Microcontrollers solve tough analog system design challenges

21-10-2020 | Microchip Technology | Semiconductors

Microchip Technology has released the PIC18-Q41 and AVR DB MCU families that are the first to combine advanced analog peripherals and multi-voltage operation with inter-peripheral connections for increased system integration and lowered signal acquisition times and provide the convenience and efficiency of operating in a single design environment.

“Microchip is bringing easy-to-use analog capability to cost-effective PIC and AVR MCUs so designers can meet the requirements of large-scale IoT systems,” said Greg Robinson, associate vice president of marketing for Microchip’s 8-bit microcontroller business unit. “With a unified, seamless development tool experience, designers can use these MCUs as a single-chip controller, or as an intelligent analog signal conditioning component in a larger system.”

To meet the requirement for signal conditioning in space-constrained sensing and measuring applications such as IoT end nodes and industrial, wearables, medical devices, automotive and lighting systems, the PIC18-Q41 MCU has a configurable op-amp and ADC with computation and DACs. It is especially well-suited for IoT and large-scale AI at-the-edge, including predictive maintenance edge nodes in a smart factory. Provided in compact 14 and 20-pin packages, the PIC18-Q41 MCU also makes a good companion to the company's 32-bit MCUs and other controllers that need analog integration.

Mixed-signal IoT systems often include multiple power domains, and the AVR DB MCU simplifies the challenges of these designs while reducing cost by integrating true bi-directional level shifters. This feature lowers cost in a wide range of applications including automotive, appliances, HVAC and liquid measurement. The addition of three independent and highly configurable op-amps, a 12-bit differential ADC, 10-bit DAC, three zero cross detectors and Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) makes the AVR DB MCU ideal for virtually any application involving analog signal conditioning and processing functions.

The PIC18-Q41 and AVR DB MCU product families are supported by the company's MPLAB X IDE, its MPLAB Code Configurator and the MPLAB Mindi Analog Simulator. MCC is a free software plug-in that offers a graphical interface to configure peripherals and functions specific to an application. In addition to MCC, the AVR DB is supported by Atmel START, Atmel Studio and third-party tools such as IAR and the GCC C compiler. MCC and START help analog and digital designers easily configure an op-amp system for various typical use cases through a graphical user interface with no coding required.

By Natasha Shek