What is Microcontroller? | Features | Types | Application - Electrical C & V


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23 April 2020

What is Microcontroller? | Features | Types | Application

What is Microcontroller?

Microcontroller is a small and very inexpensive microcomputer that is designed to perform special functions of embedded system. Such as - to display information of microwave, and to receive remote signal etc.

In other words, "The Microcontroller is an integrated circuit (IC) that is used to control other parts of the Electronic System."

What is Microcontroller? | Features | Types | Application

A common Micro-controller consists of processor, serial ports, memory (RAM, ROM, EPROM) and peripherals.

Micro-controller is also called Embedded Controller. They are used in trains, in medical equipments (devices), robots, vending machines, and household appliances etc.

Features of Microcontroller 

1. Its cost and size is less.

2. It operates at low clock rate frequency. Generally it uses 4 bit words and it consumes very little power.

3. It has a dedicated input device and often a small LED or LCD display for output.

4. Usually it is embed (connected) in other devices and controls the functions of those devices.

5. The program used by the Micro-controller is stored in the ROM.

6. It is used in situations where limited computing tasks are required.

Types of Microcontroller

We can divide Micro-controllers into different categories based on memory, architecture, bits and instruction sets: -
we can divide micro-controller into three categories: -

1. Bit  ( On the basis of bit )

i) 8 bit Microcontroller: - This type of Micro-controller is used to execute arithmetic and logical operations such as: - adding, subtracting, multiplying, division etc. For example: - Intel 8031 ​​and 8051 is 8 bit Microcontroller.

ii) 16 bit: - This type of microcontroller is also used in arithmetic and logical operations where high accuracy and performance is required. For example: - Intel 8096.

iii) 32 bit: - This type of micro-controller is used in automatically controlled appliances like: - automatic operational machine, medical equipment etc.

2. Memory ( On the basis of Memory): -

Depending on the memory, it can be divided into two parts: -

i) External memory microcontroller: - This type of microcontroller is designed in such a way that the chip does not have program memory. For example: - intel 8031.

ii) Embedded memory microcontroller: - This type of micro-controller is designed in such a way that the chip contains all programs and data memory. For example: - 8051.

3. Instruction Set

Based on the instruction set, it can be divided into two parts: -

i) CISC: - The full name of CISC is complex instruction set computer. This allows the user to insert only one instruction in place of many simple instructions.

ii) RISC: - The full name of RISC is Reduced Instruction Set Computer. This reduces the operational time by shortening the clock cycle from each instruction.

Applications of Microcontroller 

1. They are used in light sensing and control devices such as: - LED.

2. Devices that sense temperature such as: - microwave oven, and chimneys etc.

3. Fire detectors and safety devices such as: - in a fire alarm.

4. Measuring device eg: - in volt meter.

5. In current meter.

6. In industrial instrumentation devices

Elements of Microcontroller 

1. CPU (central processing unit) - CPU is the brain of a microcontroller. It fetch the instruction, decodes it and finally executes it. That is, it performs arithmetic operations, manages data flow, generates control signals.

2. Memory - Memory is used to store data and program. A microcontroller usually has a certain amount of RAM and ROM (EPROM, EEPROM etc.) or flash memory.

3. Parallel input / output ports - Parallel input / output ports are used to drive many devices like: - LCD, LED, printers etc.

4. Serial Ports - Serial ports that provide interfaces between Microcontrollers and other peripheral devices.

5. Timers / counters - A microcontroller can have one or more timers and counters. The timers and counters that are there provide the convenience of counting and timing abstract tasks.

6. Analog to Digital converter (ADC) - This converts the analog signal into a digital signal.

7. Digital to Analog converter (DAC) - It converts digital signal into analog signal.

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