Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller and analogue semiconductors, has released the first general-purpose, Flash PIC microcontrollers with several peripherals for more cost-effective control of fans or small motors.
The 14-pin PIC16F616/610 and the 8-pin PIC12F615/609 microcontrollers can substantially reduce system component counts and costs through the integration of specialised 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.
In the case of the PIC16HV616/610 and PIC12HV615/609 variants, the addition of an internal shunt regulator allows the PIC microcontroller to run from higher voltage rails, without the addition of voltage regulators.
Engineers designing small-motor control systems are always looking for ways to eliminate components and reduce board size and cost, while achieving higher levels of functionality and flexibility.
For example, in cooling fans, the PIC16F616/610 and PIC12F615/609 Flash microcontrollers provide greater functionality than discrete fan-control components, such as linear speed control, improved dynamic response and the ability to customise the design with firmware changes, rather than expensive hardware redesigns. At the same time, board space and cost is reduced with features such as comparator hysterisis, to allow direct interfacing to a hall-effect element, without additional signal-conditioning circuitry.
Many high-voltage-rail applications, such as motor control and power supplies, require components to step down the input voltage for various control devices. However, these new PIC microcontrollers, available with an integrated shunt regulator option (designated with HV in the part number), allow engineers to design systems without having to add a regulator, reducing costs and board space even further.
Additionally, motor and power applications often require intermediate voltages for power drivers and other power components. The PIC16F616/HV616 family addresses these requirements with a built-in S/R latch to design a switch-mode power supply for these intermediate voltages.
Engineers who used to rely solely on analogue and discrete semiconductors for their designs have discovered the flexibility and lower system cost benefits of using a PIC microcontroller. Microchip continues to lead the way in providing these engineers with new PIC microcontrollers that enable them to design compact, programmable and cost-effective applications.
Specific application examples include: home appliances (such as blenders, toasters, smoke alarms and thermostat controls), cooling-fan control and other motor control, power tools, system control and monitoring, battery chargers, automated door sensors, speedometers and power supplies.
Key features for the PIC16F616/610 and PIC12F615/609 microcontrollers, and their HV variants, include:
- Enhanced full-bridge PWM peripheral with capture and compare functionality, dead-band control and emergency shutdown
- Internal shunt regulator that allows high-voltage Vdd support from 2V to a user-defined max (HV variants, only)
- Up to two comparators with selectable hysterisis, internal voltage-reference options, and S/R latch mode for switch mode power conversion
- Up to eight 10-bit analogue-to-digital conversion channels
- High stability, precision 4/8 MHz internal oscillator
- Up to 3.5 Kbytes (2K Words) of flash program memory; 128 bytes RAM
- Brownout reset (BOR) and watchdog timer (WDT) for reliable low-power operation
These new microcontrollers are supported by the full suite of Microchip's development tools, including the free MPLAB IDE (Integrated Development Environment), the low-cost MPLAB ICD 2 (In-Circuit Debugger) and the MPLAB PM3 Universal Device Programmer.
The PICkit 2 Starter Kit (DV164120) enables engineers, students, and anyone with an interest to easily begin development and experimentation with the PIC16F616/HV616 family. The kit connects to any personal computer via full-speed USB 2.0, which allows faster programming and firmware upgradeability, and requires no additional power supply for the programmer or target application board.
The PIC16F610/HV610 and PIC12F609/HV609 microcontrollers are expected to be available in December for general sampling and volume-production orders. Their superset counterparts, the PIC16F616/HV616 and PIC12F615/HV615 microcontrollers are available now for general sampling, and are expected to be available for volume-production ordering in December.