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Top 20 Popular PIC Microcontrollers in the Market - 2022

Posted:02:19 PM November 29, 2022 writer: NextPCB

Peripheral Interface Microcontroller, PIC microcontrollers, came to the form in 1993. Initially, they were designed and developed to support PDP computers to control peripheral devices. PIC microcontrollers are fast and easy microcontrollers for executing programs in it. It is based on one of the famous architecture that is Harvard architecture. 

Besides, the ease of programming, interfacing, wide availability, lower cost, serial programming capability, and more extensive user base are the reasons that make these PIC microcontrollers popular. 

This article provides you with a brief explanation of the PIC microcontroller, which required consideration to select before choosing a PIC microcontroller. Additionally, it also listed the top 20 PIC microcontrollers that can be found in the market.

What are PIC Microcontrollers?

The microcontroller is an integrated chip mainly consisting of CPU, RAM, timer, ROM, counter, etc. Similarly, the PIC microcontrollers have a similar architecture that supports the UART, SPI, and CAN interface with other peripherals.

The 8-bit PIC microcontrollers are further classified into four types based on the internal architecture: mid-range PIC, baseline PIC, PIC18, and enhanced mid-range PIC. It is controlled by the software and programmed in a way that could perform the task.

Currently, PIC microcontrollers have broad applications for industrial purposes because of low power consumption, ease of supporting software and hardware tools like debuggers, simulators, and compilers, high-performance ability, etc. Also, they are really cheap and easily programmable or assembled by the users. 

Basic Architecture of PIC Microcontrollers

The PIC microcontroller architecture consists of an I/O port, CPU, A/D converter, timer, memory organization, interrupts, oscillator, CCP module, and serial communication.

Basic Architecture of PIC Microcontrollers

CPU (Central Processing Unit)

Like other microcontrollers, the CPU of the PIC microcontroller also consists of ALU, CU, accumulator, and MU. At first, ALU mainly makes logical decisions and is used for arithmetic operations. Similarly, the instructions are stored in memory after processing. Then the control unit connects to the CPU and thus controls the internal and external peripherals.

The accumulator also stores the results and processes further. 

Memory Unit

Data Memory and Program Memory are the two memories used in PIC microcontroller architecture. 

Program Memory stores the 13 bits of program code. The program counter register access the program memory data. Similarly, the data memory consists of RAM and EEPROM. They consist of multiple banks with a particular function register and a general purpose register. 

I/O Ports

It consists of five ports Port A, Port B, Port C, D, and E. Port A is a 16-bit port that can be used as an input and output port. The TRISA register determines this decision. Likewise, Port B is the 8-bit port that can be used as an input and output port. Moreover, Port C is similar to that port B, whose operation is determined by the TRISC register. While Port D is an 8-bit port that acts as a slave port for connecting to the microprocessor bus. Finally, Port E is the 3-bit port that controls the signal to the A/D converter.

Timers

PIC microcontrollers consist of 3 timers, out of which timers 0 and 2 are 8 bits and timer 1 is 16 bits, which also works as a counter.

A/D Converter

PIC microcontrollers consist of a 10-bit ADC. Further, this unique function registers to control the operation. The lower and upper bits of the register and divided and stored among these two registers. This converter requires an analog reference voltage of 5V. 

Oscillators

It controls the timing of the microcontroller. It consists of an external crystal oscillator that determines the range of clock frequency for the microcontroller.

Serial Communication

Serial Communication Protocol is the method of transferring data over the communication channel. USART, I2C, AND SPI are the three protocols used in PIC microcontrollers. The USART protocol is used for transceiving the connection to the clock pulses. SPI protocol sends the data between the PIC microcontrollers and other peripherals or external devices. Similarly, the I2C protocol is used for connecting low-speed devices. 

Popular Microcontrollers

There are some popular microcontrollers that can be found in the market. Some of them include:

PIC16F877A/PIC16F877

The programming process of PIC16F877A is simple. Besides, it is one of the simple PIC microcontrollers to use, gaining popularity among users. It comes with 8 and 16 bits and contains flash memory. The pins of this controller are applied to digital electronic circuits and various PIC projects. Some of its widely sued application includes industrial instruments, safety and security devices, home automation devices, automotive robots, etc. 

