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A $6.90 Dev Board by WCH Gets You Started and a Sub-10 RISC-V Microcontroller is Released

 This 32-bit RISC-V processor has a very low price and is intended for tasks with lower processing demands.

A $6.90 Dev Board by WCH Gets You Started and a Sub-10 RISC-V Microcontroller is Released

A new, low-cost RISC-V microcontroller processor from WCH Electronics that can operate at up to 48MHz and is priced in volume at less than 10 per unit has been released, and the first development board to use the part has already hit the market.

The WCH CH32V003 family of processors features a clock speed of up to 48MHz, 2kB of static RAM (SRAM), 16kB of flash storage, and between six and 18 interrupt-capable general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins with one USART, one I2C, and one SPI bus in addition to up to eight channels of 10-bit analog to digital conversion. RV32, the 32-bit version of the free and open source RISC-V architecture (ADC).

Features & Specifications

  • Highland barley 32-bit RISC-V2A processor, supports 2-level interrupt nesting
  • Up to 48MHz system frequency
  • 2KB SRAM, 16KB Flash
  • Supply voltage: 3.3/5V
  • Multiple low power modes: sleep, standby
  • Power-on/power-off reset, programmable voltage detector
  • 1 group 1 channel general purpose DMA controller
  • 1 set of op amp comparators
  • 1 group of 10-bit ADC
  • 1 16-bit advanced timer and 1 16-bit general-purpose timer
  • 2 watchdog timers and 1 32-bit system time base timer
  • 1 USART interface, 1 set of IIC interface, 1 set of SPI interface
  • 18 I/O ports, mirroring an external interrupt
  • 64-bit chip unique ID
  • Serial 1-Wire Debug Interface
  • Package form: TSSOP20, QFN20, SOP16, SOP8

 Although the part's performance for typical computational workloads might not light the world on fire, WCH is offering the part at a competitive price. The chip will retail for less than 10 per unit in undefined quantities, according to WCH technical director Patrick Yang, making it one of the least expensive general-purpose microcontrollers available.

Sadly, double-row headers are used, rendering the CH32V003 development board incompatible with breadboards without the use of flying wires. Maker Go, based in Shenzhen, has announced a compact design centered around the CH32V003F4P6 variant with USB Type-C connectivity for data and power and with GPIO and power pins broken out along three sides.

The board is currently $6.90 on Tindie, but given the low cost of the chip, once the chips start flooding the market in large quantities, the cost of entry-level development boards is likely to reduce quickly.

On the WCH website, more details on the item, which is provided with a C software development kit (SDK), are accessible in Chinese.

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