Recibe el nombre de controlador el dispositivo que se emplea para el gobierno de uno o varios procesos. Por ejemplo, el controlador que regula el funcionamiento de un horno dispone de un sensor que mide constantemente su temperatura interna y, cuando traspasa los límites prefijados, genera las señales adecuadas que accionan los efectores que intentan llevar el valor de la temperatura dentro delrango estipulado.
Un microcontrolador es un circuito integrado de alta escala de integración que incorpora la mayor parte de los elementos que configuran un controlador.
Un microcontrolador dispone normalmente de los siguientes componentes:
Procesador o UCP (Unidad Central de Proceso).
Memoria RAM para Contener los datos.
Memoria para el programa tipo ROM/PROM/EPROM.
Líneas de E/S para comunicarsecon el exterior.
Diversos módulos para el control de periféricos (temporizadores, Puertas Serie y Paralelo, CAD: Conversores Analógico/Digital, CDA: Conversores Digital/Analógico, etc.).
Generador de impulsos de reloj que sincronizan el funcionamiento de todo el sistema.
Los productos que para su regulación incorporan un microcontrolador disponen de las siguientes ventajas:
Aumento deprestaciones: un mayor control sobre un determinado elemento representa una mejora considerable en el mismo.
Aumento de la fiabilidad: al reemplazar el microcontrolador por un elevado número de elementos disminuye el riesgo de averías y se precisan menos ajustes.
Reducción del tamaño en el producto acabado: La integración del microcontrolador en un chip disminuye el volumen, la mano de obra y los stocks.Mayor flexibilidad: las características de control están programadas por lo que su modificación sólo necesita cambios en el programa de instrucciones.
El microcontrolador es en definitiva un circuito integrado que incluye todos los componentes de un computador. Debido a su reducido tamaño es posible montar el controlador en el propio dispositivo al que gobierna. En este caso el controlador recibe elnombre de controlador empotrado (embedded controller).
Aplicaciones de los microcontroladores.
Los microcontroladores están siendo empleados en multitud de sistemas presentes en nuestra vida diaria, como pueden ser juguetes, horno microondas, frigoríficos, televisores, computadoras, impresoras, módems, el sistema de arranque de nuestro coche, etc. Y otras aplicaciones con las que seguramente noestaremos tan familiarizados como instrumentación electrónica, control de sistemas en una nave espacial, etc. Una aplicación típica podría emplear varios microcontroladores para controlar pequeñas partes del sistema. Estos pequeños controladores podrían comunicarse entre ellos y con un procesador central, probablemente más potente, para compartir la información y coordinar sus acciones, como, dehecho, ocurre ya habitualmente en cualquier PC.
¿Qué microcontrolador emplear?
A la hora de escoger el microcontrolador a emplear en un diseño concreto hay que tener en cuenta multitud de factores, como la documentación y herramientas de desarrollo disponibles y su precio, la cantidad de fabricantes que lo producen y por supuesto las características del microcontrolador (tipo de memoria deprograma, número de temporizadores, interrupciones, etc.):
Aplicación. Antes de seleccionar un microcontrolador es imprescindible analizar los requisitos de la aplicación:
• Procesamiento de datos: puede ser necesario que el microcontrolador realice cálculos críticos en un tiempo limitado. En ese caso debemos asegurarnos de seleccionar un dispositivo suficientemente rápido para ello. Por otro lado, habráque tener en cuenta la precisión de los datos a manejar: si no es suficiente con un microcontrolador de 8 bits, puede ser necesario acudir a microcontroladores de 16 ó 32 bits, o incluso a hardware de coma flotante. Una alternativa más barata y quizá suficiente es usar librerías para manejar los datos de alta precisión. –
• Entrada Salida: para determinar las necesidades de Entrada/Salida del…

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