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History of Toshiba Microcontrollers

  • History of Toshiba Microcontrollers #1

    Toshiba will bring you issues about the history of Toshiba microcontrollers, once a month for seven months.
    The history of microcontrollers has begun with Intel’s first microcontroller, the Intel® 4004, in 1971. It was a multipurpose logic device made by incorporating software control in an electronic calculator. The number of data that 4-bit microcontrollers can handle was only 16, so 8-bit microcontrollers with 256 bytes of data were developed to handle characters.
    Toshiba’s first microcontroller was 12-bit microcontroller TLCS-12A series, which was developed as an automotive engine controller for Ford Motor Company in 1973. 8 bits were not enough for engine control specification, but the circuit size of 16-bit microcontrollers was too large, so 12 bits were adopted. These 12-bit microcontrollers with 12-bit width arithmetic (at a time) and 8 levels of 8 interrupts had excellent high-speed real-time processing performance required by applications such as engine controllers.

     

    The product range was as shown below.
    • T3190: 12-bit Microprocessor unit
    • T3219: 8-level interrupt latch unit
    • T3220: general I/O register
    • T3269: 12-bit bidirectional bus driver
    • T3416: memory control unit
    • T3418: I/O control unit
    • TT3445: DMA control unit

    AT that time, microcontroller kit TLCS-12A EX-12/5 with TLCS-12A was launched, and created opportunities to start making clocks and games using microcontrollers.


    • Photo left: advertisement of TLCS-12 in “Toshiba Review”
    • Photo right: advertisement of microcomputer kit EX-5

    2013.10.8

    History of Toshiba Microcontrollers

  • History of Toshiba Microcontrollers #2

    After the development of Toshiba’s first original 12-bit microcontroller TLCS-12A, 4-bit and 8-bit microcontroller became the main stream of microcontrollers for consumer and industrial use. Toshiba developed and sold second-source products of foreign manufacturers while it was developing original 4-bit microcontrollers. The main products were as shown below.
    (Years shown in the parentheses are the year when the first products were released)

     

       

    • Intel i8080A (8-bit MPU) 
       → TLCS-80A series (1978)
    • Intel i8085 (8-bit MPU) 
      → TLCS-85A series (1980)
    • Intel i8048/i8049 (8-bit MCU)
      → TLCS-84 series (1982)
    • Zilog Z80 (8-bit MPU)
      → TLCS-Z80 series (1983):CMOS
    • Zilog Z8000 (16-bit MPU)
      → TLCS-Z8000 series (1984)
    • Motorolla MC68000 (16-bit MPU)
      → TLCS-68000 series (1985)

     

    Only TLCS-84 series (which name was changed to TLCS-48 series later) was one-chip microcontroller with a ROM and a RAM. This series was widely used for consumer products. Zilog Z80 was a NMOS product but Toshiba changed it to CMOS, even its peripheral circuit as well. TMPZ84C015AF contained these in one chip. Since the peripheral circuits that users well understood were contained, this series became easy to use and met with a favorable reception.


    • Photo: 'Toshiba Microcontroller Catalog' published in October 1992.

    2013.11.26

  • History of Toshiba Microcontrollers #3

    The TLCS-41, TLCS-43, TLCS-46A, TLCS-47 and TLCS-42 series were sold as the Toshiba original 4-bit microcontrollers, mainly for consumer products.

     

    • TLCS-41 series (1977):
      TMP4110P (42 pins, 2-KB ROM), etc.
      (NMOS)
    • TLCS-43 series (1978):
      TMP4320AP (42 pins, 2-KB ROM) , etc.
      (NMOS)
    • TLCS-46A series (1981):
      TCP4630AP (42 pins, 3-KB ROM) , etc.
      (CMOS)
    • TLCS-47 series (1982):
      TMP47C434AN (42 pins, 4-KB ROM,  OSD) , etc.
    • TLCS-42 series (1983):
      TMP42C40P (16 pins, 0.5-KB ROM), etc.
      (NMOS/CMOS)

    (The year in the shown in parentheses shows the first year of the sales)

     

    The TLCS-47 series was the first series that has a wide range of 4-bit microcontroller products. The package variation was from DIP 16 pins to QFP 100 pins. The ROM variation is from 1 Kbytes to 16 Kbytes. The characterized functions such as a LCD driver, Vacuum Fluorescent Tube (VFT), OSD (on-screen display) and DTMF generator, were built in, other than standard built-in functions such as a timer and an AD converter. This series is mainly used for home appliances, audio-video equipment, TV and telephones by using these built-in

     The TLCS-42 series is developed for compact and simple systems. We offered it ranging from DIP 16-pin to DIP 28-pin packages and the ROM size from 0.5 Kbytes to 1 Kbyte. Since it was developed for compact simple systems, it had only a timer as built-in function. It even didn’t have interrupts. It was mainly used for audio-visual equipment, home appliance and a computer mouse.

    Software development in the late 1970s, debugging was performed by extensive work: punching assembler mnemonics on a card, assembling with a large scale computer and loading the objects output on a paper tape. It took so much time to correct software. So, a technique called “batch” was developed. In this method, machine language is rewritten directly on an emulator. As personal computers spread, the platform for development environment was changed from large scale computers to personal computers. Source editing and assembling can be performed on a personal computer and software development time was reduced. However, it still took several tens of minutes for assembling.

    Early microcontroller products were only ROM products. To run software made using a development tool, it requires masking an object (just as the name of mask ROM) and etching it onto a silicon wafer. It took a month to ship out a microcontroller that software is etched on (engineering sample). It needed lot of time to check operation on actual equipment. After that, double-decker piggy-bag products were developed. It enabled users to insert EPROM with software to the upper stage and to perform tests in the environment similar to actual equipment.
    It shortened time required for debugging. After that, products made a shift from OTPs (One Time PROM: one time programmable read only memory) that can be used not only for debugging but as mass production to flash memory products.


    • Photo: from the Toshiba Microcomputer Product Guide 1992

    2013.11.26

    Photo: from the Toshiba Microcomputer Product Guide 1992

  • History of Toshiba Microcontrollers #4

    In 1987, Toshiba developed original 8-bit microcontrollers, TLCS-90 series for industrial products and TLCS-870 series for consumer products. TLCS-870/X, TLCS-870/C, and TLCS870-/C1 were developed after them.

     

    • TLCS-90 series (1987):
      TMP90CS74EF (100 pins, 60-KB ROM, Servo controller), etc.

    The TLCS-90 was developed for industrial products as upward compatibility products to the assembler mnemonic of Z80 which had the largest MCU market share. The package variation was from 40 pins to 100 pins and the ROM size was from 0 KB to 60 KB to connect ROM to external equipment. Since it was for industrial products, a stepping motor controller and a servo controller had been built in it. This series was mainly used for printers, video recorders, and industrial equipment and so on.

     

    • TLCS-870 series (1989):
      TMP87CS38N (42 pins, 60-KB ROM, OSD), etc.

    The TLCS-870 was developed for various consumer products. It’s characterized by the feature that 8 kinds of registers have 16 banks each. The register banks can be switched quickly when an interrupt occurs. The package variation was from 28 pins to 144 pins and the ROM size was from 4 KB to 60 KB. TLCS-870 series incorporated a LCD driver, a VFT driver, OSD (on-screen display), and DTMF (dual tone modulator) for consumer products. This series was mainly used for health-care equipment, audio products, telephone, and home electronics.

     

    • TLCS-870/X series (1995):
      TMP88FW45AFG (80 pins, 120-KB Flash memory, a circuit for motor control), etc.

    This series was developed to satisfy the demand of exceeding memory size restrictions (maximum 64 KB) of TLCS-870. The package variation was from 42 pins to 100 pins and the ROM size was from 0 KB to 120 KB to connect ROM to external equipment. (The address space was 1MB.) It had a VFT driver, OSD, and a circuit for motor control as built-in functions. This series was mainly used for audio products, TVs, and home appliances.

     

    • TLCS870/C series (1999):
      TMP86CH47U (44 pins, 16-KB ROM), etc.

    This series was improved the architecture of the core for optimizing the C language and accelerated its minimum instruction execution time from 0.5 us@8 MHz to 0.25 us at 16 MHz. The package variation was from 20 pins to 100 pins and the ROM size was from 2 KB to 60 KB. It had a LCD driver and a VFT Driver as built-in functions. This series was mainly used for home appliances, cordless phones, and onboard equipment.

     

    • TLCS870/C1 series (2007):
       TMP89FW24AFG (80 pins, 124-KB Flash memory, LCD driver), etc.

    This series was further accelerated to 0.1 us at 10 MHz by improving the design method of TLCS870/C. The main program memory was Flash memory, and the address space was expanded into 128 KB. The package variation was from 42 pins to 176 pins and the ROM size was from 16 KB to 124 KB. It had a LCD driver (dot matrix) as built-in functions. This series was mainly used for home appliances.





