I'm still trying to fight my way through all of the exciting news that emerged from the Embedded World Exhibition and Conference, which was held last week in Nuremberg, Germany.
Take the folks at Microchip, for example -- I could barely keep up with the barrage of information heading my way. One item that caught my eye was the fact that Microchip has expanded its range of low pin count, peripheral-rich, general-purpose 8-bit MCUs targeted at safety-critical applications.
I don’t know about you, but I have a soft-spot for 8-bit MCUs in general. One use for the members of this PIC16(L)F161X family -- which come under the heading of Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) -- is to offload timing-critical and core-intensive tasks from the
pain main processor, thereby freeing it up to focus on higher-level tasks.
As an aside, you have to love Microchip's naming conventions -- what a "Wizard Wheeze" it is to have an 8-bit MCU called "PIC16" -- there's no way this could possibly confuse anyone (LOL).
But we digress... "Why are these of interest for safety-critical applications?" I hear you cry. Well, they include some very useful fault-detecting features implemented in hardware, including the Windowed Watchdog Timer (WWDT), which monitors proper software operation within predefined limits, and a Cyclic Redundancy Check with Memory Scan (CRC/SCAN), which detects and scans memory for corrupted data (click here for more information).
But wait, there's more, because Microchip has further expanded its 8-bit MCU portfolio with the PIC12(L)F157X MCU family. (I know, 8-bit MCUs... PIC12... let's not go there).
These little beauties are equipped with three full-featured 16-bit PWMs with independent timers. The use of 16 bits provides the high resolution required for tasks such as the control of advanced LED lighting, stepper motors, battery charging, and other applications requiring this level of precision (click here for more information).
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting