Triple-Output Power Supplies Feature Modern Interfaces

Keysight Technologies has announced the introduction of the E36300 Series triple-output programmable DC power supplies. With a large color display, intuitive user interface, modern device connections via LAN (LXI, USB and optional GPIB), the E36300 matches the performance of more expensive system power supplies. The E36300 Series’ low “normal mode” noise specifications assure quality power for precision circuitry applications, enabling engineers to power their designs with confidence. In addition, the power supplies are acoustically quiet. Each model provides excellent line/load regulation of 0.01 percent, fast transient response time of less than 50 ms, low-range current measurement, and over-voltage, over-current and over-temperature protection to prevent damage to the device under test.

Keysight Technologies-E36300

Keysight’s BenchVue software supports the E36300 Series, enabling control of power supplies to set parameters and status alerts, visualize power output, and log changing voltage and current over time. The included Test Flow capabilities let users quickly automate power-supply setups and measurements into test sequences. The E36300 Series is available to order now. The list price starts at $1,100.

Keysight Technologies |

USB Microphone Array Serves Voice-Activated Applications

The new miniDSP UMA-8 is a high-performance yet low-cost multichannel USB microphone array built around XMOS multicore technology, designed for voice-recognition application development. Seven high-performance MEMS microphones are configured in a circular arrangement to provide high-quality voice capture for a wide range of applications. Leveraging the onboard DSP processing, the UMA-8 supports voice algorithms including beamforming, noise reduction, acoustic echo cancellation, and de-reverb.

miniDSPUMA 8BoardFlight

Developed with applications in voice-activated control, smart assistants, robotics, conferencing, and more in mind, the UMA-8 pocket-size platform targets both DIYers and the OEM market, and was engineered for flexibility in firmware, software and hardware. For advanced users, full control and configuration of the DSP array processing parameters are available with a real-time GUI. This can be used to fine tune the various algorithms: acoustic echo cancellation, noise reduction, voice activation detect, and so on, dramatically improving voice pickup.

The UMA-8 costs $95. Step-by-step application notes are available for setup and configuration of the UMA-8 with the most common smart assistants currently available, including Amazon Alexa Voice + Raspberry Pi, Microsoft Cortana, and Apple Siri. miniDSP will be expanding those application notes in the future.

miniDSP |

Renesas New R9J02G012 Controller Enables Device-to-Device Authentication in Support of Safer USB Power Delivery Ecosystem

Renesas Electronics announced its new R9J02G012 USB Power Delivery (USB PD) controller intended for use in a wide range of USB Power Delivery products employing direct current (DC) power including AC adapters, PCs, smartphones, other consumer and office equipment, and toys. The new R9J02G012 supports both USB Power Delivery Rev. 3.0 (USB PD 3.0) and USB Type-C Authentication Rev 1.0, which enables device-to-device authentication.

The demand for fast charging mobile devices is growing, driving increased demand for high DC power delivery (e.g. 100W). Previously, system manufacturers frequently implemented proprietary fast-charging methods using USB Micro-B connectors. However, with recent smartphone charging/battery incidents, it is critical to offer a safe ecosystem of USB PD compatible products. The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF), an industry-leading technology consortium, has standardized the following specifications to provide open, unified and interoperable technologies to fulfill these market needs:

1) USB Type-C Rev 1.2 Specification: For simpler, easier physical connection of cables, chargers and devices

2) USB Power Delivery Rev 3.0 Specification: For higher power delivery protocols with additional performance, safety and upgradability features like PD firmware update

3) USB Type-C Authentication Rev 1.0 Specification: For device-to-device authentication allowing system manufacturers to implement additional charging policies for trusted high-power charging over USB Type-C

As a long-time supporting member and a board member for USB Implementers Forum, Renesas has adopted all three standards. The new R9J02G012, introduced during Computex Taipei 2017, is a flexible, small-package USB PD controller for USB Type-C port control on any USB PD devices. All connecting ports to these USB PD devices with the R9J02G012 will be able to electronically verify and trust its authenticity based on the certificates and public key infrastructure (PKI) defined in the USB Type-C Authentication specification. This mechanism allows system manufacturers to implement policies to examine the genuine origin of the connected PD devices such as cables and chargers before a high-power charging of (e.g., 20V at 3A) is executed.

