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Author Topic: Components of an MCU  (Read 1329 times)

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Offline SehvurTopic starter

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Components of an MCU
« on: April 30, 2009, 12:45:20 PM »
I'm posting to gather some information before I pursue my new interest in robots. I was wondering what the major components of an MCU are. I have had some basic college electronics experience but I don't quit understand the required components to build one.

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thanks

Offline hazzer123

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Re: Components of an MCU
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2009, 01:30:12 PM »
Hmmm from what i hear, it seems the definition of MCU is quite blurry. Some use it to mean a chip (such as the PIC or the AVR) by itself, while others mean the chip on a board with other supporting electronics (like the Axon).

Anyway here are some things i can think which you might find on a MCU board -

Microcontroller (PIC, AVR, ARM, etc)
Connectors (USB, Serial, Power, I/O pin headers)
LEDs (power LED, LED connected to an I/O for simple debugging)
Oscillator (to provide a clock source to the microcontroller)
Some power electronics (Voltage regulator, capacitors, current limiting resistors)
EEPROM chips
UART chips.
Switches and buttons (for power, settings and also just connected to I/O).

I guess you could even go as far as a screen or a speaker.

:)
Imperial College Robotics Society
www.icrobotics.co.uk

Offline Soeren

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Re: Components of an MCU
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2009, 01:51:19 PM »
Hi,

I was wondering what the major components of an MCU are.
MPU (microprocessor unit)
ALU (arithmetic, logic unit)
Memory
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
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Offline GearMotion

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Re: Components of an MCU
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2009, 02:32:55 PM »
Hi,

I was wondering what the major components of an MCU are.
MPU (microprocessor unit)
ALU (arithmetic, logic unit)
Memory


I assume from that answer that you have a lot more experience with analog electronics than with embedded devices. That was sparse and incomplete. Really - you wouldn't consider a port to be significant?

hazzer answered what you would find from a board-level perspective.

Naming the parts of the microcontroller itself can be subjective. They range from the _minimal_ group of CPU section (core, ALU, register set, etc) plus program memory (most often now days implemented with Flash), a clock source (crystal may be external), I/O registers and associated direction registers, and reset circuitry to also include a large array of peripheral devices:
RAM/SRAM
Watchdog
Brown-out detection
On-board oscillators
EEPROM
Debugging circuitry
Timers
A/D interfaces
D/A interfaces
Interrupt controllers
Serial interfaces (UART, SPI, etc.)
Ethernet controllers
The list goes on...

Most microcontroller data sheets contain this information in their introductory sections.


Offline Soeren

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Re: Components of an MCU
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2009, 02:55:27 PM »
I assume from that answer that you have a lot more experience with analog electronics than with embedded devices. That was sparse and incomplete. Really - you wouldn't consider a port to be significant?
I, on the other hand, must assume that you were never taught what's considered main components.
Hint: Stuff that might vary from one controller to the next doesn't count as main parts, however crucial they may be to one particular controller.
Sure, ports are significant, I should have mentioned them, only the correct term in such a context is I/O.

But yeah, my brush with anything digital is a short one, I first got around to digital when TTL was all the rage and the micros was 8080, 8085 and the very much thinking ahead COSMAC.
*some word*


hazzer answered what you would find from a board-level perspective.
The OP asked about an MCU, not an MCU board.


Naming the parts of the microcontroller itself can be subjective.
Not when you're following established conventions.


[Snip a lot]
Most microcontroller data sheets contain this information in their introductory sections.
Doesn't make them considered main components of an MCU (which means _any_ MCU, when no specific is mentioned).
Regards,
Søren

A rather fast and fairly heavy robot with quite large wheels needs what? A lot of power?
Please remember...
Engineering is based on numbers - not adjectives

Offline GearMotion

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Re: Components of an MCU
« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2009, 03:11:00 PM »
I, on the other hand, must assume that you were never taught what's considered main components.
Hint: Stuff that might vary from one controller to the next doesn't count as main parts, however crucial they may be to one particular controller.
Sure, ports are significant, I should have mentioned them, only the correct term in such a context is I/O.
Your assumption is incorrect.
Your list of main components NOT including any sort of I/O (or ports) was incomplete. Unless you can point to a microcontroller (not microprocessor - I hope you know that they are different devices.) that has no I/O, I stand by my assertion that I/O should be included. And my simplest example includes a clock,(mandatory in understanding the core components) which I hope is of assistance in a pedagogical way to the OP.

But yeah, my brush with anything digital is a short one, I first got around to digital when TTL was all the rage and the micros was 8080, 8085 and the very much thinking ahead COSMAC.
I remember those days fondly. They were the days that microprocessors were pressed into service to do the job that microcontrollers do now days.

Naming the parts of the microcontroller itself can be subjective.
Not when you're following established conventions.
There are no more conventions for naming the parts of a MCU than there are established distinctions between RISC and CISC. You might believe there are. but sources disagree.


Doesn't make them considered main components of an MCU (which means _any_ MCU, when no specific is mentioned).
Again, to help the OP, I listed parts of a MCU that he may learn about. Not some fantasy list of only the minimum parts that only you consider significant.

And I pointed the OP to data sheets as a source of information to do his own research.

I know you are trying _really hard_ to not come off as a last-word, belittling, know-it-all troll, but you do anyway. Your inability to be polite now just made me yawn.
« Last Edit: April 30, 2009, 03:44:06 PM by GearMotion »

Offline SehvurTopic starter

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Re: Components of an MCU
« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2009, 06:54:19 PM »
Thanks all who replied I got all the info i need to look up anything else.

 


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