RS Components has expanded its electronics offer with the introduction of the new Hercules safety microcontroller platform from Texas Instruments. Designed to help developers obtain IEC 61508 SIL 3 and ISO 26262 ASIL-D system certification for safety-critical medical, industrial and transportation applications, the platform consists of three ARM Cortex-based microcontroller families that deliver scalable performance, connectivity, memory and safety features for applications that require a high level of reliability.

Hercules microcontrollers implement safety capabilities in hardware to detect random faults and protect against systematic faults, thus reducing software overheads. The dual ARM Cortex-R4F floating-point cores in lockstep provide the highest level of on line diagnostics with cycle-by-cycle error checking, while built-in self-test for the CPU and RAM enable periodic diagnostic routines for the detection of potential latent faults.

The CPU features error correction code (ECC) for Flash and RAM to monitor data for corruption without impacting performance. A memory protection unit on the CPU ensures that each bus master is allocated memory to prevent the transfer of corrupt data. Parity on peripheral RAMs, dual analogue-to-digital-converters (ADCs) and timers, as well as voltage and clock monitoring, provide additional diagnostic coverage.

Coupled with robust tools, software and safety documentation, this advanced on-chip functionality enables developers to differentiate their end products and speed time to market.

“The addition of the Hercules microcontrollers to the RS electronics line is a step forward in augmenting the choice of application-specific products to customers, and introduces a new range of safety-critical, high-reliability devices to our offering,” said Fred Knowles, Head of Product Management – Electronics at RS Components. “Our next-day despatch service guarantees fast delivery on parts, enabling engineers to start working quickly on their designs to meet increasingly tough deadlines in bringing products to market.”

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