8-Bit MCUs Tackle Closed-Loop Control Applications

June 4, 2018 Rich Nass

Closed-loop control is one of the most fundamental tasks performed by embedded systems. To that end, Microchip has released some new MCUs to help implement this technology. Thanks to some advancements in the architecture of the PIC and AVR 8-bit microcontroller (MCU) families, these devices have been optimized to implement closed-loop control. Specifically, they allow systems to offload the CPU to manage more tasks and save power.

The PIC18 Q10 and ATtiny1607 families featuring multiple intelligent core-independent peripherals (CIPs) that simplify development and enable quick response time to system events. Both parts can independently manage tasks and reduce the amount of processing required from the CPU. System designers can also save time and simplify design efforts with the hardware-based CIPs, which reduce the amount of software required to write and validate. Both families have features for functional safety and operate at up to 5 V, increasing noise immunity and providing compatibility with the majority of analog output and digital sensors.

Offered in a compact 3- by 3-mm, 20-pin QFN package, the ATtiny1607 family is optimized for space-constrained closed-loop control systems such as handheld power tools and remote controls. In addition to the integrated high-speed analog-to-digital converter (ADC) that provides faster conversion of analog signals resulting in deterministic system response, the devices provide improved oscillator accuracy, allowing designers to reduce external components and save costs.

Rapid prototyping with the ATtiny1607 family is supported by the ATmega4809 Xplained Pro (ATmega4809-XPRO) evaluation kit. The USB-powered kit features touch buttons, LEDs and extension headers for quick setup as well as an on-board programmer/debugger that seamlessly integrates with the Atmel Studio 7 Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and Atmel START, a free online tool to configure peripherals and software that accelerates development.

Among the CIPs available for the PIC18 Q10 family are the complementary waveform generator (CWG) peripheral, which simplifies complex switching designs, and an integrated ADC with computation that performs advanced calculations and data filtering in hardware without any intervention from the core. Such CIPs allow the CPU to execute more complex tasks, such as human-machine interface (HMI) controls and remain in a low-power mode to conserve power until processing is required. All PIC18 Q10 products are supported by MPLAB Code Configurator, a free software plug-in that provides a graphical interface to easily configure peripherals and functions.

The PIC18 Q10 and ATtiny1607 are available today. The PIC18 Q10 family starts at $0.77 each in 10,000-unit quantities, and pricing for the ATtiny1607 family starts at $0.56 each in 10,000-unit quantities.

About the Author

Rich Nass

Richard Nass is the Executive Vice-President of OpenSystems Media. His key responsibilities include setting the direction for all aspects of OpenSystems Media’s Embedded and IoT product portfolios, including web sites, e-newsletters, print and digital magazines, and various other digital and print activities. He was instrumental in developing the company's on-line educational portal, Embedded University. Previously, Nass was the Brand Director for UBM’s award-winning Design News property. Prior to that, he led the content team for UBM Canon’s Medical Devices Group, as well all custom properties and events in the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Nass has been in the engineering OEM industry for more than 25 years. In prior stints, he led the Content Team at EE Times, handling the Embedded and Custom groups and the TechOnline DesignLine network of design engineering web sites. Nass holds a BSEE degree from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

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