Microcontroller chips are produced through VLSI fabrication and may come in word lengths ranging from simple 4bit microcontrollers to more robust 128bit devices. In order for the microcontroller to provide its capabilities to an application, various components are commonly added to the device. Generally speaking, the basic components of the microcontroller are its CPU, memory, input and output ports, serial ports, timers, analog to digital converter, digital to analog converter
, interpret control, and special functioning block. While seemingly complicated, each microcontroller component works together in order to control the functions of embedded systems.
The processor of the microcontroller may be considered the most important element out of the electronic equipment components as it allows for data to be fetched, decoded, and executed. With the CPU, all components on the microcontroller can act as a single system. Nevertheless, memory accessories
such as ROM or RAM are also critical to standard operations as they permit data and programs to be stored onto the device so that the CPU and other components may execute operations. With the use of the analog to digital converter and digital to analog converter, signals can be converted back and forth as the microcontroller communicates with other devices, receives data, and executes processes. With the use of the input, out, and serial ports, connections to other components may be established.
A microcontroller can come in a number of forms, often classified by architecture, memory, bits, and instruction sets. The PIC, or peripheral interface controller, microcontroller is commonly used for the embedded systems of vehicles, medical devices, robotics, vending machines, office devices, and other such equipment. In order for the device to carry out set processes, it may be programmed through the use of assembly, C, or Basic C languages. PICs are highly advantageous due to their affordable costs, high speeds, and low power consumption, and they can be found in almost every electronic device.
The 8051 family of microcontrollers is the most common, and such devices are fairly cheap. The programming of 8051 microcontrollers is written in C language, that of which is converted into assembly language for the device to process. Such microcontroller types are most often used for learning applications, and they may be found in fire alarms, automobiles, temperature sensing applications, and more.
The AVR microcontroller, or Advanced Virtual RISC, is an 8bit RISC solitary chip that was developed by Atmel in 1966. The AVR microcontroller was one of the first to take advantage of on-chip flash memory for storing programs, unlike other devices at the time which relied on EPROM, EEPROM, or ROM components. Flash memory is highly beneficial as compared to types such as EPROM as it allows for data to be written and erased as needed, rather than only allowing data to be written once.