The R9J02G012 integrates support for the USB PD 3.0 and USB Type-C Authentication standards in a single package, where previously each required a separate chip. It is available in an easy-to-mount QFN package as well as the more compact BGA package, reducing the mounting area in cables or electronic devices. The board mounting area is less than 50 percent the area required when using the existing Renesas R9A02G011.

The R9J02G012 also supports the Power Delivery Firmware Update (PDFU) Specification, Revision 1.0. This optional PD feature is an open standard enabling firmware updates of the device via a USB Type-C cable.

Samples of the R9A02G011 are available from June 2017. Mass production is scheduled to begin in the beginning of January 2018. Renesas plans to expand its range of reference designs for applications such as USB Type-C power banks and mobile batteries by combining the R9J02G012 with power products from Renesas and Intersil Corporation, which was acquired by Renesas in February 2017. With the introduction of the R9J02G012, system manufacturers can easily construct a trusted power charging ecosystem of USB PD products based on the USB PD and USB Type-C Authentication standards.

Tracealyzer 3.1 Offers Support for Trace Streaming Over USB

Percepio AB recently released Tracealyzer 3.1, which is a trace tool that supports RTOS trace using just a standard USB cable. You can increase your development speed by using Tracealyzer for debugging, validation, profiling, documentation, and training. Percepio-Tracealyzer

The trace recorder library is now easier to configure for streaming over custom interfaces, and includes support for USB streaming on STM32. (It can be adapted for other microcontrollers.) USB offers excellent performance for RTOS tracing and over 600 KB/s has been measured on an STM32 using USB 2, several times more than required. Other stream ports include TCP/IP and SEGGER J-Link debug probes. Tracealyzer 3.1 can also receive trace streams via Windows COM ports (e.g., from USB CDC connections), UART connections, or any virtual COM port provided by other target interfaces.

Tracealyzer 3.1 can identify memory leaks in systems that use dynamic memory allocation. It can record memory allocation events (e.g. malloc, free) from multiple operating systems, and it can display such allocations that have not been released. Since the memory allocation events are linked to the task trace, you quickly find the context of the allocation and investigate the problem. The recorder library simplifies integration and now provides a common API for both streaming and snapshot recording.


Source: Percepio AB


New USB Micromodule Transceiver Protects Against High Voltages

Linear Technology Corp. recently introduced the LTM2894 USB µModule (micromodule) reinforced isolator that guards against ground-to-ground voltage differentials and large common-mode transients. With a rugged interface and internal isolation, the LTM2894 is well suited for implementing USB in harsh environments where protection from high voltages is needed.LTM2894

The LTM2894’s features, specs, and benefits:

  • Isolated USB Transceiver: 7,500 VRMS for 1 minute
  • USB 2.0 Full sspeed and low speed compatible
  • Auto-configuration of USB bus speed
  • 4.4-to-36 V VBUS and VBUS2 opperating range
  • 3.3-V LDO Output supply signal references: VLO, VLO2
  • 50-kV/µs Common mode transient immunity
  • ±20-kV HBM ESD on USB interface pins
  • 1414 VPEAK Maximum continuous working voltage
  • 17.4-mm Creepage distance
  • 22 mm × 6.25 mm BGA Package

Source: Linear Technology

New USB 3.0 UVC Class Bridge ICs

FTDI Chip recently introduced a new series of USB 3.0 UVC class bridge ICs. The FT602 devices support streaming of video from HD camera equipment. Imaging systems that once could only deliver low-resolution material can now have improved video quality while still running at 60-fps frame rates.FTDIPR74 FTDI

The FT602 devices’ characteristics, benefits, and specs:

