STMicroelectronics announced a new ultra-low-cost series of Flash microcontrollers (MCUs) intended for highly cost-sensitive products such as electric bicycles (ebikes), air conditioning, small appliances and sensors. The ST7FOX series includes devices with from 2 KB to 8 KB of on-chip Flash memory, and with eight to 32 pins, all of which are priced below the critical $0.50 threshold.
Part of the well-established and popular ST7 family of MCUs, built on an industry-standard 8-bit architecture, the new devices achieve their remarkably low unit cost with a simplified feature set, while maintaining the benefits of a robust and proven technology. ST7FOX operates at +5 V (plus or minus 10 %) power supply, and includes a relaxed RC oscillator which can be calibrated within the application.
The CISC (complex instruction set computer) architecture is a significant advantage for the production of compact code matching the small memory footprint of the family’s devices, with nested interrupt management and a variety of addressing modes in the core architecture simplifying high level language coding.
ST7FOX is designed to satisfy the increasing needs in the industry for reliable low-end and very low-cost MCUs for use in cost-critical applications. However its upgrade path to the easy-to-use ST7Lite family – itself a cost-effective solution – also enables manufacturers to build scalable product families to address broader markets.
The very low pricing enables designers to implement a microcontroller solution to replace electromechanical or logic-based control, and for the same cost as ROM devices this Flash-based family will ease inventory management and simplify the supply-chain.A free integrated development environment (IDE), including a C compiler, minimizes costs for developers.
Samples of ST7FOX are available now in: 8-pin DIP or SO-8 packaged devices with 2-Kbytes of Flash, and 32-pin DIP or LQFP devices with 4 Kb of Flash. All are priced at less than $0.50 in large quantities.