The 8-bit microcontroller is only in its late 40s and is definitely not dead yet. The platforms may not be growing in size, but that doesn’t mean the platforms or tools can’t keep up.
Microchip’s latest PIC16F15386 (see figure) family is supported by the online MPLAB Xpress IDE and Code Configurator. It also includes a number of features for the Internet of Things (IoT) like memory access partition (MAP) for more secure memory management, along with low power idle and doze modes.
The PIC16F15386 is based on Microchip’s popular 8-bit PIC family, which has a RISC-style 14-bit instruction set. The system has an internal 32-MHz clock and storage includes up to 28 Kbytes (16 Kwords) of flash memory with MAP support and 2 Kbytes of RAM. There are also 224 bytes of data flash storage.
On the analog side, the system includes a 5-bit DAC and a 43-channel, 10-bit ADC. It has Microchip’s mTouch capacitive sensing support, plus a zero-crossing detect sensor, two comparators, and an internal voltage reference. The device information area (DIA) contains factory-calibrated data for the ADC and the fixed voltage reference (FVR).
The digital peripherals include two I2C/SPI ports, two enhanced USARTs, four 10-bit PWM timers, a pair of compare and capture PWM timers, a watchdog timer, and a hardware limit timer. There is also a complementary waveform generator and an on-chip temperature sensor.
The system also has four configurable logic cell (CLC) blocks designed to link on-chip peripherals together in a system that runs independently of the processor, allowing faster response time as well as peripheral operation when the processor is idle.
Each chip also has a 72-bit unique identifier. This can be handy for security as well as chip management during production as well as deployment. The family is available in 8- to 48-pin packages.
The system is supported by Microchip’s MPLAB X including the online version that works with the MPLAB Xpress Series Board that has a PIC16F15376. The 40-pin module provides access to all pins, and it can be used with the online version of MPLAB Xpress right out of the box.