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Freescale stretches boundaries of energy efficiency with ultra-low-power 8-bit microcontrollers


Power-sipping MCUs designed to deliver less than 300 nanoamps stop currents for personal medical and portable devices

AUSTIN, Texas . – As the consumer electronics industry evolves toward ultra-mobile portable designs, enhanced power efficiency and extended battery life have become essential design requirements. Responding to these needs, Freescale Semiconductor has introduced ultra-low-power 8-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) designed to enhance portable performance, extend battery life and improve energy efficiency for a wide range of embedded applications.

The MC9S08QE8 (QE8) MCUs – members of Freescale’s ultra-low-power QE family – are among the industry’s most power-efficient 8-bit offerings, with stop current of less than 300 nanoamps and run current as low as seven microamps. This low-power operation makes the QE8 devices ideal for low-end medical devices, such as blood pressure monitors and at-home pregnancy tests, as well as portable devices such as PDAs and cell phone accessories.

“Embedded developers designing tomorrow’s portable, battery-powered devices demand ultra-low-power operation from every component, especially 8-bit MCUs,” said Aiden Mitchell, consumer and industrial MCU product manager for Freescale’s Microcontroller Solutions Group. “While offering exceptional 8-bit performance and a rich peripheral set, we’ve designed the QE8 devices to deliver industry-leading energy efficiency for power-sensitive designs.”

The QE8 devices are designed to meet the requirements of portable designs through optimized peripherals that enable lower operating voltage and current. The QE8 can run off of an ultra-low-power 32 kHz oscillator that consumes less than one microamp of current. The device also includes battery-saving features, such as two ultra-low-power stop modes, low-power run and wait modes, six microseconds wake-up time from stop3 mode, and clock gating registers to disable clocks or unused peripherals.

The QE8 is pin and software compatible with corresponding devices in Freescale’s MC9S08Qx family of ultra-low-power MCUs and with the Flexis QE128 devices. This compatibility along Freescale’s Controller Continuum provides developers with a software compatible roadmap from 8-bit to 32-bit architectures.

Easy to use
The QE8 devices are supported by a rich ecosystem of Freescale and third-party hardware and software tools. Freescale’s CodeWarrior® Development Studio for Microcontrollers 6.1 provides an array of built-in features and utilities to help developers deliver higher-quality products to market faster. For example, the Processor Expert™ rapid application design tool included in the CodeWarrior tool suite provides a graphical interface to help developers initialize the device easily.

To ease board design, Freescale offers the cost-effective DEMO9S08QE8 demonstration board with a companion DVD. The DVD includes software, application examples, datasheets and a quick-start guide to help developers get up and running in the design process quickly. The DC9S08QE8 QE8 daughtercard also can be ordered independently for only $10 (USD) to use with the DEMOQE128 demonstration kit. Freescale offers extensive resources for low-power design, including application notes, low-power tips and tricks, and online training and webcasts on low-power design.

QE8 product features

* 20 MHz S08 core
* 10 MHz bus frequency
* 8KB / 4KB flash memory options
* 512KB / 256KB RAM options
* SCI, SPI, IIC w/ broadcast mode
* Internal clock source (ICS)
* Vreg with fast start-up time and low-regulation voltage
* Ultra-low-power real-time counter running off 32 kHz oscillator consumes less than 1.5 microamps of current in low-power stop modes
* 300 nanoamps stop current
* 6 microseconds wake-up time from stop3 mode
* 10-channel, 12-bit analog-to-digital (ADC) converters
* Two analog comparators
* Enhanced internal oscillator
* Optimized clock tree and clock gating techniques
* Supply voltage/performance
* 1.8V to 3.6 V operation
* 16-pin PDIP, 16-pin TSSOP, 20-pin SOIC, 28-pin SOIC, and 32-pin LQFP package options
* -40°C to 85°C operation

Pricing and availability
Samples of the QE8 devices in a 32-pin LQFP package are available now. The suggested resale price for the QE8 devices in 10,000-piece quantities starts at $1.15 (USD).

The DEMO9S08QE8 demonstration kit is available now at a suggested resale price of $69 (USD). The kit includes a base board, DC9S08QE8 daughter card, software and demos for an enhanced out-of–the-box experience to help make the QE8 solutions easy to learn and use. Developers who already have the DEMOQE128 in hand can order the DC9S08QE8 daughter card independently at a suggested resale price as low as $10 USD.

For more information about the QE8 products and additional low-power development tools and resources, visit


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