Microchip has introduced two new families of 8-bit microcontrollers (MCUs), which combine intelligent analogue and core independent peripherals, with eXtreme Low Power (XLP) technology.  The devices are available in 14-, 20-, 28-, and 40/44-pin packages and feature eleven devices in the range. The PIC16F170X/171X family of MCUs integrates two Op Amps to drive analogue control loops, sensor amplification and basic signal conditioning, whilst reducing system cost and board space.

These new devices also offer built-in Zero Cross Detect (ZCD) to simplify TRIAC control and minimise the EMI caused by switching transients. Additionally, these are claimed to be the first PIC16 MCUs with Peripheral Pin Select, a pin-mapping feature that is said to offer the flexibility to designate the pin-out of many peripheral functions.  Theses two product ranges are general-purpose MCUs that are ideal for a broad range of applications, such as consumer home appliances, power tools and electric razors; portable medical products including blood-pressure meters, blood-glucose meters and pedometers; as well as LED lighting; battery charging; power supplies and motor control.

The PIC16F170X/171X family features Core Independent Peripherals (CIP), such as the Configurable Logic Cell (CLC), Complementary Output Generator (COG) and Numerically Controlled Oscillator (NCO).  These “self-sustaining” peripheral are designed to handle tasks with no code or supervision from the CPU to maintain operation. As a result, they simplify the implementation of complex control systems and give designers the flexibility to innovate.

The CLC peripheral enables the creation of custom logic and interconnections specific  applications, giving the potential to reduce external components, which can save code space and add functionality. 

The COG waveform generator can generate complementary waveforms with fine control of key parameters, such as phase, dead-band, blanking, emergency shut-down states and error-recovery strategies. It offers a cost-effective solution saving both board space and component cost when, for example, driving FETs in half- and full-bridge drivers for control and power-conversion applications. The NCO is a programmable precision linear frequency generator, ranging from <1Hz to 500kHz+.  It offers a step up in performance, while simplifying designs requiring precise linear frequency control, such as lighting control, tone generators, radio-tuning circuitry and fluorescent ballasts. 

The new MCUs feature up to 28KB of self-read/write Flash programme memory, up to 2KB of RAM, a 10-bit ADC, a 5-/8-bit DAC, capture-compare PWM modules, stand-alone 10-bit PWM modules and high-speed comparators (60 ns typical response), in addition to EUSART, I2C and SPI peripherals. They also feature XLP technology for typical active and sleep currents of just 35 µA/MHz and 30nA, respectively, helping to extend battery life and reduce standby current consumption.