While trying to open a chinese camera pen, unfortunately the PCB inside it got damaged. Few of the PCB traces got cut and it became useless. After few days, I removed an 8 pin IC with SO8 package from the PCB. I was curious to know what it is, so I googled the part number 25FW406A but I couldn’t find any exact match. I found some part number similar to that and I concluded that it is an SPI flash. Later I got a datasheet from ‘ON semiconductor’ for a similar part -LE25U40CMD which is a 4M-bit SPI flash memory. I soldered the IC on a common board, powered it with 3.3v and interfaced it to a TI stellaris launchpad via SPI port. According to the datasheet the SPI port need to be initialized in mode 0 or 3. I tried few commands listed in the datasheet and got proper response from the chip, the CHIP ID doesn’t matches but that is expected because it is not the same part. I wrote functions for erasing, reading and writing the flash memory and tested it successfully using the launchpad.
Happy Christmas and Happy New Year wishes from Attiny13 - [Link]
by Amy Norcross @ edn.com:
A new way of switching the magnetic properties of a material using just a small applied voltage could signal the beginning of a new family of materials with a variety of switchable properties, according to a team of MIT-based researchers. The technique could let a small electrical signal change materials’ electrical, thermal, and optical characteristics.
Researchers use voltage to control magnetic memory - [Link]
Evaluation samples of STMicroelectronics’ STM32F446 range of MCUs are now available. These devices feature ARM Cortex-M4 based processing units with compact 256 or 512 KB on-chip Flash options and 128KB RAM with built-in memory-extension interfaces, extended connectivity and communication capabilities.
The MCUs use ST’s proprietary ART Accelerator, smart architecture, advanced Flash technology and an embedded ARM Cortex-M4 core to achieve a performance of 225 DMIPS and 608 CoreMark at 180 MHz executing from embedded Flash.
The interface capabilities allow simultaneous communication via multiple interfaces which cater for interactive industrial, scientific, medical, and Internet-of-Things (IoT) applications, while the advanced process technology, together with dynamic voltage scaling, extensive clock gating and flexible sleep modes offer significant power savings.
The STM32F446 from STMicroelectronics - [Link]
An app note from Atmel, digital sound recorder with AVR and DataFlash (PDF!):
This application note describes how to record, store and play back sound using any AVR microcontroller with A/D converter, the AT45DB161B DataFlash memory and a few extra components.
This application note shows in detail the usage of the A/D Converter for sound recording, the Serial Peripheral Interface – SPI – for accessing the external DataFlash memory and the Pulse Width Modulation – PWM – for playback. Typical applications that would require one or more of these blocks are temperature loggers, telephone answering machines, or digital voice recorders.
Digital sound recorder with AVR and DataFlash - [Link]
Mag tape might be old school, but its the only memory technology for Big Data that is keeping up with Moores Law: R. Colin Johnson @NextGenLog
IBM Sets New World Record with Mag Tape - [Link]
Toshiba Corporation today announced that it has developed the world’s first 15-nanometer (nm) process technology, which will apply to 2-bit-per-cell 128-gigabit (16 gigabytes) NAND flash memories. Mass production with the new technology will start at the end of April at Fab 5 Yokkaichi Operations, Toshiba’s NAND flash fabrication facility (fab), replacing second generation 19 nm process technology, Toshiba’s previous flagship process. The second stage of Fab 5 is currently under construction, and the new technology will also be deployed there.
Toshiba starts mass production of world’s first 15nm NAND flash memories - [Link]
Brian Bailey writes:
Moore’s Law may not be running out of steam, but it may be running out of money, as scaling to smaller geometries becomes more cost prohibitive. We also have an insatiable appetite for memory these days, but our tastes are changing from DRAM to nonvolatile memory—a market largely served by flash devices. Whereas DRAM can possibly scale down to 1 nm, we are already encountering floating-gate scaling problems for NAND flash. The answer to the scaling problem appears to be growing devices “up”; the question is how best to do it.
Three-dimensional die stacking uses a silicon interposer and TSVs (through-silicon vias) to connect the stacked dice electrically, allowing the integration of multiple, smaller dice—each processed using an optimal technology—within a package. Many memory manufacturers are already creating 3-D die-stacked chips in production quantities (Figure 1), and the technology’s use for memories paves the way for its use elsewhere.
More-than-Moore memory grows up - [Link]
Taiwan-based Macronix has found a solution for a weakness in flash memory fadeout. A limitation of flash memory is simply that eventually it cannot be used; the more cells in the memory chips are erased, the less useful to store data. The write-erase cycles degrade insulation; eventually the cell fails. “Flash wears out after being programmed and erased about 10,000 times,” said the IEEE Spectrum. Engineers at Macronix have a solution that moves flash memory over to a new life. They propose a “self-healing” NAND flash memory solution that can survive over 100 million cycles.
“Self-healing” NAND flash memory - [Link]
Brian Bailey writes :
Flash memory has very quickly risen from being an obscure memory type to perhaps becoming the dominant memory type for many devices, including music players, cell phones, tablets and now increasingly servers and mainstream PCs. But flash memory does not scale quite as well as the more traditional DRAM that it is replacing. It is thought that DRAM can scale down to 1nm whereas we are already hitting some problems with the scaling of the floating gate in NAND flash. It is not thought that planar NAND can go below 10nm which is only a couple of processes steps away from where we are today.
3D NAND flash is coming - [Link]
Hot off the heels of last month’s Raspberry Pi manufacturing deal with Sony, element14 today announced its continued partnership with the Raspberry Pi Foundation, launching an upgraded 512 MB version of the credit card-sized development board. Featuring double the RAM, the higher performance mini-computer is suited to multimedia, high-memory and mobile applications. The additional memory is also an enabler to allow the Raspberry Pi to run a future version of an Android 4.0 operating system.
The $35 Raspberry PI 512MB board is available now at element14 on a first come first served basis through its brands Newark element14 in North America, Farnell element14 in Europe, and element14 in Asia Pacific, as well as through subsidiaries CPC in the UK and MCM Electronics in the US.
Members of the element14 Community are invited to join the discussion online and share ideas and plans for the Raspberry Pi on the dedicated Raspberry Pi Group, bolstering more than 7,000 new members from across the globe. Plus, make sure to check out the revolutionary board and accompanying accessories on display at electronica in Munich, Germany on November 13-16, 2012.
The full press release is included below with additional details. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to speak with an element14 representative about the new Raspberry Pi development board and its impact on the programming revolution.
Element14 launches new Raspberry Pi Board; drives programming revolution forward - [Link]