Microchip’s portfolio of scalable 8‑bit, 16‑bit and 32‑bit MCUs, MPUs and DSCs enable you to meet the ever-changing requirements of modern electronics. Additionally, our flexible peripherals and functions make it easy to create differentiated applications that stand out from the competition. By using our intuitive design environments and visual configuration tools along with proven reference designs and professionally-tested software libraries, it’s quick to get started and lower your design risk.

Top 5 Reasons Your Next IoT Design Should Be Using 8-bit PIC®/AVR®

Here we cover the key advantages Microchip delivers, including scalability, cost-effectiveness, Core Independent Peripherials (CIPs), software tools and development kits.

From an engineer's perspective: Microchip PIC16F15xx Mid-Range Microcontrollers Eases Medical Device Design

By Ishmael Chigumira for Mouser Electronics

Ishmael Chigumira

Ishmael Chigumira

Ishmael Chigumira is a Principal Electrical Engineer with extensive experience designing embedded electrical/electronic systems and developing firmware to control such systems. Ishmael is considered a subject matter expert with experience developing products from concept to production. Currently, Ishmael provides consulting services in various segments, including but not limited to medical, automotive, appliances, renewable energy, industrial, and consumer electronics.

Manufacturing and testing electronic devices for the Internet of Things (IoT) can prove to be an extremely time-consuming and expensive effort. One of the biggest challenges is flashing and testing device firmware, which historically has required a dedicated computer that is appropriately configured for the chip’s specific protocols. Our company, Blue Clover Devices, has been trying to improve this process by providing production line tools (PLTs) with flash and test kits that have the following characteristics:

  • Can quickly and reliably flash firmware onto the device
  • Are easy to work with and require minimal setup
  • Offer debugging functionality for firmware testing
  • Are compatible with a variety of chips
  • Require limited space and power

Since so many of our customers use Microchip products in their devices, we knew it was necessary to optimize our PLTs for the PIC family. For these reasons, the obvious choice was the Microchip MPLAB PICkit 4 In-Circuit Debugger/Programmer.

Microchip PIC16LF1508

The Microchip PIC16LF1508 (Figure 1) not only has the reduced instruction set computer (RISC) architecture that's optimized for C-compilers but also has excellent insurance against failures:

  • The PIC16LF1508 supports 100,000 erase-write cycles, which is many more than other microcontrollers that often support just 10,000. Supporting 100,000 erase-write cycles means much higher insurance against failures.
  • Microchip microcontrollers are robust when exposed to electrostatic discharge (ESD), contributing to reliability. I've damaged other manufacturers' microcontrollers with ESD during the development phase but never one from Microchip. This aspect helps keep designs small and efficient because few additional components are needed for ESD protection. I didn't add any hardware for ESD protection to this particular device.
Microchip PIC16LF1508
Figure 1: The Microchip PIC16LF1508 offers superior features compared to other microcontrollers. (Source: Microchip)

The PIC16LF1508 internal power-on reset feature offers a considerable advantage because not all microcontrollers have this feature. This power-on reset feature has a simple interface and a self-programming piece that are pretty powerful in saving layout design time.

Peripherals are easily accommodated in the PIC16LF1508 with three internal channels. It housed the digital-to-analog converter, which handles the temperature, humidity, and other sensor input. Additionally, it enabled the device to wake up from a peripheral input. What's more, the PIC16LF1508 can handle high current per input/output (I/O) for sync and source—typically 25mA, which is outstanding. This enabled me to add field-effect transistors (FETs) and light-emitting diodes (LEDs) without additional protection—only limiting resistors were added.

The Microchip ecosystem has been a part of my design toolbox for many years. The Microchip PIC16LF1508 has robust features to meet complex design needs and provides simple interfaces that ease the medical device design process.  

Photo/imagery credits (in order of display)
HQUALITY - stock.adobe.com, ipopba - stock.adobe.com

Microchip Technology 8-Bit PIC & AVR Microcontrollers

Microchip Technology 8-Bit PIC® & AVR® Microcontrollers

These MCUs offer a unique combination of power efficiency and flexibility, making these devices an excellent choice for a variety of embedded system designs.

Learn more 

Top 5 Reasons Your Motor Control Design Should Be Using 16-bit PIC®

Quickly examine the many benefits Microchip offers, such as development & evaluation tools, flexible integrated peripherals, complete development ecosystem, huge product portfolio and solution for numerous applications.

