Microchip expands low pin-count, general-purpose 8-bit PIC® microcontroller family for safety-critical applications

Microchip announces 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 off-load timing-critical and core-intensive tasks from the CPU, allowing it to focus on other application tasks.  In addition, this family integrates fault-detecting hardware features to assist engineers in developing safety-critical applications.

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, including stall and stop, to simplify closed-loop-control applications.  These peripherals make it easier for designers to implement safety standards such as 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 including industrial machinery and power supplies; as well as products with variable-speed motor control such as fans and home appliances.  These are also 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 minimising 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.

Implementing safety and control in an embedded system often requires extensive code and additional components, whereas the PIC16F161X family helps to alleviate this complexity by integrating specialised and flexible features that speed design whilst reducing system cost.

The PIC16(L)F161X family is supported by Microchip’s standard suite of world-class development tools, including the MPLAB® ICD 3 (DV164035) and PICkit 3 (PG164130) programmer/debuggers priced at $189.99 and $44.95 respectively, and the PICkit 3 Low Pin Count Demo Board (DM164130-9) which is priced at $25.99. 

The PIC12(L)F1612 MCUs are available today for sampling and volume production in 8-pin PDIP, SOIC, and 3 mm x 3 mm DFN and UDFN packages.  The PIC16(L)F1613 MCUs are also available today in 14-pin PDIP, SOIC, TSSOP, and 4 mm x 4 mm UQFN and QFN packages.

For more information, visit Microchip’s Web site at http://www.microchip.com/get/VDLM

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