Microcontrollers (MCU)

Hercules Safety MCUs – Getting started

Getting to know safety MCUs

Hercules MCUs are based on TI's 20+ years of Safety-critical system expertise, industry collaboration and proven hardware for the automotive market. The platform consists of three Arm Cortex-based microcontroller families (Hercules RM and TMS570 MCUs) that deliver scalable performance, connectivity, memory and Safety features. Unlike many microcontrollers that rely heavily on software for Safety capabilities, Hercules MCUs implement Safety features in hardware to maximize performance and reduce software overhead.

Hercules MCUs

Technology differentiators

Safety features in hardware

Hercules RM and TMS570 MCUs dual-CPU lockstep architecture simplify development while eliminating redundant system requirements to reduce cost.

CPU hardware built-in self test (BIST) detects latent defects without complex Safety software and code-size overhead. Hardware comparison of CPU outputs provides nearly instant Safety response time without any additional performance impact. ECC logic is integrated in the CPU to protect both memories and busses. All RAM memories can be tested using HW BIST for high diagnostic coverage and an integrated Memory Protection Unit (MPU) helps protect against deterministic errors in application software.   

SafeTI™ design packages

SafeTI™ design packages for functional Safety applications are used in a variety of Safety-related applications, including industrial machinery, industrial process, medical, automotive, rail and aviation. SafeTI design packages help TI customers get to market quickly with Safety critical systems targeting compliance to Safety standards such as ISO 26262 and IEC 61508.

SafeTI control solutions analog companion devices

SafeTI design packages also feature analog companion devices for safety critical systems. All of these products have been designed to meet a safety standard or are a quality managed product where TI provides safety manuals and safety analysis reports.

Product type Product name SafeTI-61508 SafeTI-26262 SafeTI-QM
Power management TPS65381
Motor drivers DRV3201
CAN transceiver SN65HVDA1040
Power and sensor interface ASSP TPIC728
Sensor and signal conditioner PGA400

Product portfolio

Devices are available today for all three Hercules MCU product families with additional memory and peripheral options planned.

Hercules RM MCU family

The Hercules RM MCU family is the highest performance Hercules MCU family. Based on the ARM Cortex-R floating point core running at up to 330 MHz it includes several flash memory and connectivity options. Developed with the capability to meet the requirements of the IEC 61508 SIL-3 Safety standard and supporting many functional Safety features integrated in hardware.

Hercules TMS570 MCU family

The Hercules TMS570 MCU family enables customers to easily develop Safety-critical products for transportation applications. Developed to the requirements of the ISO 26262 ASIL D and IEC 61508 SIL-3 Safety standards and qualified to the AEC-Q100 automotive specification this ARM Cortex-R-based family offers several options of performance, memory and connectivity.

Part number decoder

Hercules RM MCU series part numbering

Hercules RM MCU series
Availability Blank = fully qualified
Core technology RM = Real-time Microcontroller
CPU 4 = ARM Cortex-R4, 5 = ARM Cortex-R5
Series number 2, 6, 7 and 8 available today
Architecture L = Lockstep CPUs
Flash/RAM size 384kB – 4MB Flash
32kB – 512kB RAM
(See product page for available Flash/RAM sizes)
Network interfaces 3 = USB only
4 = Ethernet only
5 = Ethernet and USB
Frequency 100, 200, 220 and 330 MHz options
(See product page for available frequency options)
Package type 100-QFP, 144-QFP, and 337-BGA
(See product page for available package offerings)
Temperature range T = -40°C to +105°C

