Texas Instruments Puts an Arm Cortex-M0+ in Your Project for Just $0.39, with Its MSPM0L and MSPM0G

With the entry-level parts costing $0.39 in bulk, TI is hoping its latest Arm Cortex-M0+ microcontrollers will find broad use.

Gareth Halfacree
11 months agoHW101

Texas Instruments has announced a new microcontroller range which puts an Arm Cortex-M0+ core in a design starting at just $0.39 per chip — in volume quantities, of course: the MSPM0 family.

"TI is building the industry’s most comprehensive portfolio of Arm Cortex-M0+ based MCUs — expanding an already extensive semiconductor offering with options for general-purpose designs," says TI's Vinay Agarwal of the launch. "Our new MCUs provide the flexibility our customers need to enhance the sensing and control capabilities of their systems while cutting cost, complexity and design time."

Previse specifications vary across the range, but the MSPM0 all have in common their core: an Arm Cortex-M0+, which runs from 32MHz on the entry-level MSPM0L to 80MHz on the higher-end MSPM0G. The MSPM0L, described as an "entry level" part by TI, includes 4kB of static RAM (SRAM) and up to 64kB of on-chip flash memory; the MSPM0G ups this to 32kB of SRAM and up to 128kB of flash.

The two families differ in more than memory capacity and clock speed, too. The MSPM0L includes a 12-bit analog to digital converter (ADC) offering a sample rate of one megasamples per second (1MSPS); the MSPM0G can be specified with a dual 14-bit ADC running at 250 kilosamples per second (KSPS), a dual 12-bit ADC running at 4MSPS, and a 12-bit 1MSPS digital-to-analog converter (DAC) to go in the opposite direction.

The MSPM0G family also brings with it optional support for Controller Area Network (CAN) bus operation, offering CAN 2.0A, CAN 2.0B, and CAN-FD compatibility at data rates of up to 5Mbps — a feature wholly missing from the entry-level MSPM0L. For those looking to trial the parts, meanwhile, TI has announced two LaunchPad development kits: the LP-MSPM0L1306, with an external ambient light sensor, Pulse Width Modulated (PWM) RGB LED, an an external temperature sensor; and the # LP-MSPM0G3507, with all of the aforementioned features plus an external buffer to demonstrate the chip's high-speed ADC running at 4MHz.

The biggest selling point of the family, though, is pricing. The lowest-spec version of the 32MHz MSPM0L is priced at just $0.39 per chip in 1,000-unit quantities — making it even cheaper than Raspberry Pi's similarly Arm Cortex-M0+ powered and keenly-priced RP2040, which admittedly offers two significantly faster cores, smart Programmable Input/Output (PIO) blocks, and additional memory for $0.70 per chip in 3,400-unit quantities.

More information on the new parts is available on the Texas Instruments website, along with links to request one or both of the LaunchPad development kits.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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