A PIC Microcontroller is a computer much like other computers, such as a desktop PC. The Microcontroller and PC have the following commonalities:
• A central processing unit to run programs that implement a web browser
• A specific amount of RAM (random-access memory) to hold variables.
• Input and output devices for communication, similar to that on a PC, except on a PC the keyboard and mouse handle input and the monitor and printer control output.
• A desktop computer can run hundreds of programs. Microcontrollers are computers that are created to perform one particular task. They do only one thing; but they do it rapidly and efficiently.
• Microcontrollers usually consume less power. A PC attaches to an electrical outlet and might use 150 watts of electricity. A microcontroller runs on a battery and consumes about 50 milliwatts.
• A microcontroller runs its dedicated input tool by dispatching signals to various components, and it derives input from the device it is controls.
• Microcontrollers are usually ruggedized, or strengthened in some way to make them hardier than a standard PC.
• Microcontrollers are usually smaller than a PC and less expensive. The parts are selected to reduce size and to be less costly.
By today’s standards, microcontrollers are very simple. A microcontroller chip usually has approximately 1,000 bytes of ROM and 20 bytes of RAM. It cannot run Microsoft Word, for example, because Microsoft Word needs about 30 megabytes of RAM and a processor that can run millions of instructions per second. However, these low-cost, low-power computers are made to accomplish only one specific task. They are extremely inexpensive when bought in bulk; they usually satisfy the requirements of a device's designer with just a single chip.
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