Author Topic: 3 cent MCU  (Read 4689 times)

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Online Mechatrommer

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #75 on: October 11, 2018, 10:14:46 pm »
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What IDE and compiler do they have? any app-notes? can it be done in C?
Very high-contrast, Black-background..
goto menu Help -> Color and it will toggle between black and white background (interesting notions as many others in the program we have to learn). being a Win XP/98/95 lover i kind of like it, esp the WinExplorer like folder tree in project/workspace view and old MDI parent/child style, not the modern multitabbed bullshit that i cannot resize and arrange the multi code view at will. well i cannot single step in the IDE it needs an ICE http://www.padauk.com.tw//upload/ICEmanual/PDK5S-ICE-UM(CN)v0.01.pdf it looks like a big thing  :-- if its not like in attached picture... well at least the have single step and step over menu, not like other OSS IDEs.

but on the pro side, they have a homegrown IDE (compiler linker integrated) not the other STCMCU series they have to use Keil IDE, but they have ISP SW (similar to OTP Writer i guess) and programming a STC chip doesnt require an ICE, just a cheap usb-uart module. so this whole China business is mixed good and bad experience.

ref:
http://www.padauk.com.tw/en/product/show.aspx?num=4&kind=41
http://www.padauk.com.tw/en/technical/index.aspx?kind=26
if something can select, how cant it be intelligent? if something is intelligent, how cant it exist?
 

Online cdev

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #76 on: October 12, 2018, 06:37:39 am »
Can normal people buy them in normal quantities somewhere and pay really little?

Small musical instruments and toys sound fun.
Displays for every conceivable voltage and current around you.

One could make up a little breakout board for them and go for it. Even the Blue Pill costs around $2 so thats a bit of a deterrent from some projects.. but $0.03 damn.

Bit bang USB 1 works, so, instant USB thangs.
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Online langwadt

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #77 on: October 12, 2018, 07:26:35 am »
Can normal people buy them in normal quantities somewhere and pay really little?

Small musical instruments and toys sound fun.
Displays for every conceivable voltage and current around you.

One could make up a little breakout board for them and go for it. Even the Blue Pill costs around $2 so thats a bit of a deterrent from some projects.. but $0.03 damn.

Bit bang USB 1 works, so, instant USB thangs.

lcsc.com

what project that isn't mass production or something where you wouldn't use a breakout anyway is deterred by $2 ?
 

Online cdev

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #78 on: October 12, 2018, 07:33:16 am »
Maybe I'm a thrifty person who likes to get a good deal? 

"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline splin

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #79 on: October 12, 2018, 08:08:59 am »
OTP programming methods not documented.Instruction set not documented.  (can't even tell how wide a "word" is !)

I don't know how big the I/O space is. I'm assuming 5 bits just like the directly addressable memory.
If it's limited to just this part then I get 6774 total instructions, which you could encode in 13 bits.

However someone posted part numbers for versions with 2K and 4K words of program space. That expands the number of instructions to 12918, which needs 14 bits.

From the PMS232 datasheet http://www.padauk.com.tw/upload/doc/PMC232,%20PMS232%20datasheet%20v0.03_EN.pdf

   "100 powerful instructions"
   "2Kx16 bits OTP program memory for both FPP units"

The PMS150c has 79 instructions. The 232 instruction set has most of the 150C instructions with additions - see the attached diff file - so while it's possible that the 150C has a shorter instruction width, it seems rather unlikely to me.
 

Offline PCB.Wiz

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #80 on: October 12, 2018, 12:55:40 pm »
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The IDE seems to have pretty extensive built-in "help"
So I've been experimenting...
  • wow, those "primitive" IDEs are "Zippy"!  (sigh.)
  • to get the "build" command to appear, create project rather than just a file.
  • The error messages suck are not what I'm used to.
  • The compiler output files are in an unknown format.
  • AFAICT, there's no "listing"...
  • ... Or simulator (wasn't really expecting one.)  The standard set of debug commands requires the ICE

Yes, OTP and poor docs, is a real time sink, so you really have to be expecting to use 100,000+ of these to bother.

The more appealing MCUs for modest volumes, at lcsc are the cheapest flash ones, and then, the cheapest flash with standard core.

eg Quite a few 8051's appear at the 20c region, and the CH551 (SO16) is 18c/2k (effectively free USB ?!)

