Category Archives: Microcontroller Introduction

This series of my posts will explain the basic working of a microcontroller. I have tried to keep the language lucid so that even a beginner will be able to get a rough idea of the processes taking place inside a microcontroller.

How a microcontroller works?

The working of a microcontroller is sequential. It performs one step after another. Below, I have mentioned the stepwise process and have tried to keep the language lucid. The image below shows the 8051 architecture so that you can pictorially relate the different process. Continue reading How a microcontroller works?

Instruction Set Architecture

I recommend you to go through my previous article on Abstraction Layers to better understand Instruction Set Architecture. It’s time to go one step deeper.

Why we need an Instruction Set Architecture?

If you have read my previous post, you may know the fact that computers only understand binary i.e. 1’s and 0’s. For any communication to be understandable, certain rules are required. For a CPU, these set of rules are laid down by the Instruction Set Architecture. ISA is a topic under Computer Architecture. Continue reading Instruction Set Architecture

Layers of Abstraction

When we are writing a C program for a microcontroller, do we really know what actually happens at the hardware level? What does our code in C, C++ actually do, which causes the microcontroller to perform the way we want it to? After all, a microcontroller is an inanimate chunk of organized silicon. To understand this, we need to know about two important concepts – Layers of Abstraction and Instruction Set Architecture well known as ISA.

First, let’s understand the Layers of Abstraction that exist in an embedded system of which ISA is an integral part. Continue reading Layers of Abstraction

What is a Microcontroller?

A Microcontroller (MCU) is a miniature computer which can perform certain operations just like your personal computer. MCUs are specifically distinguished by the fact that the processor core, RAM, ROM and input/output ports lie on the same chip. Microcontrollers are usually dedicated devices embedded within an application. For example, microcontrollers are used as engine controllers in automobiles and as exposure and focus controllers in cameras. Other applications include robotics, industrial automation, home appliances like washing machines, refrigerators and microwave ovens etc. Continue reading What is a Microcontroller?

Microprocessor vs Microcontroller

Microprocessor and microcontroller are the devices at the core upon which the whole embedded system resides. People generally get confused with these terms, using one in place of another. Though there are many similarities, both these devices are significantly different. A microprocessor is the heart of a Computer system. Whereas a microcontroller is the heart of an embedded system. Judging whether an IC is a microcontroller or microprocessor is difficult as both are available in many packages.

Continue reading Microprocessor vs Microcontroller