Key Features

  • It is a smaller set with 35 instructions. 
  • It can operate for a frequency of 20MHz. 
  • The operating Voltage is 5.5V. A voltage more significant than that can damage the microcontroller system. 
  • As a sink in GPIO pins, it can have a maximum current limit of 10mA, whereas the sink can accommodate 100mA of current. 
  • This PIC controller comes with four integrated circuit packages: PDIP, TQFP, PLCC, and QFN. 

PIC12F629

It is an 8-bit flash CMOS microcontroller. It is simple to use and program, thus is one of the famous choices of many people. The PIC microcontrollers packs the architecture of the MCU using the 8-pin package. It consists of various features like one-channel comparators. The PIC microcontrollers is applicable for automotive, industrial, and consumer electronics. 

Key Features

  • It consists of 128 bytes of EEPROM.
  • It consists of programmable pull-up resistors.
  • It has interrupt capability.
  • 8 level stack
  • Various modes; relative, indirect, and direct addressing modes. 
  • It can operate at an extended range of temperatures.
  • For power saving, it goes into sleep mode.
  • Consists of various timers, including a watchdog, up timer, and OST-oscillator start-up timer.
  • An oscillator selection with four MHz RC oscillators, all programmable and with a power-on reset, is available.

PIC16F886

This microcontroller is powerful yet simple to program. Similar to PIC12F629, it is also an 8-bit CMOS-based flash PIC microcontrollers. Besides, within 28 pins packages, it packs the PIC architecture. This microcontroller possesses 256 bytes of EEPROM, which is self-programming memory and has two comparators. Because of these vital features, it is an application in sectors like the industrial area, consumer electronics, automotive field, etc. 

Key Features

  • It can operate in the frequency range of 8-32 MHz.
  • It consists of power-saving modes.
  • It has extended WDT, a watchdog timer with an on-chip RC oscillator. It ensures reliable and effective operations.
  • It consists of data EEPROM retention capacity.
  • It has improved flash program memory with a hundred thousand writes/erase cycles. 
  • The interrupt-on-pin change alternatively.
  • It supports LIN, RS-485, and RS-232 compatibility.
  • It has a 10-bit, eleven-channel A/D converter.

PIC 12F508

It ia a popular 12-series PIC microcontroller. It is high-performance, and on the other hand, it is a low-cost microcontroller. Besides, it is an 8-bit static microcontroller. It makes use of a total of 8 pins as a flash CMO. This controller also contains the device reset timer, also known as DRT. This helps to eliminate the requirement for external reset circuitry.

Key Features

  • It consists of 8 I/O pins.
  • It consists of 4 MHz internal oscillators.
  • It consists of a total of 8 pins.
  • Has 25 bytes of EEPROM.
  • Program Memory of 0.75kb.
  • 8-bit time module

PIC 18F4520

It is mainly used in embedded and automation systems. This comes in QFN, TQFP, and PDIP. Among these models, PDIP contains 40 pins, while the remaining models have 44 pins interfaces. It contains a 10-bit ADC, RAM of 1536 bytes, and EEPROM data memory. 

Key Features

  • Two Comparators
  • 10 bit ADC
  • Power on Reset
  • ICD through two pins
  • Power up timer and OST (Oscillator Start-up timer)
  • Wide operating voltage range 2V-5.5V.
  • Good memory for EEPROM and program memory.

PIC16C58A

Microchip Technology's PIC16C58A is an 8-bit CMOS microcontroller with an EPROM/ROM-based EPROM design. It is low-cost, high-performance, and fully static. The architecture uses a RISC design with 33 single-cycle instructions. Thus, the program branches take two cycles. However, all other instructions take a single cycle. Compared to comparable products at the same price point, the PIC16C58A is an order of magnitude faster. Additionally, it can compress code by 2:1 compared to most 8-bit microcontrollers because its 12-bit instructions are highly symmetrical. Thus, this set of instructions is easy to use and memorize, reducing development time. 