From an engineer's perspective: Microchip MPLAB PICkit 4 Eases IoT Manufacturing

By Brien East for Mouser Electronics

Brien East

Brien East

Brien East is a San Francisco based engineer, formally the Director of Hardware Engineering at Blue Clover Devices. Presently, Brien is the CEO of the blockchain startup Alaeris, a proof-of-action platform that incentivizes real world action, including the planting of 1 trillion trees.

I recently designed a dual-input controller for a brushed-motor device—one of two devices developed for a new medical product used in hospitals and other medical facilities. Among several design challenges, the microprocessor presented a unique combination of requirements. In particular, it needed to do the following:

  • Interface with both a keyboard/keypad and a controller
  • Process temperature, humidity, and other sensor data
  • Communicate via BLUETOOTH®
  • Wake up quickly from sleep via controller and keyboard input
  • Update remotely
  • Accommodate a battery back-up
  • Fit within a small device
  • Work reliably in a variety of environments
  • Be compatible with the second device being developed for the product
  • Be large enough and flexible enough that C programs could be compiled to run on it

Based on my experience with Microchip, I knew that the Microchip PIC16LF1508 from the PIC16F15xx mid-range microcontrollers series was the best microcontroller for the device. Other people on the team would have preferred that I use another microprocessor that they were familiar with, but I knew this microcontroller had features that would enable me to create an efficient and reliable medical device.

Microchip MPLAB PICkit 4 In-Circuit Debugger/Programmer

One of the most impressive features of the Microchip MPLAB PICkit 4 (Figure 1) is its ability to operate as a standalone device. Using an SD card, we can integrate the MPLAB PICkit 4 into our PLTs, and we can confidently flash and test almost any PIC product.

Beyond Programmer-to-Go support, the MPLAB PICkit 4 offers several other valuable features including the following:

  • Backward compatibility for use with legacy systems using 2-wire JTAG and In-Circuit Serial Programming (ICSP)
  • Silicon clock speed matching, which enables the programmer to automatically program as fast as the target will allow without explicit configuration
  • Interoperability with the MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment (IDE), which provides comprehensive software tools to simplify working with firmware
Microchip PIC16LF1508
Figure 1: The Microchip MPLAB PICkit 4 was the perfect choice for our PLTs. (Source: Microchip)

Working with the MPLAB PICkit 4 is also extremely easy, as it links to the target via a standard Microchip debug connector (RJ-11). The connector uses a simple scheme requiring just two device input/output (I/O) pins and a reset line to implement in-circuit debugging and ICSP. This made it easy for us to use the MPLAB PICkit 4 on a variety of designs without needing to change our setup.

As a hardware engineer who writes basic firmware, I was able to take the MPLAB PICkit 4, download MPLAB, and immediately have a lot of confidence that everything I needed was already built-in. Working from there, it was easy for me to flash code and use the debug tools and updates within the integrated MPLAB. I can confidently say that we haven't accomplished the same with any other product line.  

Photo/imagery credits (in order of display)
metamorworks - stock.adobe.com, Poobest - stock.adobe.com

Microchip Technology PIC24FJ-GU4/GL4 16-Bit Microcontrollers

Microchip Technology PIC24FJ-GU4/GL4 16-Bit Microcontrollers

These MCUs offer up to 512KB of Dual Partition Flash supporting real-time Over-The-Air (OTA) updates and EEPROM Emulation.

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Microchip Technology PIC24FJ GL 16-Bit Microcontrollers

Microchip Technology PIC24FJ GL 16-Bit Microcontrollers

These MCUs are eXtreme Low-Power MCUs designed to enable the development of an array of innovative applications, both with and without displays.

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Microchip Technology PIC24FJxxGx 16-bit Microcontrollers

Microchip Technology PIC24FJxxGx 16-bit Microcontrollers

Microchip Technology PIC24FJ64Gx, PIC24FJ128Gx, and PIC24FJ256Gx 16-bit Microcontrollers (MCUs) are ideal for low power and connectivity applications.

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Top 5 Reasons You Should Consider 32-Bit for Safety Designs

Microchip brings a host of benefits to the table, comprising of embedded software, low power, design feedback/expertise, pre-certified to set standards and design flexibility.

From an engineer's perspective: Quickly Prototype with Microchip's 32Bit-Microcontroller Families

Michael Parks for Mouser Electronics

Mike Parks

Mike Parks

Michael Parks, P.E. is the owner of Green Shoe Garage, a custom electronics design studio and technology consultancy located in Southern Maryland. He produces the S.T.E.A.M. Power podcast to help raise public awareness of technical and scientific matters. Michael is also a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Maryland and holds a Master’s degree in systems engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Technology is changing at a faster rate than at any time in human history. Microchip’s various families of 32‑bit microcontrollers and microprocessors are no exception. As an embedded systems engineer, I frequently utilize Microchip products because of their innovative features and ease of integration into my designs. Microchip's portfolio of PIC32 and ARM Cortex‑based SAM microcontroller families offers various feature sets, performance specifications, and price points to meet nearly every application. From automotive to high‑end graphics, consumer products to workplace safety, Microchip likely has a microcontroller product that will meet my requirements. While the options can be overwhelming, Microchip offers fantastic developer‑oriented resources to help narrow down those choices.

Much of my work involves rapid prototyping; getting a client’s idea turned into a functional, tangible object as fast as possible is my bread and butter. Microchip supports this by integrating 32‑bit microcontrollers (Figure 1) into very convenient to use development boards. This allows me to focus on building value for the client immediately. Instead of worrying about board layout upfront and other essential but non‑value‑added tasks, I can tackle the project‑specific functionality that the clients values most. This lets them see, test, and tweak their requirements early in the design process before making huge investments for production runs of custom PCBs.

A microchip 32-bit chip with the applications of digital audio, graphics and touch, internet of things, wearables, ultra-low power, 5V appliances, connectivity, metering, motor control, connected lighting, and automotive connected to it.
Figure 1: 32-bit SAM Microcontroller Family (Source: Microchip)

The features that you can find built into a Microchip 32-bit microcontroller are top-notch. Some of the key features I tend to look for in a microcontroller are conveniently found embedded in many of Microchip’s 32-bit microcontrollers:

  • Small footprints or large pin counts, depending on the application requirements
  • High-quality ADCs and DACs
  • A plethora of communications hardware such as SPI, I2C, I2S, CAN, PIO/PCC camera interfaces, etc.
  • Rich security features such as a robust cryptographic engine, secure boot technology, and tamper detection
  • Built-in support for external peripherals such as liquid crystal displays and touch interfaces

Of course, all the onboard features in the world are useless if they are difficult to take advantage of in firmware. Microchip ensures my success is by providing quality reference materials and well-documented software libraries for the 32-bit microcontrollers. Their reference designs are top-notch and highlight any “gotchas” that one must consider when doing a custom board layout that integrates a Microchip 32-bit microcontroller. Additionally, the software libraries are well-documented and have numerous examples that highlight each feature uniquely. This eliminates a lot of the documentation search legwork that is unfortunately sometimes required from other manufacturer products. Speed is the name of the game, and Microchip delivers.

When a design outgrows the constraints of a microcontroller, porting over to a 32-bit microprocessor solution that can take advantage of larger external memories and Linux OS is an option that Microchip technology can support. Conversely, I have had a few projects that involved migrating legacy applications that utilized 8 or 16-bit microcontrollers into more modern 32-bit architectures. Microchip’s MPLAB development ecosystem makes it fairly simple to get older firmware built for an 8-bit PIC ported over to a newer PIC32 microcontroller.  

Photo/imagery credits (in order of display)
Gorodenkoff - stock.adobe.com, NDABCREATIVITY - stock.adobe.com

Microchip Technology 32-Bit SAM Microcontrollers

Microchip Technology 32-Bit SAM Microcontrollers

Powered by Arm® Cortex® CPUs, these MCUs offer a combination of performance, power efficiency and design flexibility, plus a variety of advanced peripherals for developing all kinds of 32-bit embedded applications.

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Top 5 Reasons You Should Be Using MPLab Development Tool Ecosystem®

Learn how Microchip supports and speeds the design process by helping you to qualify & get into production, debug, IDE for design, discover & configure code, plus development tools selector to hit the ground running.

