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8-bit MCUs chase high-end features

Posted: 05 Dec 2003 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microcontroller? microchip technology? mcu? pic12f683? pic16f684?

Low-end 8-bit microcontrollers don't have the same performance headroom as 16- and 32-bit devices, but Microchip Technology Inc. thinks it has found a way to close the gap a little.

This week, the company will announce a trio of eight-pin and 14-pin MCUs that it says designers should consider before choosing a part with more pins. Aside from being endowed with larger chunks of memory than previous versions, the PIC12F683, PIC16F684 and PIC16F688 devices have features that can be hard to find in the low pin count variety, according to Microchip.

Among them is an internal oscillator that can run as high as 8MHz with an overall stability of 2 percent over its temperature range. This can be used as a backup in the event that a crystal oscillator fails. The oscillator includes software-enabled clock switching to keep power consumption to a minimum.

Microchip found other ways to keep a lid on power, by adding features such as low-power timers and wake-up modes. The devices consume between 8.5?A and 100?A when running at 32kHz to 1MHz with a 2V power supply. In standby mode, the current drops to 1nA, according to the company.

The Microchip MCUs can be used across many market segments, the company said, such as battery chargers, power tools and various appliances. The first device is available for sampling this month; the other two members will roll out in early 2004. Prices will range from $1.30 to $1.65.

- Anthony Cataldo

EE Times





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