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Microchip Expands Low Pin Count, General-Purpose 8-bit PIC® Microcontroller Family For Safety-Critical Applications

Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP), a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, today announced from Embedded World an expansion of its 8-bit PIC ® microcontroller (MCU) portfolio, with the peripheral-rich, low pin count PIC16(L)F161X family. These new MCUs expand the offering of Microchip’s Core Independent Peripherals (CIP), which offload timing-critical and core-intensive tasks from the CPU, allowing it to focus on other application tasks. Additionally, this family integrates fault-detecting hardware features to assist engineers in developing safety-critical applications.

View a brief presentation: http://www.microchip.com/get/95AG

The PIC16(L)F161X family offers a variety of key features, including the Windowed Watchdog Timer (WWDT), which monitors proper software operation within predefined limits, improving reliability. The Cyclic Redundancy Check with Memory Scan (CRC/SCAN) detects and scans memory for corrupted data. This family also includes a Hardware Limit Timer (HLT), which detects hardware fault conditions (stall, stop, etc.), simplifying closed-loop-control applications. These peripherals make it easier for designers to implement safety standards (e.g., UL & class B) or fail-safe operation.

In addition to the HLT, the PIC16(L)F161X features the unique, 24-bit Signal Measurement Timer (SMT). The SMT performs high-resolution measurements of any digital signal, in hardware, resulting in more precise and accurate measurements. This is ideal for speed control, range finding and RPM indicators. Both timers are designed to reduce design complexity, by eliminating the need for additional code and external components.

This high level of integration makes these MCUs appealing to a broad range of applications, such as monitoring and fail-safe systems (e.g., industrial machinery, power supplies), and products with variable-speed motor control (e.g., fans, home appliances). Additionally, these are the first PIC MCUs to offer hardware Zero Cross Detect (ZCD), which is essential for designers looking to simplify TRIAC control and increase system robustness by minimizing the EMI caused by switching transients. A Complementary Waveform Generator (CWG), comparators, 10-bit ADC, 8-bit DAC and Capture/Compare PWM are also integrated, to enable design flexibility and overall cost reduction. The CWG can generate complementary waveforms with fine control of key parameters, such as polarity, dead band and emergency-shutdown states. It provides a cost-effective solution for half-bridge and full-bridge drive control, which saves both board space and component cost when driving FETs in motor-control and power-conversion applications. All of these features are provided in small-form-factor packages, ranging from 8 to 14 pins.

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