Microchip's new low pin count 8-bit PIC MCUs target safety critical apps - Embedded.com

Microchip’s new low pin count 8-bit PIC MCUs target safety critical apps

Embedded World – Microchip has expanded its 8-bit PIC microcontroller (MCU) portfolio with the peripheral-rich, low pin count PIC16(L)F161X family. The new MCU family integrates fault-detecting hardware features to assist engineers in developing safety-critical applications. It also offload timing-critical and core-intensive tasks from the CPU, allowing it to focus on other application tasks.

The PIC16(L)F161X family includes 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.

A Hardware Limit Timer (HLT) detects hardware fault conditions (stall, stop, etc.), simplifying closed-loop-control applications. The new MCUs also feature the 24-bit Signal Measurement Timer (SMT), which performs high-resolution measurements of any digital signal in hardware, resulting in more precise and accurate measurements. Both timers are designed to reduce design complexity, by eliminating the need for additional code and external components.

The 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).

Microchip claims 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.

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