Microcontrollers with Peripherals to Save Cost, Board Space
April 2007
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The supplier’s first general-purpose, Flash PIC® microcontrollers offer several peripherals for more cost-effective control of fans or small motors. The 14-pin PIC16F616/610 and the 8-pin PIC12F615/609 microcontrollers are designed to substantially reduce system component counts and cost by integrating specialized peripherals, such as a full-bridge pulse-width modulator (PWM) with deadband control, a Timer1 Gate for pulse width measurement, a comparator for hall-effect sensor interfaces, and an A/D converter for temperature and various monitoring functions. The addition of an internal shunt regulator allows the microcontroller to run from higher voltage rails without the addition of voltage regulators. In cooling fans, they are said to provide greater functionality than discrete fan-control components, including linear speed control, improved dynamic response and the ability to customize the design with firmware changes rather than expensive hardware redesigns. Board space and cost is said to be reduced with features such as comparator hysteresis, to allow direct interfacing to a hall-effect element without additional signal-conditioning circuitry.

The supplier says that any high-voltage-rail applications, such as motor control and power supplies, require components to step down the input voltage for various control devices. Its PIC microcontrollers, available with an integrated shunt regulator option, allow engineers to design systems without adding a regulator. This may reduce costs and board space further.

Motor and power applications often require intermediate voltages for power drivers and other power components. The company says its microcontrollers address the requirements with a built-in S/R latch to design a switch-mode power supply for these intermediate voltages. Possible applications include blenders, toasters, smoke alarms, thermostat controls, cooling-fan control, power tools, and other motor controls. Microchip Technology Inc., www.microchip.com


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