dsPIC and PIC, Configurable Logic Cells

The Microchip family continues to surprise me. Their prices are excellent, they are in stock, and I have known of their use in our extreme temperature environments for a while.

In addition to OpAmps, Comparators, A/D Units, DACS, they also have versions with USB controllers and Configurable Logic Cell Blocks. You can do fairly complex logic operations with these units, and send the results out to pins. The PIC family also can configure pins to be Pull Up, Pull Down, or high impedance as input, and normal drive or Open Collector as output. That is a lot like the PSOC.

Also, with the PSOC6 copying Atmel and Microchip, it makes changing the design and moving away from the PSOC6 family easier. If you are using the PSOC5, it is NOT easier, because with the 24 UDB units and the Verilog compiler from the schematic capture, the PSOC5 can run hardware rings around most SOC’s out there today (including the PSOC6 SOC’s) while they are still getting out of bed.

The CLC’s are a game changer for Microchip/Atmel. However, the BIG drawback to the MicroChip units is the lack of a Hardware Synthesis Language (like VHDL or Verilog) to take complex logic equations down to the CPLD like internal logic inside these processors. If they solve this problem the adoption rate of the PIC family will skyrocket. However, to this day, it is extremely difficult to get a CPLD integrated into a system due to clunky software systems. That is where the Cypress PSOC Creator did the unexpected, and succeeded beyond anyone’s expectation.

PSOC Creator’s Star

In the dual hardware/firmware development world, PSOC Creator has never been equaled. Even though the system has gray hairs growing out of its ears, it is still the most intuitive development environment for the combination of hardware and software I have ever seen. With its 24 UDB’s, the amount of complex logic you can put into the PSOC3/5 is exceptional.

Personal History

I wrote my first line of code in 1968. I developed irrigation controllers in 1976. I co-developed a supervisory system for an AT&T SLC96 compatible T1 system using Microsoft C. I have ported RTOS systems, written drivers, created RTOS platforms, and written assemblers for processors. I have used the Xilinx system and written VHDL for an FPGA with an embedded processor I ported Linux to.

I have designed analog and digital hardware and laid out PCBoards for those. I then tested to a maximum operational temperature of 350F. The PSOC3/5 processor system is the most developer friendly environment I have ever used.

With the PSOC5 and PSOC Creator, I was able to produce shipping designs with working firmware in as little as 4 weeks, from initial concept to finished PCB. (OSHPark played a big role in that.)

That is astounding in my 40+ years of experience. Because of my history, I can say that Infineon is loosing ground and may not survive: I don’t expect to be wrong in results, but possibly in timing….of course Infineon could turn it around, but I don’t see the corporate will to do so….

I watched RCA, Mostek, Motorola, and others end up on the ash heap of history.

Infineon is Loosing the Race

The following statements are coming from past history: Almost all breakthrough new designs are from “garage shop operations.” Apple, HP, and Bitcoin are just a few.

With Microchip/Atmel being so aggressive, not to mention Silicon Labs and Renesas, Infineon will be in trouble soon as regards new designs for SOC units. You can get the other companies’ parts. You can’t get Infineon parts, with rare exceptions.

That will spell the end to new designs for Infineon, except possibly for a few majors. If Infineon does not get off their lazy behinds and get busy supporting the company they bought and provide parts to distributors….unless their reason to purchase was to perform this very action….


Sad that this has happened. Too bad Cypress had to sell out to that kind of a partner.

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