Microcontrollers are also known as mini-computers; they consist of a microchip on which a small CPU and other components are embedded. Microcontrollers have a wide range of applications, the most common ones are the automation of electronic equipment, robotics, and industries to control the temperature. The microcontrollers are of different types like 8-bits, 16-bits, and 32-bits.
In the market, there are a lot of microcontrollers that are used for different purposes and have different architectures. In this article, the top microcontrollers are discussed with their architectures and applications.
Microcontroller 1 : PIC16F877A
The PIC family of microcontrollers is very much popular for its uses and functions. This family of microcontrollers is very helpful for beginners as well as for experts. The PIC18F877A is one of the most popular microcontrollers of this family. The PIC16F877A has 40 legs with 5 ports from A to E. It includes the 3 timers; 2 are 8-bit and one is 16-bit. It has a flash memory technology because of which you can write and erase the code from the PIC16F877A microcontroller unlimited times. The PIC16F877A microcontroller also contains the EEPROM which is used to store a small amount of data permanently and the other important features of the PIC16F877A are:
|Total number of pins||40|
|Total number of ports||5|
|Operating voltage||2-5.5 volts|
|Total I/O pins||33|
|Total ADC channels||14|
|Total number of timers||3|
|Total number of comparators||2|
|CPU maximum speed||256 MHz|
Microcontroller 2 : ESP32
The ESP32 is a microcontroller having Bluetooth and WiFi integrated into its chip. It is the upgraded form of the ESP8266 having low power and low cost as compared to it. The family of ESP32 contains the built-in antennas and switches and also in their heart, a single-core or a dual-core Tensilica Xtensa LX6 microprocessor is present with a clock rate of about 240 MHz. The advantage of using the ESP32 is that the low-level device drivers, the wireless protocol stacks for WiFi, and Bluetooth are already installed in this module because of this, it has applications mostly in smart technology like PLCs (programmable logic controllers), smart locks, thermostats, and surveillance cameras.
The prominent features of ESP32 are:
|Processor||Tensilica Xtensa 32-bit LX6 microprocessor|
|Wifi||802.11 b/g/n/e/i (802.11n @ 2.4 GHz up to 150 Mbit/s)|
|Bluetooth||v4.2 BR/EDR and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)|
|Performance of processor||Up to 600 DMIPS|
Microcontroller 3 : Arduino UNO rev3
Another microcontroller’s family which is among the top microcontroller families. The Arduino has different versions of microcontrollers like Arduino Mega, Arduino Uno rev3, and Arduino Uno. The Arduino UNO rev3 is the latest edition of Arduino having a ATMega328p microcontroller. The applications of Arduino UNO rev3 are from beginner projects to industrial projects. The users can connect Arduino UNO rev3 to the USB ports of the computer as well as to the AC and DC power supplies.
The important features one should know before choosing the Arduino UNO rev3:
|Total I/O pins||14|
|Ceramic resonator||16 MHz|
|Communication||UART, IC2, and SPI|
Microcontroller 4 : ATtiny85
The ATtiny85 microcontroller is small in size, has a low form factor, and has fewer GPIOs. The architecture of Attiny 85 is RISC CPU due to which its performance is high. The feature of a watchdog timer in it makes it special among the other microcontrollers, and this feature enhances the security of the ATtiny85. The ATtiny 85 is used where interfacing is required among different devices and sensors.
The key features of Attiny85 are:
|Total number of pins||8|
|Voltage||1.8 to 5.5 volts|
|RAM memory||512 Bytes|
|Power save modes||power down, ADC noise reduction, and Idle mode|
|Maximum oscillator speed||Up to 20MHz|
|Total number of registers||32|
|Total number of I/O pins||6|
Microcontroller 5 : Raspberry Pi PICO
Raspberry Pi is known for its processors but now they are also known for the microcontrollers after the release of the PICO microcontroller. It is released by the Raspberry Pi with a price of just $4 and it has the footprint similar to Arduino Nano. The most important features because of which it has been selected in the top Microcontroller are:
|Microcontroller||Raspberry Pi RP2040 Dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ architecture which is clocked at 133MHz|
|External RAM||Upto 16MB can be connected|
|Input voltage||1.8 – 5.5 volts DC|
|In-built sensor||Temperature sensor|
|Boot select pushbutton||Included|
Microcontrollers are used for automation of electronic devices. There are a huge number of microcontrollers being used in the World on simple projects as well as on industrial level. In this write-up, top microcontrollers have been discussed which should be known to every electronic enthusiast. The five microcontrollers which are discussed in this write-up with its architecture are most widely used nowadays.