Hercules TMS570 MCU series part numbering

Hercules TMS570 MCU series
Availability S = TMS qualified
P = TMP prototype
X = TMX samples
Core technology 570 = Cortex-R
LS = Lockstep CPUs (not included in orderable part number)
LC = Lockstep cached CPUs (not included in orderable part number)
Flash/RAM size
384kB – 4MB Flash
32kB – 512kB RAM
(See product page for available Flash/RAM sizes)
Device number
(eg, 3137)
31 = Flash memory size
3 = RAM memory size
7 = peripheral configuration
Die revision
Blank = Initial Die revision
A = 1st Die revision
B = 2nd Die revision
Technology/core voltage
S = F035 (130nm), 1.5-V Nominal Core Voltage
* not all device numbers include this parameter
Frequency 100, 200, 220 and 330 MHz options
(See product page for available frequency options)
Package type 100-QFP, 144-QFP, and 337-BGA
(See product page for available package offerings)
Temperature range Q = -40°C to +125°C
Quality designator Q1 = Automotive

Beginning development

Jump start your development with these resources.

LaunchPad™ development kit

The Hercules LaunchPad development kit is an inexpensive and powerful evaluation platform to dive into the world of the Hercules MCU platform. The Hercules RM42x LaunchPad development kit harnesses the Hercules RM42L432 MCU and the Hercules TMS570LS04x/03x LaunchPad development kit is based on the Hercules TMS570LS04 MCU. Both include everything needed to start development.

The LaunchPad development kit comes pre-programmed with Hercules MCU Demo enabling users to easily learn about the key Safety, data acquisition and control features of the Hercules MCU platform. Through the modular BoosterPack™ plug-in module ecosystem, LaunchPad development kit users have access to a world of application-level projects, or they can create their own through board accessible pins and interfaces.

LaunchPad development kit

Selecting a development kit

There are three types of Hercules MCU EVMs:

Starter kits

Starter kits are entry level kits designed to get the user familiar with development on the Hercules MCU platform.

Development kits

Development kits provide a hardware prototyping platform for application development.

Application kits

Application kits dive deep into specific application development hardware and software techniques.

Hercules kits

Working with development kits

Step 1: Purchase the desired Hercules MCU-based development kit

The list of available kits can be found in the "Kits and Evaluation Modules" section of the Hercules Tools & Software tab.

Step 2: Fully install the Hercules Development Kit (HDK) software from the included CD-ROM

Insert the provided CD into your computer and complete a full install of the provided software to ensure all demo features are available

Step 3: Plug in 12V power to Hercules Development Kit (HDK) and connect USB to computer

Plug in the +12V power supply into the Hercules Development Kit (HDK) board and connect the USB mini-B cable between the board and a USB port on the PC. The PC will recognize the HDK board as an XDS100v2 JTAG Emulator and a USB Serial port.IMPORTANT: Code Composer Studio v5 or the HDK Demo software must be installed before the USB mini-B cable for the CPU card‘s XDS100v2 JTAG is plugged into the PC!

Step 4 Start Hercules Demo Software

In Windows XP, the software will be available in ‘Start->All Programs->Texas Instruments->Hercules->Hercules safety MCU Demos'.

Step 5: Launch any demo from the GUI

Internet access is required to view the device documentation. Code Composer Studio IDE must be installed to view the microcontroller source code.

Working with application kits

Step 1: Purchase the desired Hercules MCU-based Application Kit

The list of available kits can be found at "Kits and Evaluation Modules" section of the Hercules Tools & Software tab.

Step 2: Fully install the Hercules Motor Kit Software from the included DVD

Insert the provided DVD into your computer and complete a full install of the provided software to ensure all demo features are available. Please note that the PC GUI demo applications are placed in c:\ti\guicomposer\webapps by default when installing from the DVD.

If desired, install CCS from the DVD or get the latest from the Texas Instruments wiki Download CCS page. Before building projects please make sure to install the latest ARM Compiler (at least 4.9.6) from

"Help > Check for Updates" or “Help > Install new software” and select “Code Generation Tools…” then select the ARM 5.0.1 compiler.

