Introduction: The World on the Hand of Microcontroller

About: The kingdom of my knowledge is so little.I'm willing to be a researcher in my own little world .

Future Electronics has a wide range of microcontrollers.It is designed to be used for embedded applications. Microcontrollers ( sometimes abbreviated μc, uc or MCU ) are dedicated a small and low-cost computers in electronics which is built for the purpose of dealing with specific tasks. It is containing a processor, memory, and programmable input/output peripherals.The microcontroller is a very common component in modern electronic systems. Its use is so widespread that it is almost impossible to work in electronics without coming across it.

Step 1: History of Microcontroller

It all started in 1971, about the same time Intel was inventing its microprocessor, Gary Boone and Michael Cochrane, two engineers at Texas Instruments were working on a similar idea. They design of Texas Instruments TMS1802 single-chip calculator device provided the foundation for the TMS1000 general-purpose 4-bit MCU. This device finally hit the commercial market in 1974. It was a state of the art device in its day which combined read-only memory, read/write memory, processor and clock on one chip and was targeted at embedded systems.

In 1976 both Intel and Mostek (3870) introduced 8-bit architectures that served more demanding applications. The Intel MCS-48 family offered both EPROM (8748) and masked-ROM (8048) versions. The EPROM version made MCUs practical for prototyping and low-volume production systems. (1971 Milestone) Intel's more powerful 1980 successor, the 8051, established a standard architecture that survives today in numerous variants for specific applications.

Step 2: Difference Between Microprocessor and Microcontroller

Microprocessor is a one kind of logic circuit which is used for processing CPU. It is the brain of computer.Some microprocessors are Intel’s Pentium 1,2,3,4, core 2 duo, i3, i5 etc.It has no RAM, ROM, and other peripheral on the chip. A system designer has to add them externally to make them functional. Application of microprocessor includes Desktop PC’s, Laptops, notepads etc. Microprocessor is used general purpose like developing software, games, websites, photo editing, creating documents etc. In such cases the relationship between input and output is not defined. The clock speed of the Microprocessor is quite high as compared to the microcontroller.

But microcontroller has a CPU, in addition with a fixed amount of volatile data (RAM) memory, nonvolatile program (ROM) , general-purpose I/O ports and other peripherals all embedded on a single chip. Today different manufacturers produce microcontrollers in different versions. Some manufacturers are Intel, ATMEL, Microchip, TI, Philips, Motorola etc.

In case of smaller embedded systems it is most common to use microcontrollers. On the other hand, Larger embedded systems may use one or more microprocessors if a microcontroller of suitable speed and functionality cannot be found. Undoubtedly a microcontroller is far cheaper than a microprocessor.It's power consumption is low.

Step 3: Microcontroller Architecture

CPU (Central Processing Unit)

CPU is the brain of a microcontroller .CPU is responsible for fetching the instruction, decodes it, then finally executed. CPU connects every part of a microcontroller into a single system. The primary function of CPU is fetching and decoding instructions. Instruction fetched from program memory must be decoded by the CPU.

Read Only Memory (ROM)

A form of data storage. This type of memory keeps the saved data even if the device power is off. The data on the ROM can be loaded into the RAM if needed. The size of the program that can be written depends on the size of this memory. The size of ROM ranges from 512B to 64KB.

Types Of ROMs

  • Mask ROM
  • PROM
  • Flash Memory

Random Access Memory (RAM)

RAM stands for Random Access Memory. It is also called "direct access memory". Random Access Memory (RAM) is a type of memory used for temporary storing data and intermediate results created and used during the operation of the microcontrollers.

Types Of RAMs

  • DRAM (Dynamic Random Access Memory)

  • SRAM (Static Random Access Memory)

  • MRAM (Magneto resistive Random Access Memory)


The timer function is one of the basic features of a microcontroller. Although some compilers provide simple macros that implement delay routines, in order to determine time elapsed and to maximize use of the timer, understanding the timer functionality is necessary.These timers are essentially counters that increment based on the clock cycle and the timer prescaler.

I/O Ports

Every microcontroller must have means of communication to the outside world. The simplest way for the communication is using general purpose I/O ports.

Step 4: List of Common Microcontrollers

1. Microchip Technology

2. Intel

3. Atmel

4. Fujitsu

5. Parallax

6. ELAN Microelectronics Corp.

7. Energy Micro


9. Panasonic

10. Xilinx

11. Holtek

12. Hyperstone

13. Infineon

14. Spansion

15. Sony

16. Maxim Integrated

17. Toshiba

18. Renesas Electronics etc.

Step 5: Microcontroller Applications

  • Day to Day Life Devices
  • Industrial Control Devices
  • Metering & Measurement Devices
  • Medical Sector
  • Robotics etc …

Step 6: Application of Microcontroller in Day to Day Life Devices

Step 7: Application of Microcontroller in Metering & Measurement Devices

Step 8: Application of Microcontroller in Robotics

Step 9: How to Start

  • Prepare your Progarm
  • Transfer your program to Software
  • Simulate
  • Test and Program Burn

Step 10: Programming Environments

Microcontroler is originally programmed by assembly language which is designed specially for the purpose or versions of general purpose language such as the C programming language. Compilers for general purpose language will typically have some restrictions as well as enhancements to better support the unique characteristics of microcontrollers.

Step 11: Programming Process

At first have to write program and transfer the program from the compiler to the memory of the microcontroller. Compiler is a software which provides an environment to write, test and debug a program for the microcontroller. The program for a microcontroller is generally written in C or assembly language. Finally the compiler generates a hex file which contains the machine language instruction understandable by a microcontroller. It is the content of this hex file which is transferred to the memory of the microcontroller. Once a program is transferred or written in the memory of the microcontroller, it then works in accordance with the program.