November 13, 2012 AT 10:00 am

NXP goes after 8-bit with ARM Cortex M0+

I’ve been using NXP’s LPC chips forever in every available core (ARM7, ARM9, ARM Cortex M0/3/4), but their announcement today of their first Cortex M0+ based chips … the smallest, most power efficient core ARM has produced so far … actually surprised me.  They’re positioning this are a direct threat to the large, stable 8-bit market … which is a familiar marketing message, but they may have got it right this time.  DIP8 and TSSOP packages (easy to hand assemble) and $0.39 for a modern, efficient,  32-bit core with a huge tool and engineering ecosystem around it.  Them’s fightin’ words for sure.  Curious to see how this works out and if it pushes 8-bit to a smaller corner of the market, or if that segment is just never going to budge from their established habits.  Fun time to be an engineer, anyway!  You can read the details of the chips here.  But seriously.  $0.39.  Crazy talk, I say!


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7 Comments

  1. I just bought some in dip form and they weren’t .39 cents. Will something that cheap come with a warranty?

    Unfortunately, they won’t gain mainstream acceptance unless there is a teacher and a forum like this to promote them.

  2. Chuckz …I don’t know where you bought them from since they won’t be out for several months. :) I suspect you bought an LPC1114 in DIP package … it’s a nice chip as well, but not the same core. The LPC1114 is M0 … these LPC800 chips are M0+.

  3. What’s the Linux toolchain like? Anyone have any experience?

  4. GCC has excellent support for ARM — better than many other competitive embedded architectures in my opinion since it’s one of the most widely used and best understood.

    There are a number of pre-compiled toolchains for Linux, OSX and Windows. I tend to use Yagarto on Windows and OSX, but ARM started publishing their own toolchains as well for GCC with all three platforms.

    If you can write a makefile, though, Linux support is no problem.

  5. I’m browsing through the LPC81XM datasheet and came across the part on the internal comparator. It claims to have an integrated "32-stage voltage ladder" which I thought might be a 32-stage R-2R resistor ladder which would mean a 32-bit analog-to-digital capability. Alas, I think it ends up offering functional compatibility with a 5-bit ADC (e.g. 32 values).

    I think this is one thing that is missing from NXP’s offering: ADC capability. In some ways, it’s reasonable to expect a designer to prefer a parametrically-selected I2C ADC for jeir specific application, but I find it immensely convenient to have an ADC peripheral on-board for simple things like reading a temperature with a PTC resistor or getting input through a potentiometer.

    As such, I’ll likely stick with Microchip’s 8-pin PIC’s for the time being. (I happened to start with the PIC chips and am a hopeless romantic for the underdog [versus Atmel's AT-series, popularized in the Arduino]).

  6. It appears you can order the LPC812 on a NXP LPC800-Xpresso from Mouser. Well, pre-order.

  7. I wonder if there will ever be an Arduino core written for this. I am really into cheap – and simple. When I want to blink a few LEDs I don’t want to spend a week or two learning a new “tool chain”.

    Just my .02

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