What Is A Microcontroller

What Is A Microcontroller & How To Choose One

July 27, 2022

A microcontroller is a complex integrated circuit set up to govern and control a specific process or function as part of an embedded system and will generally include the processor, memory, input, and output peripherals, all on a single chip. It may thus be very small in size but may be controlling some of the most vital applications and processes in your devices, everyday machines, and smart tech.

Finding the right microcontroller for the computing tasks that you have at hand can be a tricky proposition. This article provides a few simple tips to find the most complicated and complex controllers that there are.

Understand The Precise Job That Needs To Be Done

Before you are able to look for the right microcontroller, you need to know exactly what you need to be done. I.e., what is the precise computing task that needs doing? The microcontroller by definition, controls a specific function, and as such, you need to know exactly what this is, to ensure proper control in an integrated system. Because the microcontroller has its own processor and memory, the aim is to enable it or program the controller to do the same task on an ongoing and repetitive basis, but also to then be able to record and report on the tasks completed. It is this like most other programable components in that unless you know exactly what must be done, you will not be able to program the microcontroller precisely enough.

Know What’s Out There

To make sure that you’re getting exactly what you want in the way of a microcontroller, make sure that you do a microcontroller comparison to understand exactly what’s out there and what their prices are. Each microcontroller processor will vary by application, and there will be different sizes and types of memory that you will need to choose from depending on what you need the microcontroller to do. Do a full search, and you may be well surprised at exactly what’s out there and what these small components can be used to control.

Understand Integration

Each microcontroller will have its own CPU and memory and is expected to execute the tasks it has been set to the letter. Some will also be further controlled by the more complex central computer, and others will be connected to each other to control a series of actions. For example, in automotive, these microcontrollers will control individual systems such as antilocking braking systems and traction control and then communicate any actions to the centralized computer for tracking and monitoring of how well they worked.

The microcontroller is used in a wide range of applications and devices, and for most of us, unless we are hobbyists or computer geeks, it may not be something that we consider or think of. However, in an age where most of what we do is computerized, it is incumbent upon us to know some of these basics. The understanding provided herein is all about being able to choose the right microcontroller for the job at hand or at least be able to understand what the controller does and why you need one.

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