More often than not, fixed-function ICs are a circuit board designer’s go-to choice when it comes to implementing non-mission-critical analog and digital functions such as timer replacement; input/output expanders; system reset controllers; and stand-alone, electrically erasable programmable read-only memory.
But why proliferate a printed circuit board unnecessarily with expensive ICs; especially when low-cost microcontrollers (MCU) are available that provide alternative sensing and measurement functionality, and the additional benefits of design flexibility and programmability enhancements? What’s more, the lower power consumption characteristics of MCUs are a bonus in power-sensitive systems such as battery-operated portable devices.
And, because MCUs are programmable – and use the same development tools – designers can be flexible in altering control settings or operational parameters in software; a benefit that can avoid triggering cumbersome hardware redesigns.
A new 85-page ebook, Enhance simple analog and digital functions for $0.25, provides the answers. It focuses on four of the lowest-cost and lowest-memory devices available today. Topics include communications; pulse-width modulation (PWM); system and housekeeping; and timers.
The book provides a wide range of design capabilities and resources, including 25 brief application notes, plus links to code examples and other tips and tricks. These include how to use low-cost and ultra-low-power MCUs to: enhance communication functions; optimize C code for size; enhance pulse width modulation functions; monitor voltage with a time stamp; create a 7-segment LED stopwatch with low-memory and how to design an external programmable watchdog timer. Project examples are provided to get started quickly.