ATMEL microcontrollers

In the Roboni-i review I mention the ATxMEGA128A1 processor implemented in this little robot toy.  Here is a little more information about ATMEL:

ATMEL - the corporation manufacture and design various high quality electronic components  in the field of microcontrollers, capacitive touch solutions, advanced logic, radio frequncy, non-volatile memory and more.  They provide complete electronic solutions to a wide variety of industries.  From industrial to automotive, consumer, security, communications and computing.  Atmel also produces some ARM based chips.

Microcontrollers contributed to 62% of Atmel's revenue in 2011, which is up from 24% in 2006.  This growth in the demand for Atmel microcontrollers could probably be contributed to two factors:  firstly, the rate at which mobile technology has developed over the last few years and secondly because Atmel chips are powerful, reliable components.

The purpose here is to highlight some Atmel Chips in the light of upcoming robot challenges (more about this in a later post), more specifically the AVR 8-and 32-bit family of microcontrollers.  They combine performance, design flexibility and power efficiency and according to Atmel: "No other microcontrollers deliver more computing performance with better power efficiency".  The architecture of these chips is aimed at code-efficiency  for C and assembly programming.

Here are some technical details about a few selected controllers:

This low-power 8-bit AVR RISC-based (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) microcontroller provides 8KB of programmable flash memory, 1KB of SRAM, 512K EEPROM, and a 6 or 8 channel 10-bit A/D converter. It's operating frequncy is 16 MHz and as a result has a throughput of 16 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second).  The operating voltage is between 2.7 and 5.5V.  For more details click here.

Mentioned ealrier, this high performance, low power 8/16-bit AVR microcontroller features 128KB self-programming flash program memory.  This means that the controller can write to it's own program memory when it runs code from the boot sector.  This increases system flexibility through the possiblity of field programming, data storage and remote upgrades.  The size of the boot code section for this controlelr is 8KB.

It also features 8KB SRAM, 2048-Byte EEPROM, external bus interface, 4-channel DMA controller, 8-channel event system, and up to 32 MIPS throughput at 32MHz and uses 1.6 - 3.6V.

The AVR XMEGA A1 series are 100-pin packages and can be used in a wide variety of applications.
This includes:
  • building-, industrial-, motor-, board-, and climate control
  • hand-held battery applications
  • factory automation
  • power tools
  • HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning)
  • networking, metering, large home appliances, and optical and medical devices.
For a full list of the AVR microconrollers, check out this table to select the one you need.

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