PIC (usually pronounced as "pick") is a family of microcontrollers made by Microchip Technology, derived from the PIC1650 originally developed by General Instrument's Microelectronics Division. The name PIC initially referred to Peripheral Interface Controller,
and is currently expanded as Programmable Intelligent Computer.
The first parts of the family were available in 1976; by 2013 the company had shipped more than twelve billion individual parts, used in a wide variety of embedded systems.
Early models of PIC had read-only memory (ROM) or field-programmable EPROM for program storage, some with provision for erasing memory. All current models use flash memory for program storage, and newer models allow the PIC to reprogram itself. Program memory and data memory are separated. Data memory is 8-bit, 16-bit, and, in latest models, 32-bit wide. Program instructions vary in bit-count by family of PIC, and may be 12, 14, 16, or 24 bits long. The instruction set also varies by model, with more powerful chips adding instructions for digital signal processing functions.
The hardware capabilities of PIC devices range from 6-pin SMD, 8-pin DIP chips up to 144-pin SMD chips, with discrete I/O pins, ADC and DAC modules, and communications ports such as UART, I2C, CAN, and even USB. Low-power and high-speed variations exist for many types.
The manufacturer supplies computer software for development known as MPLAB X, assemblers and C/C++ compilers, and programmer/debugger hardware under the MPLAB and PICKit series. Third party and some open-source tools are also available. Some parts have in-circuit programming capability; low-cost development programmers are available as well as high-production programmers.
PIC devices are popular with both industrial developers and hobbyists due to their low cost, wide availability, large user base, extensive collection of application notes, availability of low cost or free development tools, serial programming, and re-programmable flash-memory capability.
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