RobotBASIC Projects for
the Parallax Scribbler S3.
Those wanting more
power than the S3’s native
sensors can expand the
robot with a custom three
PING))) mount and a
beacon detector from
RobotBASIC (no soldering
Digital Control Meets Intelligent
Whether it’s used as an initial introduction into embedded development, the main controller of a
connected application, or as an attachment component to
offload tasks from a larger system, the role of the eight-bit
microcontroller (MCU) continues to expand.
While simple to understand and implement, additional
hardware and software tools (such as Core Independent
Peripherals (CIPs), Intelligent Analog, and MPLAB® Code
Configurator) enable greater processing power while
decreasing the amount of code, power consumption, and
design effort needed to get to market quickly.
With this in mind, Microchip Technology, Inc., has
introduced two new microcontroller families.
The new PIC16F18446 family of microcontrollers are
ideal components for use in sensor nodes. Designed with
flexibility in mind, the PIC16F18446 and its integrated
Analog-to-Digital Converter with Computation (ADC2) runs
from 1.8V to 5V, providing compatibility with a majority of
both analog output sensors and digital sensors.
The 12-bit ADC2 does its filtering autonomously,
providing more accurate analog sensor readings and
ultimately higher quality end-user data. Because the ADC2
has the ability to wake the core only when needed (instead
of on a pre-determined schedule), the power consumption
of the system is lowered, making this MCU ideal for
battery-powered applications. This power-saving capability
also enables sensor nodes to run on small batteries,
decreasing end-user maintenance costs and the overall
The introduction of the ATmega4809 brings a new
series of megaAVR® microcontrollers that were designed to
create highly responsive command and control applications.
The processing power of the integrated high speed Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) enables faster conversion of
analog signals, resulting in deterministic system responses.
As the first megaAVR device to include Core
Independent Peripherals (CIPs), the ATmega4809 can
execute tasks in hardware instead of through software. This
decreases the amount of code and can tremendously
reduce software efforts for faster time to market.
For example, the Configurable Custom Logic (CCL)
peripheral can connect the ADC to a customized
combination of external triggers through hardware without
interrupting the core, which improves response time while
reducing power consumption.
The ATmega4809 can also be added to a system to
offload functions from more complex MPU based designs.
By using CIPs to execute command and control tasks in the
MCU instead of in the MPU, the risk of delayed responses is
decreased, resulting in a better end-user experience.
The ATmega4809 has been selected to be the onboard
microcontroller of a next-generation Arduino board. The
addition of the ATmega4809 to this board allows
developers to spend less time coding and more time
creating. The hardware based CIPs enable the creation of
designs which are more efficient while making the
transition from project to production-ready easier.
The new PIC16F18446 microcontrollers are
compatible with MPLAB PICkit™ 4 (PG164140) —
Microchip’s latest in-circuit tool for low-cost
programming and debugging. The Curiosity
development board (DM164137) — a feature-rich
rapid prototyping board — can also be used to start
development with these MCUs.
Both development tools are supported by the
MPLAB X IDE and the cloud-based MPLAB Xpress
IDE. Additionally, MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC; a
free software plug-in) provides a graphical interface
to configure peripherals and functions for any
application. Designers wanting to begin development
immediately can download rapid-start code examples
and order a complimentary MPLAB Xpress
PIC16F18446 development board, available for a
18 SERVO 05/06.2018