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.
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.
The PIC microcontroller architecture consists of an I/O port, CPU, A/D converter, timer, memory organization, interrupts, oscillator, CCP module, and serial communication.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
There are some popular microcontrollers that can be found in the market. Some of them include:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Some of the essential factors to consider for the proper PIC microcontroller includes the following:
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.