A $1.80 breakout board, that appears to be download ready, is here : https://www.electrodragon.com/product/ch551-mini-dev-board-ch55x-series/

Code examples are here https://github.com/Edragon/WCH

- so far easier to get going with a 20c Flash MCU than a 3c OTP one.... :)
 
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Offline westfw

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #81 on: October 12, 2018, 01:46:23 pm »
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so far easier to get going with a 20c Flash MCU than a 3c OTP one.
meh.  "Easier" to give up a beer/soda for a week and buy those $1.50 "Pro mini" clones by the dozen.
"easy" isn't the point.
At least, I enjoy "look - they've managed to manufacture a really cheap chip, by being "different" (?) - can I deal with that different-ness, even if it's not technically "worth it"?
Gonna take one of those $0.10 OTP micros and combine it with a $0.10 EEPROM and make a BASIC Stamp that's cheaper than a stamp!  :-)
 

Offline PointyOintment

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #82 on: October 12, 2018, 03:14:31 pm »
Hackaday should run a contest for the most interesting thing that can be made for less than $1 per unit, or something.

Offline EEVblog

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #83 on: October 12, 2018, 04:57:19 pm »
The more appealing MCUs for modest volumes, at lcsc are the cheapest flash ones, and then, the cheapest flash with standard core.
eg Quite a few 8051's appear at the 20c region, and the CH551 (SO16) is 18c/2k (effectively free USB ?!)
A $1.80 breakout board, that appears to be download ready, is here : https://www.electrodragon.com/product/ch551-mini-dev-board-ch55x-series/
Code examples are here https://github.com/Edragon/WCH

That's pretty nice.
The CH551 is 18 cents in volume with 10K of Flash, USB, SPI, UART, cap touch, and an LDO and other stuff. Nice.
 
« Last Edit: October 12, 2018, 04:59:44 pm by EEVblog »
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #84 on: October 12, 2018, 07:35:17 pm »
The more appealing MCUs for modest volumes, at lcsc are the cheapest flash ones, and then, the cheapest flash with standard core.
eg Quite a few 8051's appear at the 20c region, and the CH551 (SO16) is 18c/2k (effectively free USB ?!)
A $1.80 breakout board, that appears to be download ready, is here : https://www.electrodragon.com/product/ch551-mini-dev-board-ch55x-series/
Code examples are here https://github.com/Edragon/WCH

That's pretty nice.
The CH551 is 18 cents in volume with 10K of Flash, USB, SPI, UART, cap touch, and an LDO and other stuff. Nice.
 

Are there any good free/cheap 8051 compilers ?
And good luck getting USB working on an MCU with Chinese-only data..
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Offline coppice

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #85 on: October 12, 2018, 07:53:37 pm »
Are there any good free/cheap 8051 compilers ?
Are there any good paid for 8051 compilers, after Microchip bought up and closed down Hitech?
And good luck getting USB working on an MCU with Chinese-only data..
Perhaps the ability to read would get you farther than luck. :)
 

Online mikeselectricstuff

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #86 on: October 12, 2018, 08:36:28 pm »
Are there any good free/cheap 8051 compilers ?
Are there any good paid for 8051 compilers, after Microchip bought up and closed down Hitech?
I though Keil were always the go-to people for 8051, or were they just the first?
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Offline coppice

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #87 on: October 12, 2018, 08:42:35 pm »
Are there any good free/cheap 8051 compilers ?
Are there any good paid for 8051 compilers, after Microchip bought up and closed down Hitech?
I though Keil were always the go-to people for 8051, or were they just the first?
Keil is the one people go to now Hitech has gone. A bit like people driving a Yugo when they couldn't keep up the payments on their MacLaren.

Keil isn't too awful is you keep yourself to a subset of C, and accept that you are writing for a maths and pointer challenged machine. If you want to take C source (protocol code being a common example) from a big machine it can produce some clunky results.
 

Offline hans

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #88 on: October 12, 2018, 09:13:51 pm »
I got the zeros right. Most new ARM MCUs being made today are in 180nm or 130nm. The finest processes you see used for MCUs right now are 65nm. Super fine geormetries don't work so well for most MCUs. The costs don't hit a sweet spot, and the processes leak too much for good sleep operation. The biggest incentive for going to 65nm has more to do with integrating RF than making a good MCU, which is why most general purpose MCUs are still in 180nm or 130nm.

It varies greatly.
New Nordic IoT chipsets are in 55nm: https://www.nordicsemi.com/eng/News/Press-Center/Press-Backgrounders/About-nRF52832
(ST) Cortex m7 chips mostly in 40nm
Many Cortex m4 chips in 90nm.

