Introduction to Microcontrollers

Overview of AVR and PIC 


               A microcontroller is an integrated circuit (IC) that is programmable and contains all the components comprising a controller. When one turns on the power to the microcontroller it goes through a series of commands. These commands are put in the chip by users. Different tasks can be performed by changing the commands (usually called the firmware). To change the commands or program we need a device which lets one download the program from computer to the microcontroller in HEX or Binary format. Microcontrollers are very rich in terms of components and basic building blocks attached with them. Typically, they include a CPU, RAM, some form of ROM, I/O ports, and timers.

             Unlike a general-purpose computer, which also includes all of these components, a microcontroller is designed for a very specific task – to control a particular system. As a result, the parts can be simplified and reduced, which cuts down on production costs. A microcontroller is a computer-on-a-chip optimized to control electronic devices. It is a type of microprocessor emphasizing self-sufficiency and cost-effectiveness, in contrast to a general-purpose microprocessor, the kind used in a PC. A typical microcontroller contains all the memory and I/O interfaces needed, whereas a general purpose microprocessor requires additional chips to provide these necessary functions.


AVR Microcontrollers:

                   AVR® microcontrollers have a RISC core running single cycle instructions and a well-defined I/O structure that limits the need for external components. Internal oscillators, timers, UART, SPI, pull-up resistors, pulse width modulation, ADC, analog comparator and watch-dog timers are some of the features one can find in AVR devices. AVR instructions are tuned to decrease the size of the program whether the code is written in C or Assembly. With on-chip in-system programmable Flash and EEPROM, the AVR is a perfect choice in order to optimize cost and get product as quickly as needed.


  1. High Performance        
  2. Low power consumption         
  3. High code density        
  4. In-System development

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PIC Microcontrollers:

               Microchip provides solutions for the entire performance range of 8-bit and 16-bit microcontrollers, with a powerful architecture, flexible memory technologies, comprehensive easy-to-use development tools, complete technical documentation and post design-in support through a global sales and distribution network. Benefits realized by selecting Microchip’s microcontroller solutions are:

● Easy migration across product families
● Low-risk product development & faster time to market
● Lower total system cost and Production Progrmming services



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