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Microchip 16bit MCU line highlights performance, compatibility

Posted: 12 Oct 2005     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microchip technology  pic microcontroller  mcu  pic24 

In response to increased performance requirements from embedded systems designers, Microchip Technology Inc. unveiled its first family of 16bit PIC microcontrollers (MCUs)—the PIC24, which is comprised of 22 general purpose devices capable of up to 40MIPS performance, 16KB of RAM, 256KB of flash program memory, and available in up to 100-pin packages.

"Meeting the design challenges that customers face is the primary objective of the PIC24 family," said Mitch Obolsky, VP of Microchip's Advanced Microcontroller Architecture Division. "Just as we have in the 8bit MCU arena, we plan to rapidly expand the 16bit PIC24 family to meet our customers' ever-growing needs," he said.

Obolsky stated that Microchip's strength in 8bit MCUs comes from offering lowest system cost to their customers, and that they often integrate high-performance analog and peripherals to their products. "As we move in to 16bit, we will have a very similar approach. We will try to integrate surrounding components to the system to lower cost," he said. Obolsky said that some example would be adding real time clock calendar that exists in many boards, and employing a parallel MAC support that allows for a low-cost implementation similar to DMA.

Two series comprise the PIC24 family—the cost-effective PIC24F line that allows a step-up in performance, memory and peripherals for applications pushing the 8bit MCUs, and the high-performance PIC24H for more challenging applications, such as CAN communication modules, which permits up to 40MIPS performance and extra memory and peripherals.

The PIC24 family features starts at 16MIPS performance at 32MHz (for the PIC24F), self-programming flash program memory with options for 128KB, 96KB and 64KB and an 8KB RAM. It also has low-power power modes, includes two each of UART ports with LIN and IrDA interfaces, SPI ports and I² ports. The high-performance PIC24H series offers an up to 40MIPS performance, an added 256KB program memory and 16KB RAM options, as well as an eight-channel DMA. PIC24H also has a dual 12bit, 16-channel A/D peripheral for dual sample and hold, suited for more complex applications.

Supports JTAG protocol

"Microchip is also introducing JTAG on our products for the first time. Microchip started with the ICSP which is a two-pin protocol, JTAG is a four-pin protocol. We will not abandon our ICSP, we will allow partial JTAG. JTAG can be used can be used for boundary scan and programming," Obolsky said.

Applications of the PIC24 MCU family include security-system control panel, handheld remote control, optical network components, hand-held, remote and POS terminals, medical instruments and monitoring, factory automation systems, building monitor-and-control systems, and security/access systems. PIC24 delivers increased performance without sacrificing the architecture attributes that embedded designers require, including interrupt flexibility and responsiveness, code execution predictability, easy I/O manipulation, C code efficiency and system integrity.

The PIC24 is compatible with Microchip's universal MPLAB Integrated Development Environment development-tool platform, as well as on dsPIC digital signal controllers for a simplified upward migration path. In addition, the PIC24 family is supported by existing Microchip development tools such as the MPLAB C30 C compiler, an emulator and the MPLAB PM3 universal device programmer.

- Reden Mateo

Electronic Engineering Times-Asia




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