And then there are academic reports of Cortex m3/m4 chips consuming <10 uW/MHz: http://www.eas.uccs.edu/~mwickert/ece5655/lecture_notes/ARM/ece5655_chap2.pdf
https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8244245

Implemented in the later technologies, however these are often talking about a very simple "MCU" system. A lot of the power is going into bus/NoC infrastructures and clock/power domain crossing.

Note that these achievements are not done with the default cell library supplied by any chip foundry. I think all MCU manufacturers that are worth their money w.r.t. ultra low power chips create their own cell libraries alongside having dedicated architecture, synthesis and layout teams to optimize these specifications.
 

Offline coppice

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #89 on: October 12, 2018, 09:28:45 pm »
New Nordic IoT chipsets are in 55nm: https://www.nordicsemi.com/eng/News/Press-Center/Press-Backgrounders/About-nRF52832
That page is from 2015. That was about the time everyone was moving to 65nm or smaller for MCUs with 2.4GHz RF on board. Some were going for 45nm, but the leakage wasn't making for a very good sleep mode. I don't know how much that has changed in the last couple of years.
 

Online b_force

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #90 on: October 12, 2018, 10:10:49 pm »
3 cents is obviously not the complete story, unless you guys work for free and have no shipping + import costs etc

A new product means a different workflow, new set of bugs, a new learning curve, new stability tests etc
In the end that all means extra time = money.
Not to forget the assurance that it will always be in stock and availability.

Still an amazing price nonetheless.
"If you can't explain it simply (or at all), you don't understand it well enough." A. Einstein

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Online ali_asadzadeh

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #91 on: October 12, 2018, 11:14:31 pm »
I have a suggestion for padauk, buy one W25Q64FVSSIG flash which is a cheap 8MB flash for about 0.5USD from Taobao, and use a samurai katana to cut it into 8192 pieces and replace the fucking OTP memory with these slices, so you can increase your part cost by the 0.5USD/8192 - OTP memory price! :) ;) ^-^ ^-^ ^-^  bingo, problem solved! your price should remain under 4 cents! that's acceptable for us too :D
You can order parts from www.ASiDesigner.com
we are a wire-based company
 
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Online technix

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #92 on: October 13, 2018, 12:26:02 am »
I have a suggestion for padauk, buy one W25Q64FVSSIG flash which is a cheap 8MB flash for about 0.5USD from Taobao, and use a samurai katana to cut it into 8192 pieces and replace the fucking OTP memory with these slices, so you can increase your part cost by the 0.5USD/8192 - OTP memory price! :) ;) ^-^ ^-^ ^-^  bingo, problem solved! your price should remain under 4 cents! that's acceptable for us too :D
Padauk:

Maybe now is a chance to make available some low cost development tools: your chip in DIP-14, DIP-16 or DIP-20 package, with SRAM or Flash replacing the OTP ROM. The additional pins on the DIP package are used for a dedicated, standards-conforming JTAG interface. If you need a reference JTAG implementation, just grab a free one from OpenCores.

Also release documentation of the instruction set and the JTAG interface too to the community, no further support is usually needed as long as the document is written in good English. You don't need to bother with debug hardware as long as the JTAG implementation is standard and documented, since FTDI-based solution like the Intel USB Blaster, GPIO bit banging like Bus Pirate, and CMSIS-DAP based ones like ARM ULink 2 will work on almost any JTAG interfaces.