    The software of 4-bit microcontrollers and 8-bit microcontrollers was mainly developed using the assembly language. As for the assembly language, the program was written using alphabet description called the mnemonic corresponding to each words of the machine language of microcontrollers.(For example, data transfer was LD, an addition was ADD and so on.) Since the assembly languages differed for every microcontroller, the reuse of software was very difficult. Because of software engineer shortage and increasing of the scales, the program language was required to improve its efficiency and reuse easy. In such a situation, the C language had been used since its code efficiency was better and easy to describe functions required for microcontrollers, such as bit control. Since the C language has control syntax, such as circumstantial judgment and a repetition, it can describe software with sufficient readability efficiently. The C language is mainly used even now at the time of the software development of microcontrollers.

     

    4-bit microcontrollers and 8-bit microcontrollers had a comparatively small-size program memory for storing software. Customers required inputting many functions as possible to the small memory. Although the software could be devised and the memory size could also be made small, it was difficult to reuse. The software engineer had battle (adjustment) with customers who demanded many functions and the improvement in reusability. Toshiba developed uniquely the C-Like language between the assembly language and the C language. It could make program size small, and was using it for some microcontrollers.

    The software development language has not been much changed in the world of microcontrollers, however, the high-level design tool, the quality check tool, and the method of operation check have evolved in respect of improved quality.


    • Photo: Development tools (Toshiba Microcomputer Product Guide 1994)

    2014.1.14

  • History of Toshiba Microcontrollers #5

    As for the Toshiba original 16-bit microcontrollers, TLCS-900 series was developed in 1991. TLCS-900/L, TLCS-900/H, TLCS-900/H2, TLCS-900/L1, and TLCS-900/H1 series were developed with the improvement in the speed or low-power-consumption.
    The year in a parenthesis is a sales inaugural year of the first product.


    • TLCS-900 Series (1991):
      16-bit MCU (TMP96C141CFG etc.)

    This microcontroller is the 16-bit microcontroller developed first, and was developed as upward compatibility of TLCS-90 of the 8-bit microcontroller. The package variation was from 64 pins to 80 pins and ROM size was from 0 KB (the external ROM) to 32 KB. The minimum command execution time was 200 ns and had the privileged mode for OS correspondence. It had a pattern generator for driving a stepping motor as a built-in function, and was mainly used for printers and in-vehicle meters.


    • TLCS-900/L Series (1995):
      16-bit MCU (TMP93CS40FG etc.)

    This series enabled 3V operation to TLCS-900 of 5V operation. The package variation was from 44 pins to 144 pins and ROM size was from 0 KB (the external ROM) to 128KB. The minimum command execution time was 200ns when 5V, 320 ns when 3V. The privileged mode was deleted. It had a pattern generator, a LCD driver, a VFT driver, and a servo motor control circuit as built-in functions, and was mainly used for cameras, printers, bar cord readers, AV equipment, and air-conditioners.


    • TLCS-900/H Series (1996):
      16-bit MCU (TMP95C061BDFG etc.)

    This was the series which accelerated TLCS-900.The package variation was from 64 pins to 144 pins and ROM size was from 0 KB (the external ROM) to 128KB. The minimum command execution time was 160 ns. It had a pattern generator and CAN, and was mainly used for printers, CD drives and air-bags.


    • TLCS-900/H2 Series (1998):
      32-bit MCU (TMP94C251ADFG etc.)

    This was the series which extended the bus width of TLCS-900/H to 32 bits from 16 bits and also enabled to operate at high speed. The package variation was from 100 pins to 160 pins and ROM size was from 0 KB (the external ROM) to 512 KB. The minimum command execution time was 50 ns. It had a pattern generator and DRAM controller and CAN, and was mainly used for printers, DVD drives, and air-bags.


    • TLCS-900/L1 Series (1998):
      16-bit MCU (TMP91CW12AFG etc.)

    This series enabled TLCS-900/L series to operate from 3V to 2V. The package variation was from 64 pins to 144 pins, and ROM size was 0 KB (the external ROM) to 256 KB. The minimum command execution time was 400 ns at the time of 2V operation, and 111 ns at 5V operation. It had a LCD controller and a melody generator, and was mainly used for car audio, AV equipment, and electronic dictionaries.


    • TLCS-900/H1 Series (2002):
      32-bit MCU (TMP92CD23AFG etc.)

