ATMEL microcontrollers (the corporation)

In the Roboni-i review I mention the ATxMEGA128A1 processor implemented in this little robot toy.  Here is a little more information about ATMEL:

ATMEL manufactures and designs various high quality electronic components  in the field of microcontrollers, capacitive touch solutions, advanced logic, radio frequency, non-volatile memory and more.  They provide complete electronic solutions to a wide variety of industries.  From industrial to automotive, consumer, security, communications and computing.  Atmel also produces some ARM based chips.

Microcontrollers contributed to 62% of Atmel’s revenue in 2011, which is up from 24% in 2006.  This growth in the demand for Atmel microcontrollers could probably be contributed to two factors:  firstly, the rate at which mobile technology has developed over the last few years and secondly because Atmel chips are powerful, reliable components.

The purpose here is to highlight some Atmel Chips in the light of upcoming robot challenges (more about this in a later post), more specifically the AVR 8-and 32-bit family of microcontrollers.  They combine performance, design flexibility and power efficiency and according to Atmel: “No other microcontrollers deliver more computing performance with better power efficiency”.  The architecture of these chips is aimed at code-efficiency  for C and assembly programming.

Atmel AVR electronics board with microcontrollers

Here are some technical details about a few selected controllers:

ATmega8

This low-power 8-bit AVR RISC-based (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) microcontroller provides 8KB of programmable flash memory, 1KB of SRAM, 512K EEPROM, and a 6 or 8 channel 10-bit A/D converter. It’s operating frequncy is 16 MHz and as a result has a throughput of 16 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second).  The operating voltage is between 2.7 and 5.5V.  For more details go to ATMEL’s website.

ATxMEGA128A1

as mentioned earlier, this high performance, low power 8/16-bit AVR microcontroller features 128KB self-programming flash program memory.  This means that the controller can write to it’s own program memory when it runs code from the boot sector.  This increases system flexibility through the possibility of field programming, data storage and remote upgrades.  The size of the boot code section for this controller is 8KB.

It also features 8KB SRAM, 2048-Byte EEPROM, external bus interface, 4-channel DMA controller, 8-channel event system, and up to 32 MIPS throughput at 32MHz and uses 1.6 – 3.6V.

The AVR XMEGA A1 series are 100-pin packages and can be used in a wide variety of applications.
This includes:

  • building-, industrial-, motor-, board-, and climate control
  • hand-held battery applications
  • factory automation
  • power tools
  • HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning)
  • networking, metering, large home appliances, and optical and medical devices.

For a full list of the AVR microconrollers, check out this table to select the one you need.

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2 thoughts on “ATMEL microcontrollers

  1. These are a great series of chips. They are the ones used by Arduino which has quickly become one of the most popular programmable controllers available.

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