tinyAVR: Balancing performance and efficiency in a small package

The AVR tour continues! Our first stop? Atmel’s AVR UC3, an MCU built around high-performance 32-bit AVR architecture and optimized for highly integrated applications. Next up? The AVR XMEGA, an MCU designed for real-time performance, high integration and ultra-low power. Our third stop was Atmel’s stalwart megaAVR, which neatly balances both capacity and performance.

And today we are getting up close and personal with Atmel’s tinyAVR lineup. As one can infer from its name, the tinyAVR series is optimized for applications requiring performance, power efficiency and ease of use in a small package – with the smallest tinyAVR measuring only 1.5mm x 1.4mm. As expected, all tinyAVR devices are based on the same architecture and compatible with other AVR devices. Engineers can employ the tinyAVR as a single chip solution in small systems – or use them to deliver glue logic and distributed intelligence in larger systems.

“Integrated ADC, EEPROM memory and brown-out detector allows devs to build applications without adding external components, while tinyAVR offers flash memory and on-chip debug for fast, secure, cost-effective in-circuit upgrades that significantly cuts product time to market,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces. “Simply put, the tinyAVR offers an optimized combination of miniaturization, processing power, analog performance and system-level integration.”

It should be noted that the tinyAVR is the most compact device in the AVR family and the only device capable of operating at just 0.7V. Whereas most microcontrollers require 1.8V or more to operate, the tinyAVR (with boost regulator) boosts the voltage from a single AA or AAA battery into a stable 3V supply to power an entire application. Plus, tinyAVR designs can be coupled with Atmel’s CryptoAuthentication device for an added level of security against hackers and cloners.

Additional key features include:

  • Capacitive Touch – Atmel’s QTouch Library makes it easier for engineers to embed capacitive-touch button, slider and wheel functionality into general-purpose Atmel AVR microcontroller applications. The royalty-free QTouch Library provides several library files for each device and supports different numbers of touch channels, enabling both flexibility and efficiency in touch application.
  • Fast and code efficient – The AVR CPU gives the tinyAVR devices the same high performance as Atmel’s larger AVR devices and several times the processing power of any similarly-sized competitor. Flexible and versatile, they feature high code efficiency that allows them fit a broad range of applications.
  • High integration – Each pin has multiple uses as I/O, ADC and PWM. Even the reset pin can be reconfigured as an I/O pin. tinyAVR also features a Universal Serial Interface (USI) which can be used as SPI, UART or TWI.

Interested in learning more? Be sure to check out our full tinyAVR portfolio here.

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