What is microcontroller and how it works?


Have you ever asked yourself how to control home appliance through remote control, and how to turn on and switch off the lamp through smart phone or voice. Have you asked yourself before how to control and program robots, and how devices do it tasks automaticlly for example: measure the temperature, humidity, gaz detection, smoke detection , and many other tasks.
All this tasks is done by a very small electronic piece that can be found in most electronic devices, and robots. This electronic piece called microcontroller.
So what is microcontroller and how it works?

What is a Microcontroller?

A microcontroller is a small integrated circuit, is considered as microcomputer, it designed to perform the specific tasks. such as controling some or all of the functions of an electronic devices, send/receiving remote signals, manage automatic systems, etc.

The microcontroller is consists of the processor( CPU ) and the memory (RAM, ROM), addition to Serial ports, peripherals (timers, counters).

This component have been developed to do tasks, processing and responsive interaction with analog, digital, or mechanical components.

How do microcontrollers work?

A microcontroller is programmable piece, It is programmed by using C language / C++, and give it a set of instructions to do specific tasks.
It does this by interpreting data it receives from sensors which is connected with him, by using its central processor.

The temporary information that the microcontroller receives is stored in its data memory, and uses instructions stored in its memory to process the incoming data, and enact the appropriate action, by using its input/output peripherals, to communicate with other electronic components and control it.

Types of Microcontrollers:

Microcontrollers are classified to diverse categories based on architecture, memory, instruction sets and bits. This is the list of their types.
Depend on bit configuration, the microcontroller is further classified to three categories.

8-bit microcontroller: This following type of microcontroller is used to perform arithmetic and logical operations such as multiplication division, addition, subtraction etc.
For instance: Intel 8031/8051, PIC1x is a 16-bit microcontroller.

16-bit microcontroller: This category of microcontroller is used to execute logical operations and arithmetic which wanted a higher accuracy execution.
For instance, 8051XA, PIC2x, Intel 8096 is a 16-bit microcontroller.

32-bit microcontroller: Is the best candidate for performing a complex tasks like audio and video signal processing, image processing, due to it higher processing speed. This kind of microcontroller is mostly used in automatically controlled appliances such as medical appliances, automatic operational machines, etc.
For instance : Intel/Atmel 251 family, PIC3x is a 32-bit microcontroller.

Applications of Microcontrollers:

The microcontroller is used in many domains, to do tasks in automatic way ,or by remote control, smart phone, or internet.
In this list we gonna show you some of the applications of microcontrollers:

  • Security Alarms & safety devices (including temperature , smoke and gaz sensing ).
  • Home Appliances like Microwave oven, Alarm clock, Washing machines, air conditioners, Tv.
  • Communication devices.
  • Cameras.
  • Electronic Measurements Instruments.
  • robots.

You can do a set of applications and projects easily, by using Arduino board at home.
Arduino board is a Microcontroller board consists of Atmega328 Microcontroller, These modules are the best to start learning and programing electronics

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