Texas Instruments UK this week launched the TMS370 family of configurable eight-bit microcontrollers with on-chip options of EEPROM and analogue-to-digital conversion. Developed from the venerable and widely-used TMS7000 microprocontroller, the application-oriented controllers have a modular architecture that allows the development of application-specific versions using different on-chip function modules. They are based on a high performance CPU with modular bus, and are fabricated in 1.6 micron CMOS. There are six standard configurations available immediately – which the company claims will meet most design specifications – together with 16 function modules, including ROM, RAM, EEPROM, timers, plus the option to develop custom modules. The company also says that there are plans to introduce additional devices later this year. Texas will provide support if required, including a configurable in-circuit emulator, assembler/linker, design kit and application seminars. Designers also have access to prototyping tools known as form-factor emulators which have EEPROMS in place of program ROM. Texas believes that the main benefit of the TMS370 family will be where the application requires a specially configured device, where the designer will need only to specify the function modules needed. The TMS370 series resulted from a contract between Texas Instruments and Delco Electronics, part of the General Motors Group, five years ago. GM has been using them in vehicle production and a number of European custom developments are under way in automotive, telecommunications and industrial applications at the moment, however this is the first time that the TMS370 family has been available on the open market.
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