Building on the decade-long success of its 8-bit PIC microcontroller architecture, Microchip Technology Inc. is rolling out a compatible high-performance family that addresses the growing need for large on-chip memory.
The Chandler, Ariz.-based company today will unveil the first four devices from its new PIC18xxx architecture, which provides up to 2-Mbytes of program space using 16-bit instructions, up to 256 data registers, and features performance of 10 mips at 40 MHz.
Having grown from the 20th-largest manufacturer of 8-bit MCUs in 1990 to the second-largest in 1998, according to Dataquest Inc., San Jose, Microchip is now seeking to play a dominant role in the overall MCU market.
"Our PIC18 architecture will make us more competitive in the 8-bit world, and allow us to compete head-to-head with many 16-bit MCUs," said Ron Cates, strategic marketing manager for Microchip.
Compatible with Microchip's existing PIC12, PIC16, and PIC17 families of 8-bit MCUs, the new architecture will allow PIC microcontroller customers to migrate designs to higher integration while maintaining code investment, as well as hardware investment, via socket compatibility with existing printed-circuit-board layouts.
"We have a tremendous amount of business today through distribution, and a big reason for that is that smaller-volume customers want to reuse their boards," Cates said. "If they don't have to re-layout their boards every time they want to increase performance, it's money in their pocket and quicker time-to-market.
The PIC18C242 and PIC18C442 feature 8.192 ?? 16-bits of OTP program memory and 512 bytes of user RAM. The PIC18C252 and PIC18C452 have 16,384 ?? 16-bits of OTP program memory and 1,536 bytes of user RAM.
The PIC18C242 and PIC18C252 are available in 28-pin PDIP and SOIC packages, and the PIC18C442 and PIC18C452 are housed in 40- and 44-pin PDIPs, PLCCs, and TQFPs.
The devices include five- to eight-channel 10-bit analog-to-digital converters and programmable low-voltage reset and brownout detect. They feature communications capability, two 10-bit pulsewidth modulators, three 16-bit timers, a watchdog timer, 2.5- to 5.5-V operating voltage, and phase-lock loop.
Samples of the PIC18 family are scheduled for availability in August, with production set for the third quarter. In quantities of 10,000, the PIC18C242 is priced at $5.98, the PIC18C442 at $6.79, the PIC18C252 at $6.61, and the PIC18C452 at $7.41.