Freescale Kinetis L Series KL03 MCUs

On July 25th, 2014, Freescale did a full market launch of the entire KL03 family, introducing a number of devices and a Freedom board in which customers can get started on their development. The Kinetis KL03 is the ultimate product for portable devices within the IoT space due to its small size and low power consumption (Figure 1). The device also maintains an optimized level of on-chip integration to help customers simplify design and reduce BOM costs and is supported by Freescale’s expansive set of software and tools.

Figure 1: Trends in embedded product design.

The KL03 is in fact smaller than a golf ball dimple (as illustrated by the image in Figure 2), 35% smaller than the nearest competition, but still offers more GPIO than the competition. With a tiny footprint package of 1.6 x 2.0 mm2 WLCSP, the KL03 includes: run power consumption as low as 50 μA/MHz, static power consumption as low as 2.2 μA with 7.5 μs wakeup time for full retention and lowest static mode down to 77 nA in deep sleep, and highly integrated peripherals, including boot ROM and high accurate internal voltage reference.

Figure 2: Kinetis KL03 size comparison.

The KL03 family features include:

  • A 48 MHz ARM® Cortex®-M0+ core
  • 1.71-3.6 V operation
  • Up to 32 KB flash memory
  • 2 KB RAM
  • 8 KB ROM boot loader for easy flash upgrade
  • Bit manipulation engine for faster, more code-efficient bit-oriented math
  • A high-speed 12-bit analog-to-digital converter
  • Embedded 1.2 V voltage reference for ADC
  • A high-speed analog comparator
  • Low-power UART, SPI, I2C (high speed up to 1 Mb/s)
  • Powerful timers for a broad range of applications, including motor control
  • Operating temperature of -40°C to +105°C QFN (WLCSP is -40°C to +85°C operation)
  • Up to 22 GPIOs, depending on the package

When the customer thinks of Kinetis L, think small size and low power, but also think big portfolio. The Kinetis L series is big and getting bigger. Since introducing this series in September 2012, the portfolio has now grown to more than 200 devices. The LPUART will be provided in more details on each of the different part numbers data sheet. However, the overview table shown in Figure 3 is a good way to see where the KL03 fits in and how to position it with the rest of the devices.

Figure 3: Kinetis L series: MCU families.

As depicted in Figure 4, the Freescale Freedom development platform is a set of software and hardware tools for evaluation and development. It is ideal for rapid prototyping of microcontroller-based applications. The Freescale Freedom KL03Z hardware, FRDM-KL03Z, is a simple, yet sophisticated design featuring a Kinetis L series MCU, built on the ARM Cortex-M0+ core. Processor Expert is a simplified code initialization tool designed to provide 80% of the required firmware from Freescale, allowing designers to focus on the 20% of their own internal code that truly differentiates their products. Solution Advisor is a web-based tool, available on the Freescale website, which allows designers the ability to identify the ideal Kinetis solution by defining the operating characteristics of the device they need, memory configuration, analog, communications and clock peripherals. In addition, it directs them to the associated hardware and software tools and documentation and verifies pin mixing compatibility.

Figure 4: Resources graphic.

In summary, Freescale’s Kinestis L series KL03 is one of the world’s smallest ARM-based MCUs and has excellent performance, is energy-efficient and has many features integrated into a small 1.6 mm x 2.0 mm WLCSP package, enabling miniaturized designs in portable consumer and industrial applications. If the customer is developing a portable application, energy efficiency is going to be a key selling point and with nine low-power modes, this chip has the flexibility to provide power optimization based on the application’s specific requirements. Finally, with software being so much of a customer’s engineering expense today, customers are always looking for ways to reduce their time to market and simplify their software requirements. Using tools, like the Kinetis Design Studio IDE and the Software Development Kit, could save designers months of engineering time and provide them a more seamless way to move around within the ever-expanding Kinetis portfolio, which offers a broad selection of compatible and scalable devices.


  1. For a full audio version of this training please visit: Introduction to Kinetis L Series MCUs