Herculean performance in a low-cost development kit: TI’s newest LaunchPad


 In a recent post about functional safety, ‘Better safe than sorry: The role of functional safety in our daily lives,’ the author presents a case for how functional safety is becoming critical for a variety of systems that touch our daily lives. From the cars we drive, to the elevators we ride, to the medical equipment we use, industry standards set functional safety requirements to minimize the risk from these systems.

System developers put in  a lot of effort to design, develop and certify end systems requiring functional safety. To ease the development of functional safety systems complying with ISO 26262 and IEC 61508 standards, Hercules™ microcontrollers (MCUs) offer hardware-integrated diagnostic features, along with supporting software and tools.

To further ease development with Hercules MCUs and make the functional safety-related features more accessible to a wider community of developers, today TI launched a new low-cost LaunchPad development kit. The kit expands TI’s LaunchPad ecosystem by adding two new tools for applications that rely on high performance.

Each LaunchPad is designed with our highest performance MCU yet, running dual ARM® Cortex®-R5F cached central processing units (CPUs) in lockstep at up to 330 MHz. The Launchpad also carries TI’s Precision PHYTER DP83630 Ethernet PHY, providing real-time synchronization for IEEE 1588 support. This LaunchPad presents a low-cost option for developers to evaluate Hercules MCUs and DP83630 Ethernet PHY to see if these Hercules MCUs meet their needs for their applications in industrial, automotive and other market segments.

The kit includes the LaunchPad development board with a USB debug cable and a quick start guide. For less than US$30, developers can get this feature-rich kit and start evaluation right out of the box using the pre-programmed safety demo and other downloadable software examples that include an Ethernet lwIP demo and a Wi-Fi® connectivity demo (based on SimpleLink™ Wi-Fi CC3100 BoosterPack).

Available in two versions, RM57Lx for industrial and TMS570LC43x for automotive applications, the kit is extremely easy to use just like other components in TI’s LaunchPad ecosystem. Both kits have two BoosterPack headers to add functionality using any number of compatible BoosterPacks.

Hercules RM57Lx and TMS570LC43x MCUs are suitable for performance-intense applications that require complex algorithms, real-time performance and floating-point processing. With CPU performance up to 330 MHz and a large amount of on-chip flash (up to 4 MB), these MCUs provide performance and memory headroom that customers may find compelling for their aerospace, railway, industrial and other programmable logic controller (PLC) applications.

The industrial Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging area that these kits and supporting software can serve. The Hercules MCU – coupled with Ethernet connectivity via integrated EMAC, and Internet connectivity via a companion CC3100 Wi-Fi module –  will be attractive for industrial IoT applications that require a reliable, high-performance MCU as the central controller in a simple data aggregator or an IoT gateway.

The kits are available for order now on TI eStore. Get one today!