Thread: Embedded microcontrollers?

  1. #1
    Pursuing knowledge confuted's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002

    Embedded microcontrollers?

    I'm working on a little project, and am looking for someone to recommend a microcontroller to fit my needs. Without getting into unnecessary details, the goal is basically a counter displayed across a few LEDs. So I'm looking for a microcontroller that can run a few lines of code (nothing too complex ... 2-3kb of C code [before compiling] dealing with integers and if statements) once per clock cycle (a bit over a second in between cycles). I figure that the fewer pins a microcontroller has, the cheaper it'll be, so my current plan is to keep the software simple and then do a lot of conversions (like BCD to 7-segment) with other ICs.

    With this design, I need
    - A digital pin to read the ~1Hz clock (maybe trigger an interrupt?)
    - 4 digital pins to feed a demultiplexer chip
    - An internal clock for some rough timing (I have to pause long enough for the demultiplexer to set up before I switch the outputs).
    - Something fairly cheap. There's a chance this might enter production eventually, in which case I certainly don't want a $30 BASIC stamp in there.
    - I prefer a DIP Package if possible

    Alternatively, I'd need 35 (maybe a few more) pins out and a pin for the clock to do everything on the microcontroller.

    I found some chips from the Atmel Corporation (ex: ) but I'm not exactly sure if those chips do what I'm describing, or if it's something completely different.

  2. #2
    and the hat of int overfl Salem's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    The edge of the known universe
    You might want to take a look around

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2006

    Any 8051 variant microcontroller should fit your needs just fine. The 8052 family includes an extra timer and a few other bells and whistles. Most have an onboard uart as well for serial comm. Atmel has a very cool little DEV board you can get for their variants.

    Also, using timers on the there controllers, you don't need any external clock reference (other than the crystal you choose for the chip) to get your 1Hz... you do it all in code based on the crystal you choose to run the controller.

    As for cost, you can usually get them for $3 or so, it's the dev board for programming that'll cost a little more.

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