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                        A microcontroller is a single silicon chip with memory and all Input/output peripherals on it. Hence a microcontroller is also popularly known as a single chip computer. Normally, a single microcomputer has the following features:-

 ►Arithmetic and logical unit.
 ►Memory for storing program.
 ►EEPROM for non-volatile data storage.
 ►RAM for storing variables and special function registers.
 ►Input/output ports.
 ►Timers and counters.
 ►Analogue to digital converter.
 ►Serial communication port.
 ►Circuits for reset, power up, serial programming, debugging.

Microcontrollers can be classified on the basis of internal bus width, architecture, memory and instruction set.


When computers came into the market in the 1940’s, they were all Embedded Systems. However, they were never regarded as Embedded Systems because, firstly, they were regarded as computers; and secondly, because they were too large and improper to be formally termed as Embedded Systems.

The Apollo Guidance Computer changed history. It became the world’s first modern Embedded System. The Apollo Guidance Computer was developed by Charles Stark Draper. The size of the device was reduced considerably from its monolithic ancestor. However, this increased other risk factors.

Mass production of Embedded Systems began in the year 1961.Ever since; there has been no stopping the production and increase in the use of Embedded Systems.

The integration of microcontrollers has further increased the applications for which embedded systems are used into areas where traditionally a computer would not have been considered. A general purpose and comparatively low-cost microcontroller may often be programmed to fulfil the same role as a large number of separate components.

Microcontroller manufacturers have been competing for a long time for attracting choosy customers and every couple of days a new chip with a higher operating frequency, more memory and upgraded A/D converters appeared on the market.

However, most of them had the same or at least very similar architecture known in the world of microcontrollers as “8051 compatible”. What is all this about?

The whole story has its beginnings in the far 80s when Intel launched the first series of microcontrollers called the MCS 051. Even though these microcontrollers had quite modest features in comparison to the new ones, they conquered the world very soon and became a standard for what nowadays is called the microcontroller.



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