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SECTION II-1: A brief history of the PIC Micro-controller

SECTION  II-1: A brief history of the PIC micro-controller

In 1989, Microchip technology Corporation introduced an 8-bit micro-controller called the PIC, which stands for Peripheral Interface Controller. This micro-controller had small amounts of data RAM, a few Hundreds bytes of on-chip ROM for the program, one timer, and a few pins for I/O ports, all on a single chip with only 8 pins. A company that began with such a humble product became one of the leading suppliers of 8-bit micro-controllers in less than a decade. Microchip is the number one supplier of 8-bit  micro-controllers in the world. The introduction of the PIC16xxx, they have introduced an array of 8-bit micro-controllers too numerous to list here. They include the PIC families of 10xxx, 12xxx, 14xxx, 16xxx, 17xxx, and 18xxx. They are all 8-bit processors, meaning that the CPU can work on only 8-bits of data at a time. Data larger than 8-bits has to be broken into 8-bits pieces to be processed by the CPU. The PIC family not all 100% upwardly compatible in terms of software when going from one family to another family. e.g; The 12xxx/16xxx have 12-bit and 14-bit wide instructions, the PIC18xxx instructions is 16 bits wide with many new instructions.

To run program written for the PIC12xxx on a PIC18, we must recompile the program and possibly change some register locations before loading it into the PIC18.  The PIC18xxx family has the highest performance of all the families of 8-bit PIC  micro-controllers. The PIC18xxx is available in 18 to 80 pins packages makes it an ideal choice for new designs because it allows an easy migration to more powerful versions of the chip without losing software availability. At this time, no 8-pin version of the PIC18xxx exists, and that is the main reason to choose other family members of the 10xxx-16xxx if your design calls for a small package.

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