Process instruments include the electronics required to measure process variables, such as temperature, pressure, level and flow, using a variety of sensors and methods. Power consumption in active mode is critical for these products, as most field instruments are powered though a 4-20mA current loop interface, which strongly limits the available power budget for the electronics. Process instruments must often be able to operate in hazardous areas, and cannot buffer energy.
Atmel® has become a leading supplier of microcontroller for the manufacturers of industrial process instruments.
Features and Benefits
- Atmel 32-bit microcontrollers can operate down to 1.62V and achieve sub 1mW/DMIPS power consumption figures.
- Process instruments often operate the microcontroller at low frequencies to reduce power consumption. Atmel has optimized the Flash read accesses in these conditions.
- The Atmel AVR 32-bit microcontroller and the Atmel ARM® Cortex™-M3 processor-based SAM3 family provide modern and efficient RISC architectures, supporting more complex signals.
- Embedded DSP functionalities (MAC, saturating arithmetic) and FPU, along with middleware libraries to support them, considerably simplify signal conditioning.
- Complex signal algorithms, field bus or industrial Ethernet support, functional safety test routines, and multi-language menus, require increasingly large embedded Flash support. Atmel offers 32-bit microcontrollers with embedded Flash up to 512KB.
- Atmel microcontrollers integrate dedicated hardware mechanisms to support the implementation of the IEC61508 safety standard. Learn more about Atmel microcontroller safety functions.
- Wireless communication is attractive for industrial sites with instruments dispersed over a large area. The Atmel wireless microcontroller product line provides the required hardware platform to build products compatible with the popular Wireless HART protocol. The Atmel best-in-class RF properties help increase range and make RF links more robust, yet highly efficient.
- The Atmel CryptoAuthentication™ family of hardware security products provides easy-to-implement, cost-effective and low standby power solutions for secure communication to/from process instruments.
The Atmel SAM3, SAM7 and the AVR UC3 32-bit families deliver a unique combination of low power and excellent signal processing capabilities.
- Low power consumption
- Efficient signal processing (DSP and FPU)
- Wide Flash size availability
- Sensor element and field bus connection
- Safety functions according to IEC61508
- Capacitive touch
- Wireless microcontroller
Overview of the Atmel Safety Features
| ||Features||Atmel SAM3 Family||Atmel AVR XMEGA Family||Atmel AVR UC3 Family|
|Code Integrity||Flash with write protection||Selectable flash regions||Application and boot section||Selectable flash regions|
|Dual Bank||Yes (SAM3U)|| || |
|Flash Checksum||CRC unit (SAM3S)||CRC Unit||Software|
|Watchdog||Running from an internal RC oscillator||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Lock function||Locked after first write||Locked per fuse||Key protected|
|Window mode||Yes||Yes||Yes (AVR UC3)|
|Software Runaway||Memory Protection Unit||Yes||No||Yes|
|Lock function for the IO register||Yes, using the MPU||Yes||Yes, using the MPU|
|Lock function for the Clock Configuration||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Lock Event System Configuration||N/A||Yes||Yes|
|Clock Failure||Start-up from internal RC oscillator||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Main clock failure detection||Yes (SAM3S)||Yes||Yes|
|Automatic switch to the internal RC||Yes (SAM3S)||Yes||Yes|
Atmel AVR and ARM Comparison
||AVR XMEGA 8/16-bit microcontroller
||AVR UC3 32-bit microcontroller
||Best-in-class 8/16-bit RISC hardware multiplier
||32-bit RISC with DSP support (Single cycle MAC, saturation)
||Cortex-M3 with MPU
||Temperature, Low-end Pressure & Flow
||Temperature, Pressure, Flow, Level, Analysis
||Temperature, Pressure, Flow, Level, Analysis
||Level, Flow, Liquid Analysis
[ + ] Wireless Thermostat with SAM4LC Reference Design
Abstract: This reference design is a complete wireless thermostat using Atmel ATSAM4LC microcontroller and AT86RF233 2.4GHz transceiver. The user interface consists of 6 touch buttons and a custom segment LCD with backlight. Users can change the thermostat settings for every day of the week, with a granularity of 6 hours. Communication with the HVAC system is done by ZigBee and the Atmel Lightweight Mesh stack.
- Temperature/Humidity/Ambient light sense capabilities
- FreeRTOS™ tickless implementation
- 6 capasitive touch buttons (Atmel QTouch Library)
- ZigBee compliant RF communication (Atmel Lightweight Mesh)
- Atmel AT86RF233 2.4GHz RF transceiver
- Ten-month life time with two AA alkaline batteries
[ + ] QTouch Robustness Reference Design
Abstract: This reference design demonstrates a robust capacitive touch user interface solution based on Atmel ATSAMD20 with Peripheral Touch Controller (PTC). The design allows users to easily apply Atmel QTouch technology to achieve best-in-class noise immunity and moisture tolerance in challenging environments with a high level of electromagnetic noise – ideal for harsh environments.
- IEC 61000-4-6 10V Conducted Immunity tolerant QTouch Safety Library
- IEC/UL 60730 Class B certified QTouch Safety Library firmware
- FMEA support
- Six self-capacitance buttons with Philipp™ Spring
- Four mutual-capacitance buttons
- One 8-channel mutual-capacitance slider
[ + ] Wireless SoC with RFMDs RF6505/6575/6555
Abstract: The reference design demonstrates a complete 2.4GHz ZigBee IEEE 802.15.4 based compliant radio transceiver solutions and conform to FCC CFR47 part 15. The Atmel wireless SoC reference design series (RFMDs RF6505/6575/6555) are developed by the partnership between RFMD and Atmel Corporation. The RFMD device increases transmit power and sensitivity.
- Output power: RF6505/ RF6575/ RF6555, +27dBm/ +22dBm/ +18dBm
- Low Harmonic Content
- Antenna Diversity
- Single differential bidirectional TX/RX interface
[ + ] ISM Band PCB Antenna Reference Design
Abstract: This reference design is to demonstrate a 915MHz/2.4GHz ISM band PCB antenna, which is compact and cost effective and can be easily integrated with corresponding ISM band transceivers like AT86RF212B/AT86RF233.
- Compact PCB Antennas for 915MHz and 2.4GHz ISM bands
- Easily integrate with Altium design and Gerber files
- Return Loss, Radiation Pattern, Gain, and Efficiency measurement results
[ + ] Wireless E-Paper Display Reference Design
Abstract: This reference design demonstrates a coin-cell operated wireless e-paper display solution based on Atmel ATmega2564RFR2 (IEEE 802.15.4 compliant). Pervasive Display’s e-paper consumes very little power as it can retain the image on the display even if power is removed. E-paper is easy to read due to high contrast and a 180 degree viewing angle. The design can be applied to long-life applications like medical display devices, smart tags, electronic shelf labels, barcode/QR codes, etc.
- E-Paper display
- Chip antenna based design
- IEEE 802.15.4 wireless connection
- Low power consumption
- Temperature sensing
Learn more about the Atmel solution Application Notes, Devices, and Tools and Software.