Micro controllers which can be also called embedded systems. A micro controller is a computer on a chip (IC). It is a single chip that has all the features of a computer like the RAM, ROM, I/O, Serial communication, arithmetic and logic unit ALU which is the Processor. They are integrated as one on a single chip through the semiconductor technology. A micro controller is a programmable device and the programs written to it are called embedded code or firmware. The program for a micro controller can be developed using assembly language, C, C++, basic and also pascal language.
Hex file: It is the file produced after writing and compiling your program, the acronym Hex is a short form for hexadecimal base 16. That is the format a micro controller understands, you program the memory of the chip with the hex file.
The Families of Micro controllers, Types and Manufacturers
1.The 8051: The micro controllers in these family are
- 8051, 8052, 8053 by Intel.
- AT89S51, AT89S52, AT89C51, AT89C52 by Atmel.
- DS89C4X0 and DS5000 by Dallas semiconductor.
Other manufacturers of 8051 family of micro controller are: Philips, AMD, Infineon, Matra, Zilog, National semiconductor, Texas instrumental etc…
2. The PIC micro controller : The PIC stands for Peripheral Interface Computer manufactured by Microchip Technology. They have many families of micro controllers ranging from PIC 10, 12, 16, 18, 30, 32, dsPIC 33, dsPIC 24 etc.
PIC 10 to PIC 18 are 8 bit micro controllers, PIC 30 to PIC 32 and dsPIC 33 to dsPIC 24 are 16 bit micro controllers.
3. The AVR: The AVR family of micro controller is manufactured by Atmel corporation. AVR stands for Advanced Virtual RISC. The micro controllers under AVR ranges from 8 bit to 32 bit micro controller. Examples of the AVR the Atmega 8, Atmega 16, Atmega 32 etc. They also produce the tiny AVR series of micro controller range from 8 bit to 32 bit. Examples the Atiny 13, Atiny 10 etc…
4. The ARM: ARM stands for Advanced RISC Machine. There is a wide range of ARM processors and the best micro controller having a low power consumption of and has an operating voltage rating from 1.8v to 3.7v. The advanced features possessed by these ARM processors made it the most widely used in the world. It ranges from 8 bit to 64 bit processor. Examples are the STM32F030F4, ARM Cortex MX, Cortex M9, Cortex A3 etc…