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Why Microchip is My Microprocessor Vender of Choice...
I've been designing microprocessor-based products for over thirty-five years.
I cut my teeth on the first real microprocessor (Intel 8008) and over the years I've worked with dozens of different processors
from numerous manufacturers - many of which are no longer in business. These include the RCA 1802, Fairchild F8, Intel 8080, and
the Motorola 6800.
One processor family that I've used for dozens of designs, and that is
still quite popular is the 8051 - originally produced by Intel. This processor is currently available in more than 100 variants
from about a dozen different manufacturers. While this seems impressive, the variants have little in common, other than the
processor core. The on-board peripherals, pin-outs and extensions vary widely.
For decades now my microprocessor vendor of choice has been Microchip. What drew me to the
Microchip - and one of the reasons that I use them exclusively today - is that they have a wide variety of pin-compatible parts. If the need arises,
I can easily substitute a part with more I/O, more memory, or a specific peripheral without the need to change my board layout or firmware. With hundreds
of variants covering the 8-bit to 32-bit market no other manufacturer offers such versatility. Also, since most Microchip parts are available with FLASH
program memory, they can be reprogrammed thousands of times.
Covering a wide range of applications, my designs utilize a variety of interfaces including Ethernet, CAN,
LIN, I2C, UART, SPI and PWM. Microchip's processors have on-board controllers for all of these interfaces. And when I don't need them, I can often choose a pin compatible
part, at a lower cost, that doesn't include them. Rarely do I have to add an external peripheral controller when using Microchip parts.
I develop most of my code in 'C', so good development support for the language
is important to me. In addition to their free MPLAB IDE, Microchip has a family of C compilers to support their entire line. There are also several 3rd party compilers
as well as Basic interpreters available. For debugging, Microchip has several low-cost In Circuit Debuggers that allow you to set breakpoints and examine variables in your
application. Some can also doubles as low volume programmers and since they're compatible with most of Microchip’s parts there’s no need to buy multiple
In addition to a wide variety of compatible parts and great development tools,
Microchip is dedicated to educating their customers. Their web site contains hundreds of applications notes, dozens of
on-line seminars, and code examples. They also hold numerous hands-on seminars all around the country, as well as their
yearly MASTERS seminar – an intensive 4-day training event held each summer.
When you're ready to start your next project, give me a call and I'll
show you why Microchip is your best choice.