Product Roundup – Microcontrollers

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A microcontroller (MCU) is a small computer on a single IC that contains a processor core, memory, and programmable input/output peripherals. MCUs are embedded into a vast amount of products encompassing everything from automobiles to microwaves, TVs, to cell phones, home appliances and more. These low-power computers are dedicated to a specific task and run a program stored in ROM.

Typically a dedicated input device is accompanied by a small LED or LCD display for output. Input can be taken from remote controls, engine controllers, and keypads. MCUs can feature 1,000 bytes of ROM, 20 bytes or RAM, and can cost just a few cents. Since MCUs perform one specific task, low-cost and low-power performance is often the goal.

The Freescale DEMO9S09QG8 8-bit microcontroller, for example, is a demonstration board for the MC9508QG8 MCU. In this device, it is easy to develop application code based on the integrated USB-to-BDM interface, and CodeWarrior Development Studio with software examples. There is a 32-pin connector that allows the DEMO9S0QG8 board to connect to an expanded evaluation environment. Features include a 16-pin DP, 8 Kbyte flash, 512 bytes of RAM, 12 GPIO (1 input only, 1 output only), a timer interface module and SCI and SPI communications ports.


Texas Instrument’s MSP430A0121DW microcontroller is an ultra-low-power mixed signal MCU. The Texas Instruments MSP430 family of ultralow power microcontrollers consists of several devices featuring a variety of peripherals targeted for various applications. The architecture is optimized to achieve extended battery life in portable measurement applications. The device features a powerful 16-bit RISC CPU, 16-bit registers, and constant generators that attribute to maximum code efficiency.

A digitally controlled oscillator (DCO) allows wake-up from low-power modes to active mode in less than 6 μs. The MSP430F12x series is an ultra-low-power mixed signal microcontroller with a built-in 16-bit timer and 22 I/O pins. Applications include sensor systems to capture analog signals and convert them to digital values and process data or transmit to a host system, and as a stand-alone RF sensor front-end.

The Renesas UPD70F3476AGJA-GAE-G 32-bit single-chip MCU  is designed for automotive applications. The single-chip MCU is a member of NECEL’s V850 32-bit RISC family that matches performance gains achieved with RISC-based controllers to the needs of embedded control applications. It has a compact size and provides an excellent combination of general purpose peripheral functions, like serial communication interfaces (UART, clocked SI), timers and measurement inputs (A/D converter), with dedicated CAN network support. Controls and drivers for six stepper motors are included. It features power-saving modes that manage the power consumption effectively under varying conditions such as those that exist in an automotive dashboard or body.

Silicon Labs’ EFM32LG360F128G-E-CSP81 high-performance 32-bit MCU is designed for such applications as 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0+, Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4 microcontrollers for energy, gas, water and smart metering, health and fitness, smart accessories, alarm and security systems, as well as industrial and home automation.

Features include a memory protection unit, flexible energy management system, 20 nA at 3 V shutoff mode, 0.4 μA at 3 V shutoff mode with RTC and 0.65 μA at 3 V stop mode, including power-on reset, brownout detector, RAM and CPU retention and 0.95 μA at 3 V deep sleep mode, including RTC with 32.768 kHz oscillator.


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