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From: Howard Delman
Subject: Re: Examples Of Common MCU's In Consumer Electronics?
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2002 13:54:40 -0700
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Chuck Simmons wrote:
> Howard Delman wrote:
>>Geraldo Sazias wrote:
>>>"Howard Delman" wrote in message
>>>>Geraldo Sazias wrote:
>>>>>Can someone cite some examples of 'common' (frequently used by
>>>>>MCU's (AVR,PIC and MSP430) being used in consumer and or mass produced
>>>>>electronics? Whenever I open up some consumer electronics device it has
>>>>>either an unknown MCU or one I can't identify at all (ussually bump
>>>>>packaged directly onto the PCB). Is it even economically viable to use
>>>>>these MCU's in a million plus class consumer electronics device?
>>>>One reason that you are more familiar with PIC and AVR is that they are
>>>>actively marketed to hobbyists. The tools are cheap, and the parts can
>>>>be easily bought in low volumes. Most other manufacturers avoid this
>>>>market. I used a small 8 bit Mitsubishi MCU a couple of years ago, and
>>>>the development system was $6000. Not many hobbyists will ever see
>>>>these parts, but they were right for the application and the $6000 cost
>>>>was easily amortized over the first year's forecast of 100,000 units.
>>>>In the past five years, I've designed products with MCUs from Samsung,
>>>>Toshiba, ST, Philips, and Cypress. Most of these vendors won't even
>>>>talk to you unless you're looking at tens of thousands of parts a year.
>>>>Oh... None of these would have their "real" part numbers on them. They
>>>>would have a part number made up by my client.
>>>Cool. What kinds of products are we talking about, what prices and what
>>Toy airplane, coin operated video game, set top box, telephone test set,
>>network password generator. These parts ranged in price from less than
>>a dollar (Samsung in toy airplane) to around $5.00 (Cypress MCU w/ USB
>>in video game). I won't even try pricing a part for volumes less than
>>1K. The vendors would just ignore me. None of these projects turned
>>out to be huge, although the Samsung chip (KS57C2308 - 4 bit core, 8K
>>mask rom, drivers for alphanumeric lcd, 80 pin chip) is likely to hit
>>100K volume by the end of the year. This is not considered a big order
>>by Samsung. IIRC, it was quoted around a dollar. The development
>>system was around $3000. See my web page for more details.
>>BTW - I have priced PICs and AVRs for new designs, and have always found
>>them to be more expensive than comparable parts once volumes get high.
>>They are better in very low volumes. My guess is that they end up in
>>high volume products because engineers are used to them, and already
>>have the tools.
> Not altogether true. I don't know about PIC but AVR is very nice for
> some ASICs. I'm working on an ASIC now with 3 40MHz mega103 (AVR) cores
> slightly customized, dual port RAM for AVR program and data memory,
> analog I/O for the AVRs, a 17X17 shared 25ns MAC with 40 bit accumulator
> and a gate array for various logic needed for the desired function. It's
> a pad limited die which is about 60mm^2 (128 pins set the pad ring
> size). I think volume pricing (100k parts) will be as low as $3 each.
> The part is not general purpose at all since it assumes some other part
> in the system can do initial code load to it at power up and it has very
> few digital I/O pins. It is designed for a specific application and it
> is doing that application well. The chip is part of a chip set although
> it could sell alone for some applications requiring up to 6 axis motor
> control. In its current application, it controls 4 motors and handles
> miscellaneous chores for the chip that acts as the overall supervisor of
> the system. AVR was chosen because it was cost effective (small silicon
> area for what it could do and compatability with the analog process
> needed to build the I/O system).
But that is a totally different situation. The economics of cores are
nothing like the economics of packaged parts.
Digital design from conception to production
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