All images courtesy of STMicroelectronics
When it comes to microcontrollers, price and functionality never seem to go hand in hand but STMicroelectronics has released a new microcontroller, the STM8S001, to try to do just that.
Housed in an 8-pin SOIC package, the new microcontroller really packs a punch with 16MHz advances STM8 core with Harvard architecture and three-stage pipeline, an extended instruction set, up to 8KB of Flash memory, 1KB of RAM, and 128 bytes of EEPROM storage. The microcontroller has a wide voltage supply range of 2.95V to 5.5V, contains an internal oscillator (but can use an external oscillator), and has several power management modes.
Internal diagram of the STM8S001. Image extracted from the datasheet. Click to enlarge
Of course, these features are found in most microcontrollers. What differentiates the STM8S001 from others is its many peripherals, despite being incredibly small.
Some of these peripherals include UART (SmartCard, IrDA, LIN Master mode), SPI (up to 8Mbit/s), and I2C (up to 400Kbit/s). Also included in the STM8S001 is a three-channel ADC module with a 10-bit resolution to ±1 LSB which also has a scan mode and analog watchdog. For those who do not know, an analog watchdog is a system where two thresholds can be programmed in and, if the ADC reading falls outside the threshold range, then an interrupt is fired.
The STM8S001 also comes with three timers, an auto wakeup timer, and two watchdog timers (one window and one independent). The three timers consist of an advanced 16-bit timer with channels and outputs, a 16-bit generic purpose timer with three channels (IC, OC, or PWM), and a single 8-bit basic timer with 8-bit pre-scaler.
Some designers may, however, want more out of their microcontrollers than the STM8S001 can provide. This is not problem as STMicroelectronics also have other ICs in the same family with different packages and memory sizes:
- STM8S003F3 – TSSOP 20
- STM8S003K3 – LQFP 32
- STM8S005C6 – LQFP 32 32KB FLASH 2KB RAM
- STM8S007C8 – LQFP 48 64KB FLASH 6KB RAM
The different devices in the STM8S family – Image STMicroelectronics
So what else makes this microcontroller interesting?
The STM8S001 has been specifically aimed at mass production products that require basic MCU functionalities and competitive pricing. As of now, you can pick up a single STM8S001 for as little as $0.50 in the US (37p in the UK) but larger quantities (1000+) will drop that price to $0.30 (23p in the UK) apiece. But this price is not just advantageous for production as the microcontroller comes in a SOIC 8 package which makes it suitable for prototyping (even on matrix board).
With all these features in such a small package, where could you expect to use such a microcontroller? Example industries that would benefit from such a product include industrial controllers, PC peripherals, toys, household appliances, disposable electronics, chargers, sensors, IoT devices (if coupled with a Wi-Fi module such as the ESP8266), and personal electronics.
With a single wire debugging system, all of its peripherals, and its STM8 core, this microcontroller could be the next mainstream chip for basic MCU applications.