MCUs Simplify Resolver-Based Motor Control Systems

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Jon Titus
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Some Older MCUs Still Alive
Jon Titus   10/29/2012 11:55:58 AM
Hi, William.  Yes, watch you don't get cut on the "bleeding edge" of new technologies.  That said, the venerable 8051 continues to live as does the Z80 family.  I believe Zilog still has variants of the Z80 family and Rabbit Semiconductor (now part of Digi International) has modules based on the Z80 architecture.  Of course the x86 architecture continues to roll on, too.

William K.
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Re: Some Older MCUs Still Alive
William K.   10/29/2012 4:50:12 PM

Yes, it is true that the 8051 is still around, and in quite a few variants, as well. But try to find an 8047. And of course the *86 is still around. But neither of those would be considered a "small" processor, I don't think. Also, it looks a bit like many of the newer crop of small devices are constantly changing, hoping to find a configuration that is what everybody wants. The less popular versions don't lkast as long. Sort of like the flat-pack CMOS ICs of a few years back.

Of course there are also those devices that go away because of yield problems, although that may be less common than a few years back. Presently it seems that Analog Devices has stopped producing one of the audio compressor devices, and a few other audio chips, for some reason. So products do go away.

Jon Titus
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Re: Some Older MCUs Still Alive
Jon Titus   10/29/2012 5:11:59 PM
Yes, semiconductors do go away.  A company called Reticon--acquired years ago by EG&G--made a programmable filter I liked very much.  No replacement.  Likewise, Intersil manufactured a dual-slope (integrating) amalog-to-digital converter.  That went away, too, although Maxim made the chip, too, but I haven't checked recently.  There are some secondary-market companies that have stocks of older ICs for companies that need replacements.

There's a balance between choosing recent semiconductors that have some history and longevity vs. picking the latest-and-greatest devices that might be a "flash in the pan." Engineers and product designers should always ask a supplier about the longevity of a device or product line.

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