Key Features

  • 12-bit wide instructions
  • Two-level deep hardware stack
  • 8-bit wide data path
  • Direct, indirect, and relative addressing modes for data and instructions
  • Seven or eight special function hardware registers
  • Power-On Reset (POR)
  • Watchdog Timer
  • Power saving SLEEP mode
  • Device Reset Timer
  • Programmable code-protection
  • Low-power, high-speed CMOS EPROM/ROM technology

PIC18F87K22

It is an 8-bit PIC microcontroller that is well-suited for battery-powered applications. Additionally, it has a wide operating voltage and high-temperature range. It is one of the cheap microcontrollers that provide a variety of possibilities. 

Key Features

  • Low Power BOR
  • Fast Wake-Up
  • A/D converter
  • 12-bit resolution
  • 3 Analog Comparators
  • 24 Channels
  • Two Master Synchronous Serial Port Modules
  • Operating range of Voltage- 1.8V-5.5V
  • Operating Speed 64MHz

PIC12F675

It comes as an 8-bit CMOS microcontroller developed on high-performance RISC architecture. Besides, is a smaller controller size and is cost-effective; as a result, it is popular among hobbyists and engineers. The design is perfect for low-end systems as it has 2K bytes of flash memory. Also, this microcontroller consists of 6 GPIO pins that can handle a current of more than 25 mA. Thus, it meets the threshold of many peripheral devices and sensors. 

Key Features

  • 8 bit CPU
  • ICSP interface for communication
  • Among 8 pins, 6 are programmable
  • Possesses an 8-bit counter and a 16-bit counter
  • Contains an oscillator of 20MHz and an internal oscillator of 4 MHz
  • EEPROM of 128 bytes
  • Has an operating voltage of 2-5.5V. 

PIC 16F84 

It is one of the most used PIC microcontrollers and it comes as an 8-bit bit microcontroller with 1024-word program memory. In addition to this, it has 68 bytes of RAM with an EPROM storage of 64 bytes. One of the advantages of this microcontroller is that this can be reprogrammed using the in-circuit ICSP. 

Key Features

  • It has a memory size of 1.75 KB
  • EEPROM of 64 bytes
  • Has flash program memory
  • Operating Voltage of 2-6V
  • Total 18 pins
  • Temperature range of -40 to -85 degrees C.
  • 8-bit digital timer

PIC18F4620

It comes with optimized and equipped RISC architecture. Besides, it operates on flash memory and has a CPU speed of 10MIPS. Additionally, it has a maximum ADC of 10 bits and a CCP of 1.

Key Features

  • 1 CCP
  • 1 ADC
  • Two comparators
  • One I2C
  • Total 40 pins
  • 1 USART
  • Program memory of 64KB
  • Temperature range of -40 to 125 degrees C.

PIC16F690

It is an 8-bit PIC microcontroller that comes with a 20-pin interface. Additionally, incorporates the high-performance RISC CPU that helps to execute the instructions. It has a crystal oscillator of 20MHz. Thus, it is used for interfacing purposes and the generation of clock signals. 

Key Features

  • Total of 20 pins
  • Operating Voltage of 2-5.5V.
  • 256 byte RAM
  • Two Comparators
  • 18 I/O pins
  • 7K program memory
  • 10 bits of ADC up to 12 channels
  • Has max of 20MHz oscillator
  • 1 USART

PIC18F458

It is one of the popular PIC microcontrollers that contains a Flash Memory of 32 kb. This microcontroller is compatible with PIC16 and PIC17 instruction sets. Besides, it also provides advanced CAN technology and thus has a wide range of applications in the industrial and automotive sectors. 

