Tag Archives: watchdog timer

Simply AVR: 8-bit ideas with Atmel

Vegard Wollan, co-inventor of AVR microcontroller (MCU) architecture, says AVR “was born from the combination of advanced computer science coupled with proven Flash memory manufacturing techniques.”

Indeed, AVR architecture offers both engineers and Makers robust performance, low power, high-speed, connectivity and easy system integration. Based on a single-cycle RISC engine that deftly combines a rich instruction set, AVR MCUs are capable of delivering close to 1 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second) per megahertz – as they are optimized for minimum code size and maximum computing performance.

Perhaps most importantly, Atmel makes it possible to create smaller footprint designs, as our AVR MCUs offer a high level of integration with on-chip Flash, SRAM, EEPROM, pull-up resistors, precision oscillator, watchdog timer, brownout detector and GPIO/PWM (pulse-width modulation) pins for application use. Advanced on-chip analog capabilities include an internal temperature sensor, analog comparators, multiple 10-bit and 12-bit ADC (analog-to-digital converter) input channels and a programmable-gain analog amplifier.

On the low power side, Atmel has developed picoPower technology, which enables AVR microcontrollers to reduce power consumption in both sleep and active mode, thereby achieving the industry’s lowest power consumption with 500nA @ 1.8V with RTC running and 100nA with full SRAM retention.

In terms of software, AVR MCUs are designed with ease of use in mind, from peripherals to datasheets to tools. To be sure, we offer a high-quality, easy-to-use tool chain for the full range of our AVR families. Available for free, Atmel Studio enables code development in C or Assembly by providing cycle-accurate simulation – and integrating seamlessly with AVR starter kits, programmers, debuggers, evaluation kits and reference designs.

This makes AVR microcontrollers ideal for a broad range of applications including industrial control, ZigBee and RF, medical and utility metering, communication gateways, sensor control, white goods and portable battery-powered products. Last, but certainly not least, both Makers and developers can benefit from a robust community following of over 300,000 engineers, with AVR Freaks offering a centralized location where participants frequently interact with each other in various AVR MCU forums.

Capacity and performance characterize Atmel’s megaAVR

Our ongoing coverage of Atmel’s comprehensive AVR portfolio has taken readers on a detailed MCU (microcontroller) tour this month. First, Bits & Pieces dove into the guts of Atmel’s AVR UC3 which is built around high-performance 32-bit AVR architecture and optimized for highly integrated applications.

We then spent some time with Atmel’s AVR XMEGA, an MCU designed for real-time performance, high integration and ultra-low power. And today we want to properly acquaint our readers with Atmel’s megaAVR microcontroller, which is well known for both capacity and performance.

“When your designs need some extra muscle, you need the megaAVR. Ideal for applications requiring large amounts of code, the megaAVR offers substantial program and data memories with performance up to 20 MIPS, with picoPower technology minimizing power consumption,” an Atmel engineering rep told Bits & Pieces. “All megaAVRs offer self-programmability for fast, secure, cost-effective in-circuit upgrades. You can even upgrade the flash while running your application.”

Indeed, the megaAVR family offers Atmel’s widest selection of devices in terms of memories, pin counts and peripherals. Meaning, engineers can choose from general-purpose devices to models with specialized peripherals like USB, or LCD controllers, or CAN, LIN and Power Stage Controllers.

More specifically, Atmel’s megaAVR family is equipped with on-chip flash, SRAM, internal EEPROM, SPI, TWI, USART, USB, CAN, LIN, watchdog timer, a choice of internal or external precision oscillator and general purpose I/O pins.

In terms of analog functions, the megaAVR boasts advanced analog capabilities, such as ADC, DAC, built-in temperature sensor and internal voltage reference, brown out detector, a fast analog comparator and a programmable analog gain amplifier. Simply put, the high level of integration allows designs with fewer external analog components.

And last, but certainly not least, megaAVR microcontrollers help accelerate the development process with advanced in-system programming and on-chip debug, while in-system programming works to simplify production line programming and field upgrades.

Interested in learning more? A full breakdown of our AVR portfolio is available here.