Microchip unveils Arm-based PIC MCU making it easier to add Bluetooth LE connectivity

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Microchip is introducing its first Arm Cortex-M4F-based PIC microcontroller (MCU) family that looks to address wireless connectivity design challenges by integrating Bluetooth Low Energy functionality directly into one of a system’s most basic components.

Wireless connectivity is now a mandatory feature in many products but often increases the cost and complexity of system design since it generally must be added as part of the larger application.

“Our PIC32CX-BZ2 MCU family removes barriers that have made it difficult to bring wireless applications to market, from availability problems and complexity challenges to regulatory certification hurdles and long-term support concerns,” explained Steve Caldwell, vice president of Microchip’s wireless solutions business unit. “Our family tightly integrates wireless connectivity with an MCU that is built on our decades of specialized experience and backed by a vertical manufacturing approach that encompasses ICs, Microchip’s highly integrated software stacks, in-house module manufacturing and a customer-driven obsolescence practice.”

Microchip’s PIC32CX-BZ2 family includes System-on-Chip (SoC) devices as well as global regulatory-certified, RF-ready modules. In addition to Bluetooth Low Energy functionality, the family includes Zigbee stacks and Over the Air (OTA) update capabilities.

Hardware features include a 12-bit analogue to digital converter (ADC), multiple timer/counters for control (TCC) channels, an on-board encryption engine, and a broad set of interfaces to touch, CAN, sensor, display and other peripherals.

The family’s 1 MB of Flash memory can support large application codes, multiprotocol wireless stacks, and OTA updates, while AEC-Q100 Grade 1 (125 °C) qualified packages further simplify wireless connectivity integration where highly robust solutions are required.

The PIC32CX-BZ2 MCU family also simplifies development through Microchip’s MPLAB Harmony 32-bit embedded software development framework.

The MPLAB Code Configurator integration enables developers to begin prototyping quickly with the PIC32CX-BZ2 family using drag-and-drop auto code generation. Numerous application code examples are hosted on GitHub and linked through MPLAB Code Configurator and MPLAB Discover.

RF design with PIC32CX-BZ2 SoCs is simplified with the ecosystem’s chip-down reference design packages and wireless design check services.

In fact, customers with little to no RF expertise can benefit from Microchip’s WBZ451 modules as they pre-certified to multiple regulations around the world and feature an optimised on-board RF design.

In addition to the MPLAB Code Configurator, the MPLAB Harmony v3 framework includes numerous other tools and an ecosystem of debuggers, programmers, virtual sniffer, and compilers.

Other support includes GitHub demo applications and documentation, wireless design check services, and building blocks that walk developers through all the steps involved in the application development process. The PIC32CX-BZ2 family is supported by the PIC32CX-BZ2 and WBZ451 Curiosity Development Board.