What Is a Microcontroller?

Mark M. Budnik
A free video tutorial from Mark M. Budnik
Brandt Professor of Engineering, Valparaiso University
4.6 instructor rating • 21 courses • 56,587 students

Lecture description

Students will be able to explain what a microcontroller is and what it is used for.

Learn more from the full course

Microcontrollers and the C Programming Language (MSP430)

Create C programs for a microcontroller using inputs/outputs, timers, analog-to-digital converters, comm ports, and LCD.

01:45:27 of on-demand video • Updated May 2020

  • Program microcontrollers with the C programming language.
  • Use timer peripherals
  • Use communication peripherals
  • Use analog-to-digital converter peripherals
  • Use a liquid crystal display (LCD)
  • Use the MSP430 to develop embedded systems
English [Auto] So what does a micro controller a micro controller is a type of integrated circuit or a computer chip. For most electronic devices including things like phones and smart watches cars and toys. However unlike other types of computer chips microcontrollers are programmable. That is as a designer you can tell a micro controller what you wanted to do by giving a special set instructions with these instructions microcontrollers can serve as the brains of electronic devices telling device how to behave. For example consider a thermostat the microcontroller brain of the thermostat. Let instructions telling it to monitor the temperature of a house or room temperature becomes too hot or too cold. The micro-controller bring the thermostat will know that it should react by turning on or off some type of output. Perhaps a fan an air conditioner or a furnace. What to my controllers looks like like other computer chips. Microcontrollers are found in black plastic packages generally smaller than the size of a coin. They will have small metal pins or connections sticking out of the black packages to connect to the outside world. They do come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Each designed to optimize the size ease of handling or number of pins or connections to the outside world. Regardless of what they look like just remember that microcontrollers are programmable computer chips that actually the brains of electronic devices. Next let's take a look at electronic devices control them my controllers and why they're often given the special name of embedded systems. Thanks for watching.