For users of advance MCUs like the XMega it is not necessary to tell what an analog-to-digital converter (ADC) is or what it does. I assume this is not the first family of microcontroller they are dealing with. Unlike the ADCs of other microcontroller the ADC of XMega devices is a highly complex tool. The level of complexity is so much that without understanding every bits-and-pieces of this piece of hardware a user won’t enjoy its absolute power. XMega ADC is also the most confusing hardware as it is not like other MCU ADCs. We will be dealing with ATXMega32A4U and it has only one ADC block, named ADCA but some other XMega devices like the XMega128A1 have more than one ADC block – ADCA and ADCB. By the way the XMega reference manual provides a long literature on the ADC and I’m not willing to state everything.
A quick view of the ADC block diagram shows most of the internal arrangement.
Okay firstly the reason I wrote about the clock system instead of I/O ports or something else in this second post of the XMega series is simply because of the fact that without understanding clock configurations you won’t get what you want from your chip. Since XMega’s clock system is software-level configurable and complex at first, it makes itself the first priority module before anything else.
There are several clock sources that XMega micros can use as clock. These are both internal and external clock sources. As stated earlier, clocks are not set by fuse settings unlike traditional Mega AVRs, they are controlled by software and the outputs from these sources can be multiplied using the internal Phase Locked-Loop (PLL). Thus there’s a wide range of clocks available in the XMega and it’ll not be needed to shut down and reprogram the XMega just to change its clock – a great relief from meddling with fuse settings. Some port pins can also output the system clock frequency. Literally there’s no need to depend on external quartz crystals which are not available in all frequencies.