From an engineer's perspective: Develop Easily with Microchip MPLAB®X IDE

Michael Parks for Mouser Electronics

Mike Parks

Mike Parks

Michael Parks, P.E. is the owner of Green Shoe Garage, a custom electronics design studio and technology consultancy located in Southern Maryland. He produces the S.T.E.A.M. Power podcast to help raise public awareness of technical and scientific matters. Michael is also a licensed Professional Engineer in the state of Maryland and holds a Master’s degree in systems engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

As a small design studio, time is everything. Many of my clients are looking for a rapid turnaround on turning an idea into a functional prototype. I don't have time to fiddle with my tool settings; I need them to just work out of the box. MPLAB X IDE lets me focus on creating value for my clients without the fuss of setting up toolchains or reconfiguring settings for every new project. Additionally, much of the functionality is offered at no charge, meaning I don’t need to invest a sizeable chunk of financial resources only to find out that a particular platform won’t meet my requirements. I can iterate fast without worrying about losing the shirt off my back. That is reassuring and lets me take giant leaps by trying newer hardware sooner. I would otherwise not be willing to take such a risk on behalf of a client.

Some specific features I appreciate include the ability to develop for AVR, PIC, and ARM Cortex-based microcontrollers (and associated Curiosity prototyping boards) from the same development tool. No need to learn a different workflow for each MCU family. The ability to quickly download compatible libraries and access reference materials from directly within MPLAB X is a big timesaver.

Figure 1: A screenshot of an MPLAB X IDE screen (Source: Michael Park / Microchip)

Integration with MPLAB Code Configurator is a great way to avoid issues when getting started with a new development board. The wizard-like tutorial walks you through a set of configurations choices to generate a starting block of code tailored to the target microcontroller.

The live parser is another excellent feature that helps prevent bugs by identifying syntax errors in real-time as I write code. Another helpful feature is the ability to press CTRL while hovering over a variable or function call and go directly to its definition. This is a huge win when using third-party libraries so that you can quickly understand what the original author intended when they created their code originally.

The I/O view is another handy feature that saves me time when debugging a project. Not only can the bits of each registered be viewed, but each pin can also be manipulated to verify external hardware is working as expected. Speaking of debugging, the Data Visualizer is a feature-rich tool of the MPLAB X IDE. Amongst its numerous features are the to view time series data (both raw and decoded formats at runtime) in a chart view. Cursors allow for one to take frequency and pulse width measurements without leaving the IDE. Data can be exported in useful formats for further analysis. Also, for certain Microchip products, the visualizer can help gain insight into power consumption. Again, all without additional hardware or software. MPLAB X IDE is nearly a one-stop development tool.

MPLAB's tight integration with popular in-circuit programmers/debuggers like the PICkit 4. The user interface to the PICkit is provided through MPLAB X, thus keeping my workflow lean and efficient. A very intriguing feature for field engineers is the ability for MPLAB X to send the firmware to a microSD card inserted into the PICKit and then program field devices on the go using just the PICkit.

Lastly, MPLAB X IDE is available natively for Windows, macOS, and Linux, which is great when working in the field, so I don’t have to carry around different laptops or fiddle with virtual machines.

The bottom line for me is this. Most embedded platform manufacturers offer microcontrollers and microprocessors with amazing features and performance specifications. But all the megahertz and megabytes in the world don’t matter if the hardware is difficult or cumbersome to program and debug. The Microchip ecosystem is definitely worth considering for your next project because MPLAB X IDE is both feature-rich and straightforward to use. That translates to faster turnaround times, better quality, and a satisfied client.  

Photo/imagery credits (in order of display)
Pichsakul - stock.adobe.com, Gorodenkoff - stock.adobe.com

MPLAB® X Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

MPLAB® X Integrated Development Environment (IDE)

Expandable, highly configurable software program incorporating powerful tools to enable designers to configure, develop, debug and qualify embedded designs for most Microchip MCUs and DSCs.

Learn more

Microchip MPLAB® X Integrated Development Environment (IDE) Infographic

Microchip MPLAB® X Integrated Development Environment (IDE) Infographic

Develop with Microchip Wireless and MCUs in a Single Integrated Development Environment

Image of open laptop with logos for MPLAB X IDE and MPLAB XPRESS IDE on the screen

Features and Components:

  • MPLAB XC Compiler - Award winning solution for software development
  • MPLAB IPE - Simple interface to quickly access programmer features
  • MPLAB Code Configurator - Add functionality without writing code
  • MPLAB Code Converge - Evaluate code coverage without the slow down
  • MPLAB Harmony - Port code between all 32-bit families


  • MPLAB PIC Kit 4 In-Circuit Debuggers - Most popular
  • MPLAB ICD4 - Most Robust
  • MPLAB SNAP In-Circuit Debugger - Most Affordable

Supported Products: