Tag Archives: 8-bit Microcontroller

Mastering the SiLabs C8051 Microcontroller

In a world where upgrades and advancements are constant, it is easy to overlook older technology in favour of newer, more advanced options. However, the case of 8051 microcontrollers defies this trend. Despite being considered relics of the past, there is still a significant demand for these microcontrollers. Manufacturers have revitalized the proven 8051 architecture by incorporating modern features such as ADCs and communication modules, transforming them into powerful, reliable and versatile devices.

Silicon Laboratories (SiLabs) is an American semiconductor-manufacturing company, similar to Microchip and STMicroelectronics. They are renowned for producing a wide range of semiconductor components, including both 8 and 32-bit microcontrollers. Notably, SiLabs is highly regarded for its RF chips and USB-Serial converters such as CP2102.

In terms of their 8-bit MCU product line-up, SiLabs offers microcontrollers based on the well-established 8051 architecture. However, their MCUs go beyond being simple, traditional 8051 devices. Like other manufacturers like Nuvoton and STC, SiLabs enhances their MCUs with additional modern hardware components such as DACs and communication peripherals.

SiLabs C8051 microcontrollers are recognized for their good performance, reliability, and scalability. They cater to the evolving needs of the embedded systems industry, whether it’s in the realm of consumer electronics, industrial automation, or smart home applications. These microcontrollers serve as a solid foundation for various projects, providing developers with a dependable and flexible platform.

Making a SPL dB Meter

In the 1980s, there was no internet as like today and so the sources of entertainment were televisions, radios and cassette players. When I was a kid, we had an audio cassette player. We used it to play songs but my imagination was always fixed to its VU meter display with its fancy readings as shown below. It changed with the volume of the speakers and matched rhythmically with the sound coming out of it. During my engineering career, I got to know about the Decibel scale and sound pressure measurement. It soon became a goal for me to design an audio dB meter and recreate my child memories. In this tutorial, I will show how to make a dB meter that is accurate enough for general uses.

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Exploring STC 8051 Microcontrollers

8051 microcontrollers are the first-generation microcontrollers that sparked the modern embedded-system era and established the basic concepts for almost all microcontrollers. In the early 1980s, 8051 microcontrollers were first introduced by Intel. Later other manufacturers like Philips (NXP), Atmel (now Microchip), Silicon Labs, Maxim, etc took the 8051 architecture and introduced their variants of 8051s. Today there are hundreds of such companies which still manufactures this old school legendary micro. of them have even added more features like ADCs, communication peripherals like SPI and I2C, etc that were not originally incepted or integrated. There are even some manufacturers who produce micros under their naming convention/branding while maintaining the basic architecture. Recently I covered an article about Nuvoton N76E003 here. It is based on such ideas. STC (not to be confused with STMicroelectronics) is a Chinese semiconductor manufacturer that operates in the same way as Nuvoton. STC took the model of 8051 just like other manufacturers and upgraded it to new levels by implementing some vital upgrades, enhancements and additions. It also manufactures standard 8051s which are designed to fit in place of any other 8051s from any manufacturer. At present STC has several different variants of 8051s, ranging from standard 40 pin regular DIP 8051s to tiny 8-pin variants. Some are shown below.


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