Step 3: Connect the three phase motor wires to the Motor Kit screw terminals and connect USB to computer

Connect the three phase motor wires from left to right: Green (Ground), White (Phase C), Red (Phase B), Black (Phase A) and connect the USB cable provided to your PC and directly to the controlCARD. Connect the 5 pin SIP connector labeled J4 to jumper J4 on the DRV8301 EVM.

Step 4: Plug the 6-30V power supply into the Motor Kit

Without plugging the included power supply into the wall:Hercules RM MCU Kits: Attach it to the barrel-type power connector that is pre-wired to the power supply screw-type terminals on the board. Please note that if you choose to use a bench power supply rather than the one shipped with the kit, you should plug the kits power supply directly into the 6V-30V barrel connector.

Hercules TMS570 MCU Kits: Attach the red and black banana-type leads to J25 and J26 power interface screw terminals -- Red to PVDD and black to GND.

Plug the power supply into the wall using the included AC cable/adapter for your region of the world.

Step 5: Launch any demo from the GUI

Run the InstaSPIN™-BLDC, FOC Encoder and Hercules Safety Features demonstrations. Run the solution using Code Composer Studio IDE. Please note that the MotorWare projects were tested based on Code Composer Studio IDE 5.2.1 (included on the DVD in this kit).

Advanced development

You know the basics and want to get started with your advanced development.


The Hercules MCU software is designed to simplify and speed development of Hercules-based microcontroller applications.


Development tools

Code Composer Studio IDE

Code Composer Studio IDE is an for Texas Instruments embedded processor families.

Code Composer Studio IDE comprises a suite of tools used to develop and debug embedded applications. It includes compilers for each of TI's device families, source code editor, project build environment, debugger, profiler, simulators, real-time operating system and many other features.

The intuitive IDE provides a single user interface taking you through each step of the application development flow. Familiar tools and interfaces allow users to get started faster than ever before and add functionality to their application thanks to sophisticated productivity tools.

Real-time operating system (RTOS) support

A RTOS is a multitasking operating system which uses specialized algorithms to schedule and guarantee deadlines of tasks. Key features of an RTOS include minimal latency for task switching and the number of tasks it can handle.

  • SAFERTOS: High Integrity Systems
  • µC/OS: Micrium

Learn more about Real Time Operating Systems support.

Lightweight TCP/IP stack example

The Open Source lwIP 1.3.2 TCP/IP stack has been ported to the HALCoGen Ethernet MAC driver in this example that leverages the full-featured Ethernet interface of the Hercules MCUs. The integrated application demonstrates a webserver application on a Hercules MCU.

Additonal connectivity software

Additional software is available for Hercules MCU peripherals such as TCP/IP stacks, USB stacks, CAN device drivers, CANopen stack, SAE J1939 protocol stack, ISO 15765 protocol stack, and NMEA 2000 protocol stack.

Drivers and libraries

HALCoGen software

HALCoGen provides a graphical user interface that allows users to configure peripherals, interrupts, clocks & other MCU parameters. Once the device is configured, users can generate peripheral initialization & driver code, which can be imported into CCS, IAR Workbench or Keil uVision.

CMSIS DSP libraries

The CMSIS DSP library includes source code and example applications, and saves time by including common DSP algorithms such as complex arithmetic, vector operations, and filter and control functions. 

Additional tools and software

ECC generation tool

Command line program for generating Error Correction Code for Hercules devices. Can be used in conjunction with Code Composer Studio version four.

UniFlash Flash programming tool

CCS Uniflash is a standalone tool used to program flash memory on TI MCUs. Uniflash has a GUI, command line, and scripting interface. CCS Uniflash is available free of charge.

High-End Timer (HET) IDE

  • Graphical programming environment
  • Output simulation tool
  • Generates CCS IDE-ready software modules
  • Includes functional examples from TI

Additional development resources

Hercules MCU E2E™ online community

Providing real-time support to your development questions, the E2E community offers an outlet to search for answers and address technical questions with the help of community and TI engineers.


On-demand training including numerous "How to Tutorials" on Safety related tools and software.