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Six-pin microcontrollers

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MICROCHIP Technology ,has released microcontrollers in six-pin SOT-23 packages, for space-constrained and low-cost applications.

They allow bug fixes for ASIC and printed circuit board (PCB) designs, and the replacement of standard logic and timing components or traditional mechanical timers and switches.

The PIC10F 8-bit Flash microcontroller family has four members, the PIC10F200, PIC10F202, PIC10F204 and PIC10F206. They offer 256 to 512 instructions (x12-bit program words) of Flash programme memory and 16 bytes to 24 bytes of data RAM memory.

They also have a 4MHz internal oscillator, 33 instructions, two stack levels, 25mA source/sink current I/O, 100nA sleep current and an operating voltage range from 2V to 5.5V. They have an eight-bit timer, a watchdog timer, in-circuit serial programming ICSP technology, power-on reset, power-saving sleep mode and (in the PIC10F204 and PIC10F206 only) an analogue comparator module.

ICSP technology allows them to be programmed after placement on a circuit board. It also allows field upgrades, system calibration during manufacturing and the addition of identification codes to the system.

A bug in an ASIC or a PCB can have devastating consequences, possibly requiring a complete board change may be required. The design issue is often simple however, and can be fixed by changing a single signal using a microcontroller. This is faster and easier than designing an entirely new ASIC or PCB.

Traditional standard logic and timing components such as delays, smart gates, signal conditioning, simple state machines, encoders/decoders, I/O expanders and small peripheral logic functions can be integrated into a 6-pin microcontroller. This eliminates components, reducing board space and cost and allowing more complex systems.

A PIC10F microcontroller can take the place of traditional 555 timers, pulse-width modulators (PWMs), remote control encoders, pulse generation, programmable frequency source and resistor-programmable oscillators.

The microcontrollers can also be used to replace traditional mechanical functions such as smart switches, mode selectors, remote I/Os, timers and LED flashers. They are suitable for disposable applications including medical products such as pregnancy testers, dialysis monitors (blood sugar), and drug testers.

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