What is Microcontroller? Microcontrollers

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A microcontroller is a programmable chip, a small computer on a single integrated circuit(IC); it contains the CPU (processor), memory, input and output (I/O) peripherals. It saves space, external peripheral timing, design time and project compatibility issues.

It is sometimes called an embedded controller or microcontroller unit (MCU), they are widely used in all our electronic gadgets and everyday life such as televisions, radios, washing machines, mobile phones, airplanes, cars, robotics etc.

Microcontrollers can be used in different application based on its processor such as 4-bit, 8-bit, 16-bit and complex processors such as 32-bit or 64-bit which are common in advanced technology.

When microcontrollers were first designed, they only use assembly language, but now the C programming language is the most frequently used language. Most common microcontrollers (MCU) includes 8051(by Intel) which was developed in 1985; the AVR (by Atmel) developed in 1996; the PIC (by Microchip technology).

Microcontrollers come with different kinds of memory such as Data Memory or Random Access Memory (RAM), Program Memory or Read-Only Memory (ROM) and the EEPROM.

 

Microcontroller Boards

MCU boards are microcontrollers built on a single printed circuit board, this boards provides easy access to interface other hardware components and simplifies user’s interaction with the MCU through pre-built libraries. 

Microcontroller boards contain onboard voltage regulators, filters, oscillators, pin sockets and also comes bootloaded (pre-loaded codes) which allows users to load programs into the microcontroller via serial ports. Examples of microcontroller boards include Raspberry Pi, CloudX, Arduino, Beaglebone etc.     

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