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What Is an Atmel® Controller?

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  • Written By: Jean Marie Asta
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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An Atmel® controller is a microcontroller that runs on one integrated circuit (IC), or a single circuit board, and is designed to run little execution programs in real time. The controller uses nonvolatile memory, or flash memory, which means it can store information without the need of an electrical power source. An Atmel® controller is essentially an embedded, single board computer that runs on open source Atmel® software programs. It synchronizes with an interface on the Atmel® network and can even be used to create projects like robots and other computerized devices.

One kind of Atmel® controller has a reprogrammable microprocessor that uses nonvolatile memory, having 2 megabytes (MB) of memory and an endurance of 10,000 cycles of writes and reads. Its operating power ranges between 2.7 volts (V) and 6V and has a static operation range between 0 hertz (Hz) and 24 MHz. The random access memory (RAM) of the Atmel® controller is an 8 bit central processing unit (CPU) and has 15 separate, programmable lines of input/output (I/O). This device follows the MCS-51 industry standards and is fully compatible with other electronic devices that use the same standards. The microcontroller is very powerful, cost-effective, and flexible to work with many control applications that are embedded.

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The Atmel® controller has applications that can synchronize with wireless networks such as Zigbee®. Its radio frequency (RF) transceiver component allows it to connect to any network of this type and be fully functional, being able to connect to the Internet or just the network itself. The Atmel® controller is also compliant with Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 802.15.4 standards, which are wireless networks used in smaller areas. This microcontroller is one part of the wider range of the 8051 microcontroller architecture. It is capable of having socket devices for drop-ins that follow industry standards.

One of the things that can be done with an Atmel® controller is that it can be used to create other electronic devices such as robots. The microcontroller may have to have some programming done to it to be ready for the construction of a homemade device, and one programming language it is able to use is C. A microcontroller’s chip has I/O pins with certain support protocols built into the chip. Certain architectures in CPUs have I/O spaces for registers containing unique instructions for access. The C language does not have the concept of I/O space so a C compiler can provide extensions to allow for the microcontroller’s I/O registers.

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