  • Improved performance while viewing captured imaging data via standard UVC-enabled hardware and common media player platforms
  • Plug-and-play implementationl; custom drivers aren’t required
  • Complements FTDI’s FT600 and FT601 capable of providing both USB 3.0 SuperSpeed (5 Gbps) and USB 2.0 High Speed (480 Mbps) interfacing
  • Key applications: surveillance/security, machine vision, home/building automation, metrology, and real-time microscopy

Source: FTDI Chip

USBXpress Controller for Simplified USB Connectivity

Silicon Labs recently added new lower-power member to its line of USBXpress bridge devices. The CP2102N USB controller provides a simpler faster way to add USB connectivity to your embedded designs. Offering advanced functionality in QFN packages as compact as 3 mm × 3 mm, the CP2102N is intended for a variety of portable, space-constrained applications, such as USB dongles, gaming controllers, and wearable medical devices.USBXpress SiliconLabs


The CP2102N USBXpress feaures and specs include:

  • Data transfer rates up to 3 Mbaud
  • A low active current of less than 10 mA
  • Remote wake-up capability
  • USB battery charger detection capability (USB BCS 1.2) for detecting the type of charger connected to the system
  • Crystal-less operation and integrated regulator to reduce bill of materials cost
  • Small-footprint package options: 3 mm × 3 mm QFN20, 4 mm × 4 mm QFN24, and 5 mm × 5 mm QFN28
  • Royalty-free Virtual COM port drivers
  • Easy-to-use software tools including Xpress Configurator

Prices for the CP2102N begin at $0.91 in 10,000-unit quantities. The CP2102N-EK evaluation kit costs $25.

Source: Silicon Labs

IEC Adopts USB Type-C, USB Power Delivery, & USB 3.1 Specs

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) recently announced that IEC has formally adopted the latest USB-IF specifications for high-speed data delivery and enhanced usages for device charging. In particular, the USB Type-C Cable and Connector, USB Power Delivery and USB 3.1 (SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps) specifications. These specifications define a truly single-cable solution for audio/video, data, and power delivery.

The standards are expected to advance global action on reducing e-waste and improving the reusability of power supplies with a range of electronic devices. The IEC approach for ongoing standardization work in this space is driven by the ultimate goals of increasing external power supply re-usability, supporting consumer convenience, maintaining product reliability and safety, and providing for future technology innovations. In addition, widespread adoption of the resulting International Standards will help to reduce the encroachment of poorly designed or manufactured aftermarket substitutes which may affect the operation of electronic devices in compliance with regulatory requirements.USB

The IEC specification numbers :

  • IEC 62680-1-3 (USB Type-C)
  • IEC 62680-1-2 (USB PD)
  • IEC 62680-3-1 (USB 3.1)

The USB Type-C specification defines the physical USB Type-C cable and connector form factor to facilitate thinner and sleeker product designs, enhance usability and provide a growth path for performance enhancements for future versions of USB.

USB Power Delivery was developed to provide flexible, bi-directional power capabilities by enabling faster charging and increased power levels up to 100W. The USB Power Delivery specification defines standardized features that support the global adoption of interoperable power supplies, helping to reduce electronic waste and increase re-usability of adapters and chargers for consumer electronics.

USB 3.1 enables speeds up to 10 Gbps, supporting audio/video for USB hosts, hubs, and devices. Combined with USB Type-C, USB 3.1 and USB Power Delivery define a truly single-cable solution for audio/video, data and power delivery, building on the existing global ecosystem of USB/IEC 62680 series of International Standards compliant devices.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) brings together 166 countries, representing 98% of the world population and 96% of world energy generation, and close to 15,000 experts who cooperate on the global, neutral and independent IEC platform to ensure that products work everywhere safely with each other. The IEC is the world’s leading organization that prepares and publishes globally relevant International Standards for the whole energy chain, including all electrical, electronic and related technologies, devices and systems. The IEC also supports all forms of conformity assessment and administers four Conformity Assessment Systems that certify that components, equipment and systems used in homes, offices, healthcare facilities, public spaces, transportation, manufacturing, explosive environments and energy generation conform to them.