Enthusiasts will take the documentations, and contribute an assembler and code generation to LLVM, SDCC or GCC, contribute JTAG programming algorithm and interfacing code to OpenOCD, and debug support to GDB.

~~~~
 
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Offline PCB.Wiz

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #93 on: October 13, 2018, 08:54:56 am »
The more appealing MCUs for modest volumes, at lcsc are the cheapest flash ones, and then, the cheapest flash with standard core.
eg Quite a few 8051's appear at the 20c region, and the CH551 (SO16) is 18c/2k (effectively free USB ?!)
A $1.80 breakout board, that appears to be download ready, is here : https://www.electrodragon.com/product/ch551-mini-dev-board-ch55x-series/
Code examples are here https://github.com/Edragon/WCH

That's pretty nice.
The CH551 is 18 cents in volume with 10K of Flash, USB, SPI, UART, cap touch, and an LDO and other stuff. Nice.
 

Are there any good free/cheap 8051 compilers ?
And good luck getting USB working on an MCU with Chinese-only data..

SDCC is quite good, and IAR have a free version, IIRC good to 4k bytes. 
 SDCC example here : https://github.com/mogenson/ch551
 &  https://github.com/Blinkinlabs/ch554_sdcc

SiLabs include a free Keil compiler with their tool flows, and there are other languages like Turbo51 (pascal variant) etc

BASIC52 is still out there, and plenty of 8051 Assemblers too...

 

Offline SiliconWizard

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #94 on: October 13, 2018, 09:50:16 am »
SDCC is quite good, and IAR have a free version, IIRC good to 4k bytes. 
 SDCC example here : https://github.com/mogenson/ch551
 &  https://github.com/Blinkinlabs/ch554_sdcc

I second that, I've used SDCC for several years, years ago, to develop for and maintain Cypress FX1 and FX2-based products. And it was years ago, so I'm assuming SDCC only got better.

 

Online nctnico

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #95 on: October 13, 2018, 11:18:31 am »
3 cents is obviously not the complete story, unless you guys work for free and have no shipping + import costs etc

A new product means a different workflow, new set of bugs, a new learning curve, new stability tests etc
In the end that all means extra time = money.
Not to forget the assurance that it will always be in stock and availability.

Still an amazing price nonetheless.
I agree with this. Interesting to tinker with or for extreme high volume products but otherwise there is very little practical use when you take engineering time cost into account.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #96 on: October 13, 2018, 11:40:38 am »
I agree with this. Interesting to tinker with or for extreme high volume products but otherwise there is very little practical use when you take engineering time cost into account.
Unless you do more than one project with these chips. As with any chip family, the initial investment is the expensive bit. After that the gains should be better. This is no different in western chips.
 
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Offline hans

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #97 on: October 13, 2018, 07:03:35 pm »
Which is exactly why this only makes sense for large units (I would reckon far beyond 1k qty).
If you need to spend just 1 day debugging a lost-in-translation or undocumented feature, that easily adds up to 500 - 1k$ budget.
You could have bought 1500 PIC10s for that 1 day of debugging.

In addition, let's consider the hundred to thousand qty range. Can you get these chips preprogrammed? What tools do you need to do it yourself in a production environment? How much time does it take you to set this up and keep it running, and how fast is programming/verification?
Sure these problems are also very relevant for any other chip, but this is exactly part of the investment for a particular series of chip. See the aforementioned 1 day of debugging time cost.

Finally, these 3ct micro's are very small chips, so the code running on it will be very low level and direct approach.
But there are also cheap chips out there that can support USB, Ethernet, or any other protocol via software. How much in terms of SDK code is out there which you can pick up and just use? The SDK and code examples are a great place to start testing hardware and building their application on top of it, especially if you don't want to mess around for days or weeks writing, debugging, verifiying, reorganizing and refactoring code.
 

Online nctnico

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #98 on: October 13, 2018, 08:22:27 pm »
I agree with this. Interesting to tinker with or for extreme high volume products but otherwise there is very little practical use when you take engineering time cost into account.
Unless you do more than one project with these chips. As with any chip family, the initial investment is the expensive bit. After that the gains should be better. This is no different in western chips.
Do the math. High volume is the only area where it makes sense to support multiple microcontroller families.
There are small lies, big lies and then there is what is on the screen of your oscilloscope.
 

Online Siwastaja

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Re: 3 cent MCU
« Reply #99 on: October 14, 2018, 04:20:01 am »
There is "high volume", then there's another kind of "high volume"...

Maybe you need a very specific kind of LED driver (not available COTS), to drive a few $0.01 LEDs each, let's say an RGB LED. Then you need a matrix of 1000 such LEDs. It doesn't need to be a big installation.

Even for a one-off, you are already in the quantity of 1k of this micro. For just 10 products, you are at 10k. It quickly starts making sense.

The component BOM cost for one product would be then around $0.01 for LED + $0.025 for the MCU, plus $0.01 for some decoupling and resistors. So $45 total.

For a "good old known AVR/PIC" at about $0.30 each, the total would be $420. For a single unit. A huge difference - that's a completely different market segment.

The "OTP tax" isn't necessarily massive. The specific LED task might be 20 lines of code, working perfectly the second or third try.

Or maybe you need some specific logic function building block in many of your projects. For example, a certain zero crossing detector PWM thing in DC/DC.

There are some specific cases not related to massive volumes, or toys. Of course, for these cases, decent reliability tends to be a requirement - as would be getting them pre-programmed in quantities with not much more price overhead. But I'm quite positive you can get them preprogrammed - just need to find the source (ask Padauk?)
« Last Edit: October 14, 2018, 04:25:47 am by Siwastaja »
 


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