Hardware

World's Smallest Microcontroller

Posted 2 Jun 2004 at 19:59 UTC by steve Share This

Having trouble fitting those bulky, oversized PIC processors into your tiny robot? Microchip Technology, Inc. has the answer: the PIC10F. This new PIC has the same core as the PIC12 and is in a 6-pin SOT-23 package. It can hold up to 512 instructions in its flash memory. A new microcontroller.com article has more details on the ultra small PIC10F.


you call that small?, posted 3 Jun 2004 at 02:21 UTC by WhoPhlungPoo » (Journeyer)

ARRG!, it's not the "words smallest" micro controller, it merely ties with a part from Silicon Labs; the C8051F300 is a 3mm x 3mm MLP11 device that has been available for quite some time. If you look at the specs for the 6-pin SOT-23 package, it requires the same exact amount of board space, 3mm x 3mm. The body of the IC is slightly smaller, however you have to include the pins. Also I have to add, even though this new PIC device ties in the size and price category, it doesn't come close to the performance of the silicon labs part!

Incase your interested, here's the link to the Silicon Labs (worlds smallest) MCU: http://www.silabs.com/products/microcontroller/mlp.asp

Cygnal has a better one, posted 3 Jun 2004 at 14:07 UTC by earlwb » (Master)

Cygnal has the 8052 based 8mm x 8mm MCU that has 32 pins. At least you have some I/O pins to do something with.

So with a 6 pin MCu, let's see. We have a Power pin and a ground pin. Then there should likely be a reset pin (how are you going to program it without one?). That leaves three I/O pins to do things with. I guess maybe RFID possibilities come to mind. Maybe some sort of a datalogger device with external serial flash memory for storage.

Let's see for a robot, it should maybe be Ok for most simple mini-micro- nano sumo robot needs. We'd need two I/O lines for the motors, with 1 I/O line left for a line sensor. Humm still sort of limiting.

smallest, posted 3 Jun 2004 at 16:32 UTC by steve » (Master)

Yeah, I should have known better than to trust the "world's smallest" superlative in the original article. It's like every new robot vacuum claiming to be the "world's first robot vacuum cleaner".

yes, posted 3 Jun 2004 at 19:04 UTC by earlwb » (Master)

I took a longer look see at the PIC10F20X devices. Thus it really has four I/O pins, so a simple robot would be possible. Serial programming looks interesting, I guess it needs a new programmer for it too. I wish they had the chips available and not just more hype about vaporware. Don't even know how much they cost. Too bad they couldn't throw in a ADC, but at least it has a comparator.

But what the heck, ATMEL has several devices that all use the 32 pin MLF 5mm X 5mm package size. The ATMEGA 8 just can't be beat, great chip. Plus they now have MCU's like the Atiny2313 using the same package too.

Silicon Labs = Cygnal, posted 3 Jun 2004 at 23:16 UTC by WhoPhlungPoo » (Journeyer)

By the way fellas, the part I was talking about is from Cygnal; Cygnal was purchased by another company called Silicon Labs. I.E. Cygnal = Silicon Labs = Cygnal. I use the "Cygnal" 8051 parts in everything I build, I have nothing but good things to say about Cygnal, i.e. Silicon Labs MCU's. The smallest Cygnal / Silicon Labs is actually 3mm x 3mm.

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