Microchip Grows its Commitment to the 8-bit PIC and AVR Market

By Chad Cox

Embedded Computing Design

April 29, 2022

News

Image Courtesy of Microchip Technologies

With 5G wireless controlling the landscape of embedded design in 2022, Microchip’s 8-bit PIC and AVR microcontroller (MCU) families are adding market value. Microchip Technology Inc.  announced the release of five new product families and over 60 new individual devices that offer embedded designers simple solutions to common problems.

Microchip states that designers looking to development groundbreaking designs are turning to Microchip’s families of PIC and AVR MCUs because of their processing power, ability to easily communicate with other chips, and analog peripherals that have been built to be exceptionally configurable without having to make changes to the Printed Circuit Board (PCB).

The devices combine ASIC-like capabilities with simple development that expands traditional MCU capabilities and permits devices to be configured as smart peripheral chips. Smart peripherals, like the software-controlled op amp found on the PIC16F171 family, the Multi-Voltage I/O (MVIO) and Analog-to-Digital Converter with Computation (ADCC) add value to applications that otherwise would not use traditional MCUs. 

Spanning multiple voltage domains is a common situation in systems that include chips using different supply voltages (e.g., connecting a 5V MCU to a 1.8V sensor). This system would typically demand level-shifting hardware, which increases costs. Microchip shares that the MVIO peripheral found on its latest 8-bit MCUs, including the AVR DD family, allows a single port on the MCU to operate in a different voltage domain than the rest of the MCU, which eliminates the need for additional external components.

According to Microchip, the Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) available across the Microchip PIC and AVR product range can be programmed with MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC) to be easily connected to form a hardware processing chain. This makes it possible to create custom peripherals that eliminate software processing cycle times. For example, a WS2812 LED array, which requires unique timing to be driven correctly, can be controlled easily by configuring a super peripheral consisting of a Pulse-Width Modulator (PWM), an SPI interface, and the Configurable Logic Cell (CLC).

The 8-bit MCU portfolio is pin-to-pin compatible, which allows an alternate PIC or AVR MCU to be selected when more performance is needed or when a customer wants to maximize product availability while minimizing redesign requirements.

“PIC and AVR microcontrollers are incredibly popular because they are designed to meet our clients’ requirements for current, as well as future, applications,” said Greg Robinson, vice president of marketing for Microchip’s MCU8 business unit. “We have also built a robust supply chain for 8-bit PIC and AVR MCUs­, the vast majority of which are manufactured in Microchip-owned facilities. This allows us to control the production process in ways that are not common in the industry.”

For more information, visit microchip.com.