Microchip upgrades PIC, AVR MCUs for IoT

Microchip upgrades PIC, AVR MCUs for IoT

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By Peter Clarke

The PIC16F18446 family is intended to sit right next to a sensor nodes or multiple sensors. The 8bit MCU makes use of an integrated 12bit analog-to-digital converter with an additional arithmetic logic unit (ADC2) and operates from 1.5V to 5V, providing compatibility with the majority of both analog output sensors and digital sensors. The ADC2 filters autonomously, providing more accurate analog sensor readings and only wakes up the core only when needed lowering power consumption. As well as enhancing the PIC range with increased resolution it provides enhance memory spaces.

It provides up to 28kbytes of flash memory and 2kbytes of SRAM in 14- and 20-pin packages. The chip is manufactured in a 0.25-micron process technology and operates at up to 32MHz clock frequency. Although support for secure processing is not provided Microchip does have a number of mechanisms to protect code and provide copying of software out of the microcontroller.

There is also peripheral pin select (PPS) which means there is an almost universal interconnect matrix between the I/O and the core of the microcontroller. This allows pin out to be changed and is helpful when polling sensors.

Next: ATmega

The ATmega4809 is a higher end command and control processor that while still suitable for the IoT is not limited to that. It would also provide enough processing as an applicance controller or within the limb of an industrial robot, Microchip said. It also brings features available in other AVR microcontrollers into the mega series, such as: event-based communications between peripherals in the chip and configurable custom logic.

The high-speed ADC enables faster conversion of analog signals resulting in deterministic system responses. As the first megaAVR device to include Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs), the ATmega4809 can execute tasks in hardware instead of through software and thereby reduce the software burden and development time. By using CIPs to execute command and control tasks in the MCU instead of in the MPU, the risk of delayed responses is decreased, resulting in a better end-user experience.

The ATmega4809 has been selected to be the onboard microcontroller of a next-generation Arduino board.

The new PIC16F18446 microcontrollers are compatible with MPLAB PICkit 4 (PG164140), Microchip’s latest in-circuit tool for low-cost programming and debugging. The Curiosity development board (DM164137), a feature-rich rapid prototyping board, can also be used to start development with these MCUs. Both development tools are supported by the MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and the cloud-based MPLAB Xpress IDE. Additionally, MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC), a free software plug-in, provides a graphical interface to configure peripherals and functions for any application.

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