Key Features

  • High-performance RISC CPU processing compatibility
  • High current with 25mA of source and sink.
  • PoR and PWRT 
  • 3-wire SPI
  • 33 I/O pins and 40 pins DIP
  • It has 1000000 standard writes/erase cycle of EEPROM
  • 16-bit or the 8-bit counter with a Prescaler

PIC16F18176

Key Features

  • 12 bits of ADCC
  • Two 16-bit PWM with Dual Output
  • Two analog comparators
  • Two 8-bit DACs (1x Internal, 1x External/Buffered)​
  • Zero Cross Detect (ZCD)
  • Two Master Synchronous Serial Port - (I2C or SPI)
  • Flash Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC)
  • Four Configurable Logic Cells (CLCs)

PIC16F17146

This microcontroller is especially suited for raw sensor applications that require signal gain or filtering. This microcontroller offers the op-amp and the 12-bit ADC with low pin count packages. This advanced combination of analog peripherals makes this microcontroller idea for sensing applications. 

Key Features

  • 12-bit Differential Analog-to-Digital Converter with Computation
  • 2x Capture/Compare/PWM (CCP)
  • 1x 8-bit Internal Digital-to-Analog Converters (DAC)
  • 1x 8-bit External/Buffered Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC)
  • 1x Op-Amp
  • Zero-Cross Detect (ZCD)
  • Peripheral Module Disable (PMD)
  • Flash Program Memory with Self Read/Write Capability eXtreme Low Power (XLP)
  • 1x 8/16-bit Timer (TMR0)
  • 1x 16-bit Timer (TMR1)
  • 1x 8-bit Timer (TMR2)

PIC16F17144

This microcontroller has a suite of analog peripherals. It consists of low noise operational amplifier, ADC, 8-bit DAC, 16-bit Pulse Width Modulation, and many other communication peripherals. Since this microcontroller contains advanced analog peripherals, it is mostly applied in sensing areas. 

Key Features

  • Flash Program Memory with Self Read/Write Capability
  • 1x Op-Amp
  • Enhanced Mid-range Core with 49 Instructions, 16 Stack Levels
  • Low Power
  • Peripheral Module Disable (PMD)
  • Zero-Cross Detect (ZCD)
  • 1x 16-bit Timer (TMR1)
  • 1x 8-bit Timer (TMR2)
  • 2x MSSP (I2C or SPI)
  • 1x 8-bit Internal Digital-to-Analog Converters (DAC)
  • Programmable Brown-out Reset (BOR) with fast recovery
  • 1x 8-bit External/Buffered Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC)

PIC16F628

It is one of the most popular and new PIC microcontrollers. Since this is the latest model, it cannot work on older device models. This microcontroller is based on FLASH program memory of 3.5, single CCP, and 2 Comparators. The lower voltage programming makes it an excellent option, with on-chip voltage reference, programmable BOR, and other features.

Key Features

  • 3.5 kb or program memory
  • 1 USART
  • 18 pins in total
  • Two comparators
  • Two max 8-bit digital timers
  • -40 to 85 degrees C of the extended temperature range
  • 1 CCP

PIC 18F452

Microcontroller PIC18F452 has 34 I/O pins out of 40-pin packages and is an 8-bit chip with 10 MIPS, CMPS, and FLASH. An 8-bit and three 16-bit timers, an analog-to-digital converter with 8 channels, I2C, USART, and SPI peripherals make it a powerful microcontroller. 

Low power microcontroller with an operating voltage of 5V and a clock frequency of 4 Mhz consumes about 0.2 uA on standby and 1.6 mA on regular operation. In addition to this, it also includes the features of programming code protection, power-up timer, and power-on reset. 

Key Features

  • 8 bit CPU
  • 1236 bytes of RAM
  • 40 pin count
  • Max. CPU speed of 40 MHz
  • 8 bits of max. PWM resolution
  • 1 module of each communication protocol
  • Operating Voltage of 2-5.5V. 

PIC12F683

With a nanoWatt power supply, the PIC microcontroller comes with an 8-pin flash-based CMOS design. X14 architectures offer benefits such as standardized features associated with midrange processors. This microcontroller is popular in industries such as automotive and industrial because of its features.

