Ultra-low-power dual-core MCU shrinks IoT BOM costs

July 21, 2020 //By Rich Pell
Ultra-low-power dual-core MCU shrinks IoT BOM costs
Maxim Integrated Products has introduced an ultra-low-power dual core microcontroller with floating-point unit (FPU) and Bluetooth Low Energy 5.2 (BLE 5.2) that it says shrinks BOM Costs by up to 33% for coin cell-operated IoT applications.

The MAX32666, says the company, enables designers of wirelessly connected, coin cell-operated internet of things (IoT) products to reduce bill-of-materials (BOM) costs by one-third while also saving space and battery life. The ultra-low-power dual Arm Cortex-M4 MCU is offered as being able to extend a device's battery life by combining robust memory, security, communications, power management, and processing functions traditionally performed by multiple MCUs into a single device.

As IoT applications become more advanced, more MCUs are typically added to the system - usually including a dedicated processor to handle the application, another processor acting as a sensor hub, a separate standalone BLE microcontroller to handle the wireless connectivity function, and in many cases, a power management IC (PMIC) to efficiently provide supply voltages to the MCUs. However, says the company, this approach is proving to be unsustainable for IoT applications that are growing in complexity while still demanding smaller size and longer battery life.

"It's possible to keep adding microcontrollers to any IoT application, but frequent battery replacements conflict with end-user utility and convenience," says Kris Ardis, executive director for the Micros, Security and Software Business Unit at Maxim Integrated. "By applying the power-saving advantages of wearable technology to the broader spectrum of IoT applications, this new family of processors reduces battery replacements and improves computing performance."

The latest device in the company's DARWIN family of high-performance MCUs, the MAX32666 MCU reduces form factor and design footprint, enabling IoT device designers to lower BOM costs by consolidating up to three sockets found in their current designs. The dual Cortex-M4F MCU provides efficient computation of complex functions, operating at up to 96 MHz, which speeds up data processing by 50 percent over the closest competitor, says the company.

To replace the need for a separate PMIC, the MAX32666 features an integrated single-inductor, multiple-output (SIMO) regulator, which extends the life for small-sized battery applications. The MCU offers BLE 5.2, supports


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