8-bit MCUs feature core-independent peripherals

21st July 2015
Nat Bowers

Expanding its growing portfolio of 8-bit PIC MCUs, Microchip has announced two families with Core-Independent Peripherals (CIPs) which combine to perform functions autonomously, without the core. This allows the 8-bit devices to be used in a broader range of applications, such as LED lighting, motor control, wearables, consumer electronics, IoT and safety-critical systems.

Because these functions are deterministically and reliably performed in hardware instead of software, CIPs enable system performance that is far beyond typical 8-bit MCUs while simplifying the design experience and reducing memory cost. Additionally, these two families are available in 8- to 40-pin packages, reducing board space while serving a wide 1.8 to 5.5V operating range. Both families offer the Peripheral Pin Select feature, which enables flexible pin mapping and PCB routing to minimise EMI and crosstalk.

The four members of the PIC16F1579 family are offered in 14 to 20-pin packages with up to 28kB of Flash. They are 8-bit PIC MCUs with four 16-bit PWMs, each with independent timers for flexible output and signal-generation functions, including edge, centre-aligned and other output modes. System-communication functions are supported via serial interfaces for LIN and DMX connectivity, while the family’s intelligent analogue integration enables signal and sensor interface functions.

The first 10 members of the PIC16F18877 family are available in 8 to 40-pin packages with up to 56kB of Flash. According to Microchip, they are the first MCUs to integrate an ADC with computation, which performs input and sensor interface functions such as accumulation, averaging and low-pass filter calculations in hardware instead of software, enabling the CPU to Sleep or execute other tasks. They are also claimed to be the first PIC16 MCUs to augment Microchip’s eXtreme Low Power technology with the IDLE and DOZE modes for reduced active power consumption. Finally, they are hailed as the first 8-bit MCUs with Peripheral Module Disable, which completely removes peripherals from the power rail and clock tree for zero power leakage. Other integrated CIPs, such as the Hardware Limit Timer, combine for the easy implementation of safety-critical functions.

The Curiosity Development Board (DM164137) is available today for $20, to enable easy system design. The freely downloadable MPLAB Code Configurator generates code with the click of a button, providing a visual representation of an MCU’s peripherals. It also enables the easy setup of CIPs and provides production-ready code, speeding the development efforts of both new and experienced users. Microchip’s MPLAB XC8 compiler and standard programmer/debuggers are also available for purchase.

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