Microcontrollers are inside many products these days. If your microwave oven has an LED or LCD screen and a keypad, it contains a microcontroller. All modern automobiles contain at least one microcontroller, and can have as many as six or seven: The engine is controlled by a microcontroller, as are the anti-lock brakes, the cruise control and so on. Any device that has a remote control almost certainly contains a microcontroller: TVs, VCRs and high-end stereo systems all fall into this category. Nice SLR and digital cameras, cell phones, camcorders, answering machines, laser printers, Phones, fridges, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers..... You get the idea. Basically, any product or device that interacts with its user has a microcontroller buried inside.
In this article, we will look at microcontrollers so that you can understand what they are and how they work.

A microcontroller is a circuit that you can programm to do a task, for example you could programm a GENIE 8 microcontroller to flash a light, or play a tune whereas an intrgrated circuit could only do one thing after you have designed and made the cip. Basically its a small curcit that you can programm to do what you want.

When you switch a mictocontroller on, it starts running the programm. For example, when you plug in a tv, the microcontrollers inside make the screen switch on and start the tv searching for channels. This tast is probably done my multiple Microcoltrollers as they can each only do one thing at a time, and are often not that powerful.

By Robert Bradshaw