Key Features

  • Extended WDT
  • 256 Byte EEPROM
  • Power on reset
  • PWRT and OST
  • Interrupt Capability
  • Programmable Code Protection
  • Relative, direct, and indirect addressing modes
  • 1 uA at 2 typical watchdog timer current
  • 8-level stack- deep hardware

PIC16F676

An 8-bit PIC microcontroller based on CMOS and flash technology that is simple to program. Additionally, the EEPROM data memory is complemented by eight channels, a comparator, and a 10-bit A/D converter. This technology can be used in consumer, automotive, appliance, and entry-level industrial products, especially for those requiring field re-programmability.

Key Features

  • Data memory of 128 bytes of EEPROM
  • Programmanle pull-up resistors
  • Independently selectable analog channels
  • 8 oscillator selections that include the precision 4 MHz RC oscillator.

PIC16F88

It is a popular 8-bit PIC microcontroller with an improved NanoWatt technology and flash processor. Also, this microcontroller has three distinctive packages SSOP, PDIP, and QFN. Further, the SSOP has a 20-pin package, while the PDIP and QFN have 18-pin and 28-pin packages, respectively.

Key Features

  • Operating Voltage of 2-5.5V
  • Flash Program Memory
  • 7KB program memory size 
  • 2 of the I/O ports and 16 I/O pins
  • 2 comparators
  • 256 bytes of EEPROM
  • 18 total PDIP pins
  • 10-bit ADC for A/D signal conversions
  • Crystal Oscillator of 20MHz

Tips to Consider the Right PIC Microcontroller

Some of the essential factors to consider for the proper PIC microcontroller includes the following:

Communication Interface

It is one of the most crucial factors to check before selecting the PIC microcontroller. If the communication interface between your sensing device and the PIC microcontroller doesn't match, it can create a problem. Therefore, you must confirm if your selected microcontroller has enough communication interfaces like UART, I2C, and SPI.

Operating Voltage

Operating Voltage is the voltage level at which your device operates. Thus, it is one of the factors to check before selecting the PIC microcontroller. In terms of hardware design, this operating Voltage determines the logic level when the microcontroller communicates with the components making up the system.

Number of I/O Pins

The primary task of microcontrollers is to control your external devices or actuators. Therefore, you need to ensure how many input/output ports your microcontroller has that can help connect your devices. For example, the microcontroller should have enough PWM pins for controlling the DC motors. 

Besides, these pins are required for determining the amount of general-purpose I/O pins for future improvements. 

Cost

The cost of the microcontroller is also one factor that needs to check before selecting it for your project. Sometimes the microcontroller that provides the same working could be found cheaper in the market. Thus, it would help if you had some research about the cost of the microcontroller that is found in the market.

Packet Size

It refers to the form factor of the microcontroller. Generally, it comes in various packages. Some packages include; SSOP, SOIC, QFP, TSSOP, etc. 

Thus, it is essential to check the manufacturer that lists the packages and the size of the packages. 

Power Consumption

Power Consumption is also a factor to consider while selecting the microcontroller. For example, if your want to deploy IoT devices, the microcontroller should have low power as possible. 

Basic Tools to Program a PIC microcontroller

MPLAB X IDE

It is the development environment from the microchip. Before writing the PIC microcontroller, you need MPLAB X to write firmware, build and compile it. This IDE is quite popular among developers as it is open-source. 

In the PIC microcontroller, there are two ways to get the firmware. In the MPLAB XIDE, the programmer could find the option of "Run Program" or Debug Project. This will compile the program and thus build the firmware. Later, it will create the debug version of the firmware footprint. It would help if you made sure that the final product is programmed as per the firmware's production version. 

PICKIT4

The latest in-circuit debugger from the microchip PIC allows the programmer to download the program into the microcontroller. The upgraded version of PICKIT-3 has the added feature of an SD card slot. While programming the microcontroller, you need to connect the PICKIT-4 between your computer's USB port and the microcontroller's programming pin. 

Conclusion

Thus, the microcontroller is the most critical component of your project. Changing the new microcontroller at some point in your project can lead to frustration as it is a more challenging task. Thus, ensure you select the suitable microcontroller per your requirements before carrying out the project. 

It is crucial to have the proper research and understanding of the PIC microcontroller, including programming, types, features, etc. This information will define your project and its functionality. 

Tag: PIC Microcontrollers
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