: http://www.ti.com/c2x-f2803-6x-pr-tr1 
- C2000 tools page: www.ti.com/c2x-f2803-6x-pr-lp 
- controlSUITE software: www.ti.com/c2x-f2803-6x-pr-lp1 
- TI's microcontroller portfolio: www.ti.com/c2x-f2803-6x-pr-lp2 
- TI estore: www.ti.com/c2x-f2803-6x-pr-es 
TI’s broad portfolio of microcontrollers (MCUs) and software
From general purpose, ultra-low power MSP430™ MCUs, to Stellaris® Cortex™-M MCUs to real-time control C2000™ MCUs, and Hercules™ safety MCUs, TI offers the broadest range of microcontroller solutions. Designers can accelerate time to market by tapping into TI's complete software and hardware tools, extensive third-party offerings and technical support.
TI spins motors
TI combines a rich history in motor drive and control , a broad portfolio of analog and microcontroller products and a comprehensive offering of tools, software and support to deliver efficient, reliable, cost-effective motor solutions. Customers can get the right solutions at the right performance level to quickly spin any motor, including AC induction (ACIM), brushed DC, brushless DC (BLDC), PMSM and stepper.
Posted by Ron M. Seidel, Editorial Intern
April 26, 2012