At the outset, let us glance through the concept of a microcontroller (MCU). An MCU is a compact integrated circuit designed to control specific operations in an embedded system. The typical components of a microcontroller include a processor, memory, and input/ output (I/O) peripherals on a single chip. Also termed embedded controller, or microcontroller unit (MCU), the typical applications of MCUs include office machines, robots, vehicles, transceivers, etc.
In other words, a microcontroller resembles a mini-computer that controls small features of a large component without an intricate front-end OS. Now that we’ve taken a quick look at what microcontrollers are, let us look at the features of a microcontroller and highlight a few microcontroller products manufactured by Nuvoton and Infineon.
Features of Microcontrollers:
- Processor: From simple 4-bit, 8-bit or 16-bit processors to more complex 32-bit or 64-bit processors
- Memory Types: Random Access Memory (RAM) and non-volatile memory types. It includes flash memory, erasable programmable read-only memory (EPROM) and electrically erasable programmable read-only memory (EEPROM).
- Architecture: Based on Harvard architecture or von Neumann architecture that offer varying data exchange methods between the processor and memory. Basis of the Processor: Complex Instruction Set Computing (CISC) or Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC)
- Input and output pins to execute peripheral functions such as Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) controllers, analog-to-digital converters, universal asynchronous receiver transmitter (UART), universal synchronous/asynchronous receiver transmitter (USART), etc.
Nuvoton Microcontroller Products
Nuvoton manufactures and extensive range of microcontroller products. A few of them have been mentioned below. To know about other products, and their applications and features, connect with Millennium Semiconductors.
|Some Key Features
|Low Power Touch Key ML56 SeriesML56MD1ML56LD1ML56SD1
|ThermostatHome Application HMIMeasurement Devices
|Voltage range: 1.8 V to 3.6 VTemperature range: -40°C to +105°COperating speed: 24 MHzSupport programmable internal VLCD charge pump modeSupport Internal resistor bias, capacitor biasSupport 2.8V to 5.5V LCD operating voltage4 COM x 32 SEG, 6 COM x 30 SEG, 8 COM x 28 SEG1/2, 1/3, 1/4 bias selectableUp to 4-ch PDMA controllerNormal run mode: 100 µA/ MHz+ 400 µAIdle mode: lowest current: 17 µAWake up from power down in 10 us (run with HIRC).
|M487 Ethernet Series
|Smart HomesIndustrial IoTIoT GatewaySerial-to-Ethernet Converter
|Up to 192 MHz Arm® Cortex ®-M4F delivering 1.25 DMIPS per MHzMemory Protection Unit (MPU)DSP instruction set2 KB One-Time-Programmable ROM4 KB Secure Protection ROMUp to 160 KB RAM, including 32 KB external SPI Flash cache80 bytes of battery-powered backup registersInternal PLL up to 480 MHzInternal 12 MHz RC oscillatorInternal 10 kHz RC oscillator4 to 24 MHz crystal oscillatorVoltage range: 1.8V to 3.6VTemperature range: – 40°C to +105°C
|M485 Crypto Series
|Smart PaymentSecure USB deviceFingerprint moduleSecure IoT device
|Memory Protection Unit (MPU)Up to 192 MHz Arm® Cortex ®-M4F delivering 1.25 DMIPS per MHz4 KB Secure Protection ROM512 KB zero-wait state Flash memory2 KB One-Time-Programmable ROMLCD parallel interface, i80 modeTwo quadrature encoder interfacesTwo 24-bit, 3-ch input capture timer/counter unitsVoltage range: 1.8V to 3.6VTemperature range: – 40 ℃ to +105 ℃
Infineon Microcontroller Products
|Some Key Features
|H-Bridge Driver IC with Integrated Arm® Cortex® M3
|Window liftSunroofElectrical fansElectrical pumps
|Scalability in terms of flash memory sizes and MCU system clock frequency to support an extensive range of motor control algorithmsSame MCU and peripherals as the TLE987x family3-phase driverCharge pump can drive gate charges up to 150nC per MOSFET under restricted conditions
|32-bit XMC1000 Industrial Microcontroller Arm® Cortex®-M0
|Connected LED lighting suppliesPower tool motor controlFan motor controlI/O modules used in automationSmall combustion engine controls as in lawn movers
|32-bit XMC1000 Industrial Microcontroller Arm® Cortex®-M0The BCCU eases digital LED dimming and color control applicationsMultiCAN provides connectivity with 2 nodes and 32 message objectsHall sensors and optical encoders can be connected to POSIF, a position interface for motor position control30ns comparators enable AC-DC and low voltage DC-DC SMPS control, for instance, up to 4 channel buck converters
|XC88x Series (Legacy Microcontroller> Legacy 8-bit / 16-bit Microcontroller> XC800 A-Family (Automotive))
|16-bit Vector Computer (MDU+CORDIC) for Field Oriented ControlMulti CAN up to 2 CAN nodes10-bit ADC with high accuracy (8-channels). Fast conversion in 1 µsBackground E²PROM emulation3 independent capture/compare timers with up to 4 PWM channels
General Applications of Microcontrollers:
- Smart energy
- Building automation
- Industrial automation
- IoT deployments
- Electromechanical systems in devices such as fridges, mobile phones, ovens, etc.
- Office machines such as scanners, photocopiers, fax machines, security systems, ATMs, etc.