    This series merged TLCS-900H2 series, and also accelerated them. The package variation was from 100 pins to 228 pins and ROM size was 0 KB (the external ROM) to 512 KB. The minimum command execution time was a 50ns-product and a 12.5ns. It had a LCD controller, a USB controller, program correction function and 288-KB RAM and was mainly used for car audio, electronic dictionaries and highly efficient remote controllers.



    • Photo: Microcomputer Product Guide (1999)

    2014.3.20

  • History of Toshiba Microcontrollers #6

    For Toshiba’s original RISC microcontrollers, the TX19 series was developed first in 2000.After that, two series were developed: the TX19A which enhanced code efficiency and the TX19A/H1 series which improved speed. The TX19 series is Toshiba’s original 32-bit RISC processor which was developed by adding MIPS16™ ASE to the TX-39 series that was developed by Toshiba based on R3900A™ of MIPS Technologies Inc. Even it had a 32-bit RISC core, compressing a part of instruction set to 16 bits enabled reducing the size of instruction codes. Interrupt response, which is essential to microcontrollers, was significantly increased.


    • TX19 series (2000):
      32-bit RISC MCU (TMP1942, etc.)

    It was a standard series of the TX19 series. It had a high-speed (at the time) AD converter which conversion time was 2 microseconds and was used for digital single reflex cameras and digital video cameras.


    • TX19A series (2005):
      32-bit RISC MCU (TMP19A70 etc.)

    This series aimed to improve code efficiency of the TX19 series. Increased operation speed was suitable for motor applications such as air conditioners and washing machines. It also had Toshiba’s original peripheral circuits, such as a vector engine which was required for vector control of motors and programmable motor drive.


    • TX19A/H1 series (2009):
      32-bit RISC MCU (TMP19A44 etc.)

    It was a series that the speed of the TX19A series was improved, and was used for digital single reflex lens cameras. To improve speed, It featured single-precision floating-point operation circuit which was a floating point unit of the 64-bit RISC MCU, TX49. The conversion time of the AD converter of the TX19 series had been 1 microsecond but it was significantly improved. It was characteristic that it had three AD converter that each conversion time was 1 microsecond



    • Photo: Toshiba Microcomputer PRODUCT GUIDE (July 2000)


    Want to learn about the TX19A/H1 series? Click here!

    2014.4.3

  • History of Toshiba Microcontrollers #7

    Toshiba had been walking its own independent path for developing original microcontrollers, such as the original RISC microcontrollers TX19, TX19A and TX19/H1, however, it reached the turning point in 2009. Toshiba added the Arm926EJ-S® processor and the Arm® Cortex®-M Core based microcontrollers to the lineups. The Arm® Cortex®-M family is a processor family that was developed by Arm® for microcontrollers that require power-saving and cost-saving, for applications such as industrial control systems, consumer products and medical devices.TX00, TX03 and TX04 microcontrollers are developed by adding Toshiba's original peripheral circuits to the Arm's CPU core. These microcontrollers are powerful products that contain various characteristic peripheral circuits of the era of Toshiba original microcontrollers, and allows users to use various development tools and software for the de-facto standard microcontroller core, the Arm® Cortex®.


    • TX00 series (2012):
      32-bit RISC MCU (TMPM061, etc.)

    This series incorporates the Cortex®-M0 for low-cost, simple applications as the CPU core and were developed for power meters. It has a high-accuracy 24-bit ΔΣ AD converter, a LCD driver which can directly drive a LCD panel and a high-precision real time clock.


    • TX03 series (2009):
      32-bit RISC MCU (TMPM330, etc.)

    This series incorporates the Cortex®-M3 that has broad utility and specification transposable with the traditional TX19 series. It was developed for audio-video equipment and has a remote control signal preprocessor that works with a low-speed clock and a dedicated controller compliant with HDMI 1.3a (CEC).


    • TX04 series (2014):
      32-bit RISC MCU (TMPM440, etc.)

    This series incorporates the Cortex®-M4 processor with FPU that effectively controls digital signals as the CPU core. It was developed for digital single-lens reflex cameras and contains Programmable Servo/ Sequence Controller (PSC) and high-resolution Programmable Pulse Generator (PPG).


    • TX09 series (2007):
      32-bit RISC MCU (TMPA910, etc.)

    This series is developed for consumer products. This series is 200MHz operating frequency products incorporate the Arm926EJ-S® as a microcontroller core. A large screen LCD and peripheral circuits for controlling large-size data such as images are contained.

    For detailed information about the Toshiba's Arm Core-Based Microcontrollers,click here!




    • Photo: 'Toshiba Microcontroller Catalog' published in October 2013.

    2014.5.6

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