Chapter 2. What Is a Microcontroller?

A microcontroller is a small, self-contained computer. Your PC, and possibly your phone, might have many discrete components—RAM, nonvolatile memory like hard disks or SSDs, oscillators, and power supplies. Most microcontrollers, on the other hand, have everything they need on one piece of silicon: RAM, flash memory, oscillators, and even voltage regulators (if needed). You can get many microcontrollers to work just by connecting them straight to a battery of the correct voltage.

The two types of processor are getting increasingly blurred. Microcontrollers can now be faster than desktop computers were 20 years ago, and the SoC (System on Chip) processors in devices like mobile phones have more and more components ...

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