IEC work covers a vast range of technologies: power generation (including all renewable energy sources), transmission, distribution, Smart Grid & Smart Cities, batteries, home appliances, office and medical equipment, all public and private transportation, semiconductors, fiber optics, nanotechnology, multimedia, information technology, and more. It also addresses safety, EMC, performance, and the environment.

Source: International Electromechanical Commission

All-in-One Comprehensive Power Delivery Compliance Tester

Saelig Company recently announced the MQP Packet-Master USB-PDT all-in-one comprehensive Power Delivery Compliance Tester. Intended for testing protocol, measuring transmitter signal quality, receiver quality and interference rejection, and power load testing, the USB-PDT s a complete compliance tester and development tool for USB power delivery, incorporating analyzer, exerciser, compliance tester, PD VBUS generator, PD VBUS load, VBUS voltage, and current monitor functions. The unit performs comprehensive PHY, protocol and power compliance tests on PD devices, and PHY and protocol tests on PD cable marker chips.Saelig usb pdt

The base unit, which incorporates a plug-in module design, comes with GraphicUSB, an easy-use graphical Windows application for driving and reporting on the compliance tests and capturing and displaying every detail of power delivery interactions. “Power Delivery” is a specification allowing USB ports to provide power in a more flexible and adaptable way. The industry standard BMC version uses two-way signaling on the CC wire of a USB C-cable. The Packet-Master USB-PDT behaves as one end of a power delivery link. It can emulate the behavior of an initial Downstream Facing Port (DFP) or Upstream Facing Port (UFP) in controlled ways, and can confirm the responses of the connected Unit Under Test (UUT). It is also designed to perform all the required protocol and PHY Compliance Tests on Electronic Cable Markers.

The Packet-Master USB-PDT’s plug-in module design concept has the following advantages for connecting test devices:

  • USB-PD connectors can be damaged by handling. If a connector becomes damaged, you can simply replace the plug-in module.
  • The Type-C receptacle on the plug-in is itself a user-replaceable item.
  • Different connector styles are available for USB-PD use. Swapping plug-in modules provides the flexibility required.

Designed USB experts MQP Electronics, the USB-PDT will be available from Saelig in Q1 2016.

Source: Saelig Company

New Dual-Channel USB Port Power Controller

Microchip Technology recently expanded its programmable USB-port power controller portfolio with the dual-channel UCS2112. This UCS2112 port power controller supports two ports, with eight programmable continuous current limits for each port, ranging from 0.53 to 3 A for faster charging times at higher currents. You can use it as is or with USB hubs to create a complete charging or USB communication system.Microchip UCS2112


The UCS2112 port power controller is supported by Microchip’s new $140 UCS2112 Evaluation Board. The UCS2112 is available for sampling and volume production in a 20-pin QFN package. Pricing starts at $1.80 each, in 5,000-unit quantities. Microchip Eval Board USC21212

Source: Microchip Technology

Evaluation Boards for SuperSpeed USB-to-FIFO Bridge ICs

FTDI recently launched a new family of evaluation/development modules to encourage the implementation of its next-generation USB interfacing technology. Its FT600/1Q USB 3.0 SuperSpeed ICs are in volume production and backed up by the UMFT60XX offering. The family comprises four models that provide different FIFO bus interfaces and data bit widths. With these modules, the operational parameters of FT600/1Q devices can be fully assessed and interfacing with external hardware undertaken, such as FPGA platforms.

At 78.7 mm × 60 mm, the UMFT600A and UMFT601A each have a high-speed mezzanine card (HSMC) interface with 16-bit-wide and 32-bit-wide FIFO buses, respectively. The UMFT600X and UMFT601X measure 70 mm × 60 mm and incorporate field-programmable mezzanine card (FMC) connectors with 16-bit-wide and 32-bit-wide FIFO buses, respectively.

The HSMC interface is compatible with most Altera FPGA reference design boards, while the FMC connector delivers the same functionality in relation to Xilinx boards. Fully compatible with USB 3.0 SuperSpeed (5 Gbps), USB 2.0 High Speed (480 Mbips), and USB 2.0 Full Speed (12 Mbps) data transfer, the UMFT60xx modules support two parallel slave FIFO bus protocols with an achievable data burst rate of around 400 MBps. The multi-channel FIFO mode can handle up to four logic channels. It is complemented by the 245 synchronous FIFO mode, which is optimized for more straightforward operation.

Source: FTDI

High-Speed, Conditioned Measurements with Channel-to-Channel Isolation

Measurement Computing Corp. recently announced the release of the SC-1608 Series of USB and Ethernet data acquisition devices. The series features analog signal conditioning that enables you to measure voltage, thermocouple, RTD, strain, frequency, and current. Isolated analog output and solid-state relays make it a good solution for systems requiring flexible conditioning and low cost per channel.MCC-SC-1608-Series

There are four devices in the SC-1608 Series with sample rates up to 500 ksps. Each device accommodates up to eight 8B isolated analog signal conditioning modules and eight solid state relay modules. Up to two isolated analog outputs are available on some models. Signal conditioning modules are sold separately.

Microsoft Windows software options for the SC-1608 include DAQami and TracerDAQ to display and log data, along with comprehensive support for C, C++, C#, Visual Basic, and Visual Basic .NET. Support is also included for DASYLab and NI LabVIEW. UL for Android provides programming support for Android devices. Open-source Linux drivers are also available.

The SC-1608 Series costs $999.

Source: Measurement Computing Corp.

USB-to-FPGA Communications: A Case Study of the ChipWhisperer-Lite

Sending data from a computer to an FPGA is often required. This might be FPGA configuration data, register settings, or streaming data. An easy solution is to use a USB-connected microcontroller instead of a dedicated interface chip, which allows you to offload certain tasks into the microcontroller.

In Circuit Cellar 299 (June 2015), Colin O’Flynn writes:

Often your FPGA-based project will require computer communication and some housekeeping tasks. A popular solution is the use of a dedicated USB interface chip, and a soft-core processor in the FPGA for housekeeping tasks.

For an open-source hardware project I recently launched, I decided to use an external USB microcontroller instead of a dedicated interface chip. I suspect you’ll find a lot of useful design tidbits you can use for yourself—and, because it’s open source, getting details of my designs doesn’t involve industrial espionage!

The design is called the ChipWhisperer-Lite (see Photo 1). This device is a training aid for learning about side-channel power analysis of cryptographic implementations. Side-channel power analysis uses measurements of small power variations during execution of the cryptographic algorithms to break the implementation of the algorithm.

Photo 1: This shows the ChipWhisperer-Lite, which contains a Xilinx Spartan 6 LX9 FPGA and Atmel SAM3U2C microcontroller. The remaining circuitry involves the power supplies, ADC, analog processing, and a development device which the user programs with some cryptographic algorithm they are analyzing.

Photo 1: This shows the ChipWhisperer-Lite, which contains a Xilinx Spartan 6 LX9 FPGA and Atmel SAM3U2C microcontroller. The remaining circuitry involves the power supplies, ADC, analog processing, and a development device which the user programs with some cryptographic algorithm they are analyzing.

In a previous article, “Build a SoC Over Lunch” (Circuit Cellar 289, 2014), I made the case for using a soft-core processing in an FPGA. In this article I’ll play the devil’s advocate by arguing that using an external microcontroller is a better choice. Of course the truth lies somewhere in between: in this example, the requirement of having a high-speed USB interface makes an external microcontroller more cost-effective, but this won’t always be the case.

This article assumes you require computer communication as part of your design. There are many options for this. The easiest from a hardware perspective is to use a USB-Serial converter, and many projects use such a system. The downside is a fairly slow interface, and the requirement of designing a serial protocol.

A more advanced option is to use a USB adapter with a parallel interface, such as the FTDI FT2232H. These can achieve very high-speed data rates—basically up to the limit of the USB 2.0 interface. The downside of these options is that it still requires some protocol implemented on your FPGA for many applications, and it has limited extra features (such as if you need housekeeping tasks).

The solution I came to is the use of a USB microcontroller. They are widely available from most vendors with USB 2.0 high-speed (full 480 Mbps data rate) interfaces, and allow you to perform not only the USB interface, but the various housekeeping tasks that your system will require. The USB microcontroller will also likely be around the same price (or possibly cheaper) than the equivalent specialized interface chip.

When selecting a microcontroller, I recommend finding one with an external memory bus interface. This external memory bus is normally designed to allow you to map devices such as SRAM or DRAM into the memory space of the microcontroller. In our case we’ll actually be mapping FPGA registers into the microcontroller memory space, which means we don’t need any protocol for communication with the FPGA.


Figure 1: This figure shows the basic connections used for memory-mapping the FPGA into the microcontroller memory space. Depending on your requirements, you can add some additional custom lines, such as a flag to indicate different FPGA register banks to use, as only a 9-bit address bus is used in this example.

I selected an Atmel SAM3U2C microcontroller, which has a USB 2.0 high-speed interface. This microcontroller is low-cost and available in TQFP package, which is convenient if you plan on hand assembling prototype boards. The connections between the FPGA and microcontroller are shown in Figure 1.

On the FPGA, it is easy to map this data bus into registers. This means that to configure some feature in the FPGA, you can just directly write into a register. Or if you are transferring data, you can read from or write to a block-RAM (BRAM) implemented in the FPGA.

Check out Colin’s ChipWhisperer-Lite KickStarter Video:

New USB3.0 Smart Hub Family

Microchip Technology recently announced  the USB5734/44, a USB3.0 Smart Hub family that enables host and device port swapping, I/O bridging, and other serial communication interfaces. The USB5734 and USB5744 devices feature an integrated microcontroller that creates new functionality for USB hubs while lowering overall BOM costs and reducing software complexity.MicrochipUSB5734

The new USB3.0 Smart hubs enable an upstream host controller to communicate to numerous types of external peripherals beyond the USB connection through direct bridging from USB to I2C, SPI, UART, and GPIO interfaces. This eliminates the need for an additional external microcontroller, while providing improved control from the USB host hardware.

Microchip’s FlexConnect technology enables the USB5734 Smart Hub to dynamically swap between a USB host and a USB device through hardware or software system commands giving the new USB host access to downstream resources. The FlexConnect technology can also switch common downstream resources between two different USB hosts. Incorporating FlexConnect into a system simplifies the overall software requirements of the primary host, as class drivers and application software stay local to the Device-turned-Host.

Available 56-pin, 7 x 7 mm package, the USB5744 is the industry’s smallest USB3.0 Hub for applications where board space is important. You can use the USB5734 and USB5744 USB3.0 controller hubs for a variety of applications (e.g., computing, embedded, medical, industrial, and networking markets).

The USB5734 and USB5744 are supported by Microchip’s $399 USB 3.0 Controller Hub Evaluation Board (EVB-USB5734) and $299 USB 3.0 Small Form Factor Controller Hub Evaluation Board (EVB-USB5744). The former includes mezzanine cards that can be used as preset application configurations for easy testing and development of a USB5734 system.

The USB5734 is available in 64-pin QFN (9 × 9 mm) packages starting at $4.20 each in 10,000-unit quantities. The USB5744 is available in 56-pin QFN (7 × 7 mm) packages starting at $3.75 each in 10,000-unit quantities.

Source: Microchip Technology

Happy Gecko MCU Family Simplifies USB Connectivity for IoT Apps

Silicon Labs recently introduced new energy-friendly USB-enabled microcontrollers (MCUs). Part of its EFM32 32-bit MCU portfolio, the new Happy Gecko MCUs are designed to deliver the lowest USB power drain in the industry, enabling longer battery life and energy-harvesting applications. Based on the ARM Cortex-M0+ core and low-energy peripherals, the Happy Gecko family simplifies USB connectivity for a wide range of Internet of Things (IoT) applications including smart metering, building automation, alarm and security systems, smart accessories, wearable devices, and more.SiliconLabsEFM32

Silicon Labs developed the Happy Gecko family to address the rising demand for cost-effective, low-power USB connectivity solutions. With more than 3 billion USB-enabled devices shipping each year, USB is the fastest growing interface for consumer applications and is also gaining significant traction in industrial automation. In today’s IoT world, developers have discovered that adding USB interfaces to portable, battery-powered connected devices can double the application current consumption. Silicon Labs’ Happy Gecko MCUs provide an ideal energy-friendly USB connectivity solution for these power-sensitive IoT applications.

Happy Gecko USB MCUs feature an advanced energy management system with five energy modes enabling applications to remain in an energy-optimal state by spending as little time as possible in active mode. In deep-sleep mode, Happy Gecko MCUs have an industry-leading 0.9-μA standby current consumption (with a 32.768-kHz RTC, RAM/CPU state retention, brown-out detector and power-on-reset circuitry active). Active-mode power consumption drops down to 130 µA/MHz at 24 MHz with real-world code (prime number algorithm). The USB MCUs further reduce power consumption with a 2-µs wakeup time from Standby mode.

Like all EFM32 MCUs, the Happy Gecko family includes the Peripheral Reflex System (PRS) feature, which greatly enhances overall energy efficiency. The six-channel PRS monitors complex system-level events and allows different MCU peripherals to communicate autonomously with each other without CPU intervention. The PRS watches for specific events to occur before waking the CPU, thereby keeping the Cortex-M0+ core in an energy-saving standby mode as long as possible, reducing system power consumption and extending battery life.

Happy Gecko MCUs feature many of the same low-energy precision analog peripherals included in other popular EFM32 devices. These low-energy peripherals include an analog comparator, supply voltage comparator, on-chip temperature sensor, programmable current digital-to-analog converter (IDAC), and a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) with 350 μA current consumption at a 1 MHz sample rate. On-chip AES encryption enables the secure deployment of wireless connectivity for IoT applications such as smart meters and wireless sensor networks.

The Happy Gecko family’s exceptional single-die integration enables developers to reduce component count and bill-of-materials (BOM) cost. While typical USB connectivity alternatives require external components such as crystals and regulators, the highly integrated Happy Gecko MCUs eliminate nearly all of these discretes with a crystal-less architecture featuring a full-speed USB PHY, an on-chip regulator and resistors. Happy Gecko MCUs are available in a choice of space-saving QFN, QFP and chip-scale package (CSP) options small enough for use in USB connectors and thin-form-factor wearable designs.

The Happy Gecko family is supported by Silicon Labs’ Simplicity Studio development platform, which helps developers simplify low-energy design. The Simplicity Energy Profiler enables real-time energy profiling and debugging of code. The Simplicity Battery Estimator calculates expected battery life based on an application profile, energy modes and peripherals in use. The Simplicity Configurator provides a visual interface for MCU pin configuration, automatically generating initialization code. Code developed for other EFM32 MCUs can be reused with Happy Gecko applications. Developers can download Simplicity Studio and access Silicon Labs’ USB source code and software examples at no charge at

To help developers move rapidly from design idea to final product, the Happy Gecko family is supported by the ARM mbed ecosystem, which includes new power management APIs developed by Silicon Labs and ARM. These low-power mbed APIs are designed with low-energy application scenarios in mind, enabling rapid prototyping for energy-constrained IoT designs. ARM mbed APIs running on EFM32 MCUs automatically enable the optimal sleep mode based on the MCU peripherals in use, dramatically reducing system-level energy consumption. The Happy Gecko starter kit supports ARM mbed right out of the box. Silicon Labs has also launched mbed API support for Leopard, Giant, Wonder and Zero Gecko MCUs.  For additional ARM mbed information including access to mbed software, example code, services and the mbed community, visit

The Happy Gecko family includes 20 MCU devices providing an array of memory, package and peripheral options, as well as pin and software compatibility with Silicon Labs’s entire EFM32 MCU portfolio. Samples and production quantities of Happy Gecko MCUs are available now in 24-pin and 32-pin QFN, 48-pin QFP and 3 mm × 2.9 mm CSP packages. Happy Gecko MCU pricing in 10,000-unit quantities begins at $0.83. The Happy Gecko SLSTK3400A starter kit costs $29.

Source: Silicon Labs