There’s one element that’s a part of just about every design -- a processor element. That’s a fancy way of saying the microprocessor or microcontroller. While it’s easy to say that most MCUs are similar, there are differences among the various architectures (and sometimes very subtle differences) that can make or break your design.
What is the peripheral mix? How much memory is embedded? How do you relate to the tool chain? Is there an upgrade (or downgrade) path to migrate to for future generations? And so on. Those questions just scratch the surface of how to choose the right processor, because generally, each of the processor vendors can answer those questions within its own offerings.
As a way to assist you in this crucial development stage, we’ve put together a series of classes in our Continuing Education Center that looks at the PIC family of microcontrollers. The lecture series is named Pick (and Implement) the Right PIC MCU. If you’re considering this architecture for your project, I highly recommend you take the time to sit in on this week’s lectures. (Note that the classes are archived, so you don’t have to be there when the live classes occur.)
Find out more about the Digi-Key Continuing Education Center and earning IEEE professional development hours here.
Good point far911. What people mistake generally is that they over spec their MCU requirement with the fear of failing and believe the hype created my the market which costs them alot. It is very important to have the right knowledge about the requirements of the application along with its corresponding specs on MCUs.
I am currently working with STM 32 and TI HDK kit. Both of the are really good 32 bit architecture MCUs and both utilize ARM architecture. Specially, the compactness of HDK kit is really usefull. You get set up really fast on that and it comes with a Halcogen software which makes coding a whole lot easier with its configuration code.
Hi mrdon - its been awhile since I messed with PICs although that is only because I have been involved in other things...I sure do like 'em! I started out with the old 8751 back in the day and have always had great affection for microcontrollers.
My last PIC project has been awhile - I used a PICkit 2 with the older MPLAB IDE (I would have to go boot up my old lap top to see which version it was) - and programmed in assembly - it worked like a champ. It required PWM which had a great deal to do with my MCU selection - it is onboard the PIC16F616 - very fun project! Hubby designed the hardware and I wrote the software which made it extra special.
Thanks for the comments and yes I agree that Microchip has a variety of good PIC MCUs to choose from. I'm currently exploring the PIC18F8680 microcontroller for future training courses and projects. Just wondering if you have tried their MPLABx IDE platform for developing PIC source code?
Now this is exciting news - I have used PICs in a few projects and really like not only Microchip's amazing selection and a very well done web page for technical support - but they also boast a wonderful online community that has gotten me out of a jam more than once...and the programming tools are easy and intuitive.
Mrdon is right on target with his comment, "Ultimate, the customer has to know the product they are desigining interms of functional requirements in order to make the appropriate mcu choice" in that you have to understand the project so that you select the correct microcontroller for your application, including nuances that you may not think about when you first start out. This series of classes are a great idea!
I agree. I'm teaching a microprocessor and microcontroller class at ITT Tech and one of the questions asked by my students is, "What's the right processor to pick for an embedded application"? Several items I suggest in picking the right processor where discussed in Rich Nass's article. A class on this topic will always draw a large crowd because of the DIY/Maker movement that's happening in the states and overseas. Developers and hobbyist are always interested in knowing how to get the most out of a microprocessor or microcontroller for their embedded projects.
I'll be presenting a CEC course on the Arduino scheduled June 9th - 13th. I'll be using some projects from my latest Arduino book during the course presentations.
I agree. MCU suppliers have a big handle in what type of processor to use based on their marketing strategy. Ultimate, the customer has to know the product they are desigining interms of functional requirements inorder to make the appropriate mcu choice.
I guess it is true that we have to be sure about the processor according to our need and for that taking guidance is an excellent idea. Usually we just buy it according to the guidance given by the seller or the publicity conducted by the companies.
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Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.