Microcontrollers

Microcontrollers, also referred to as MCUs (microcontroller units), are embedded semiconductor devices used in circuit board design. They are essentially a computer within an integrated circuit (IC). Microcontrollers are mostly used in single-function ’embedded’ applications, unlike microprocessors which are designed for general-purpose work in Personal Computers, Tablets and Smartphones. Microcontrollers are limited in their clock speed compared to microprocessors by the relative slowness of their non-volatile Flash program memory.


What are they made up of?


Microcontrollers contain single or multiple processors (sometimes referred to as CPUs), plus memory and I/O peripherals. These peripherals include timers, ADCs (analogue-to-digital converters) and DACs (digital-to-analogue converters).


What does “8-bit” mean?


Microcontrollers have a data bus width which describes the amount of data the MCU can process at a time. For example, an 8-bit microcontroller can process 8 bits at one time. Popular data bus widths include 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit MCUs.


What packages are there?


MCUs come in standard chip packages with various pin counts. Package types include:


  • LQFP

  • PDIP

  • QFN

  • SOIC

  • SSOP

  • TQFP

  • TSSOP

What are ARM processor cores?


Microcontrollers often contain an ARM microprocessor core. ARM represents an architecture developed by ARM Holdings, which is used by other companies to manufacture microprocessors and other devices such as System-on-Chip (SoCs).


  • Cortex-M0

  • Cortex-M0+

  • Cortex-M1

  • Cortex-M3

  • Cortex-M4

  • Cortex-M7

  • Cortex-M23

  • Cortex-M33

  • Cortex-M35P

Where are microcontrollers used?


  • Computers

  • Automotive

  • Robotics

  • Automation

  • Medical equipment

  • Home appliances

...
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Description Price Family Name Package Type Mounting Type Pin Count Device Core Data Bus Width Program Memory Size Maximum Frequency RAM Size USB Channels Number of PWM Units ADC Channels Number of SPI Channels Typical Operating Supply Voltage
RS Stock No. 405-654
Mfr. Part No.BS2-IC
MYR200.41
Each
units
BASIC Stamp 2 PDIP Through Hole 24 BASIC Stamp 2 - 2 kB 20MHz 32 B 0 - - 0 5 → 15 V
RS Stock No. 405-626
Mfr. Part No.P8X32A-Q44
MYR32.68
Each
units
Propeller LQFP Surface Mount 44 P8X32A 32bit 64 kB 80MHz 32.768 kB 1 x Device - - 0 2.7 → 3.6 V
RS Stock No. 405-597
Mfr. Part No.P8X32A-D40
MYR32.68
Each
units
Propeller PDIP Through Hole 40 P8X32A 32bit 64 kB 80MHz 32.768 kB 1 x Device - - 0 2.7 → 3.6 V
RS Stock No. 405-587
Mfr. Part No.BSP2P40-IC
MYR439.51
Each
units
BASIC Stamp 2 PDIP Through Hole 40 SX48AC - 16 kB 20MHz 38 kB, 128 kB - - - 0 5 → 12 V
RS Stock No. 171-1687
Mfr. Part No.P8X32A-D40
MYR51.502
Each (In a Tube of 10)
units
Propeller PDIP Through Hole 40 P8X32A 32bit 64 kB 80MHz 32.768 kB 1 x Device - - 0 2.7 → 3.6 V
RS Stock No. 171-1688
Mfr. Part No.P8X32A-Q44
MYR37.252
Each (In a Tray of 160)
units
Propeller LQFP Surface Mount 44 P8X32A 32bit 64 kB 80MHz 32.768 kB 1 x Device - - 0 2.7 → 3.6 V