Microchip Debuts ROM PIC Microcontrollers with Flash Socket Compatibility

Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, today announced the availability of new complementary read-only-memory (ROM) PIC(R) microcontrollers in the PIC16 family. The PIC16CR73, PIC16CR74, PIC16CR76 and PIC16CR77 (PIC16CR7X) general-purpose ROM microcontrollers are the first in a new series of ROM microcontrollers in the PIC16 and PIC18 families from Microchip. The new microcontrollers provide the first seamlessly interchangeable options for Microchip’s popular PIC16F73, PIC16F74, PIC16F76 and PIC16F77 (PIC16F7X) Flash products. Manufacturers now have the option of switching between Flash and ROM memory types throughout development and production, which results in shorter time-to-market, reduced scrap and lower overall costs.

PIC16CR7X ROM PIC microcontroller PIC16CR7X ROM PIC microcontroller block diagram

“These ROM PIC microcontrollers bring powerful new options to high volume users of Microchip’s superior line of Flash PIC microcontrollers,” said Randy Drwinga, vice president of Microchip’s ROM Microcontroller and Memory Division. “With this complementary group of products, customers are given the flexibility they need in bringing their products to market quickly and cost effectively, without changing pinout, board layout, or feature set.”

The PIC16CR7X ROM PIC microcontrollers allow manufacturers to enjoy the cost-effectiveness of ROM for high volume production, while enjoying the flexibility and short lead times of Microchip’s Flash microcontrollers for development. Additionally, because of their interchangeability with Flash versions, the new ROM microcontrollers solve many challenges that high volume manufacturers face.

For example, one common challenge that manufacturers face is “scrap,” or surplus ROM stock leftover at the end of a production program. ROM can be cost effective for high volume applications, so many manufacturers purchase ROM. However, when production ramps down, their company experiences a negative financial impact due to excess inventory. With the Flash socket-compatibility of the PIC16CR7X ROM microcontrollers, manufacturers can run Flash during development and production ramp-up; run high volume with ROM; and then ramp-down in Flash. This eliminates the expense of leftover ROM stock at the end of production.

Another challenge that customers face with other manufacturers’ ROM microcontrollers is upside demand above their normal production rate. Typically, a customer’s ability to meet an upside in demand is dependent upon the manufacturing of additional ROMs, which can take many weeks. However, with Microchip’s PIC16CR7X devices, customers can obtain compatible Flash products rapidly, enabling quick, efficient satisfaction of virtually any magnitude of upside demand.

These new mask ROM PIC microcontrollers already contain the customer-specific code required for high volume, stable applications. This saves the customer programming costs, product handling, and production cycle time. The PIC16F7X Flash PIC microcontrollers remain ideal for development and flexibility. Their compatibility provides new options for Microchip’s customers.

Development Tools
The same development tools that serve existing Microchip Flash PIC microcontrollers support the ROM PIC microcontrollers. New tools do not need to be purchased or learned, further shortening time-to-market and reducing program costs. Applicable development tools include the MPLAB(R) Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and MPLAB In Circuit Debugger (ICD) 2 from Microchip. Available free from Microchip’s website, the MPLAB IDE (Part # SW007002) enables users to edit, compile and debug from a single user interface. The MPLAB ICD 2 (Part # DV164005) is a low-cost, real-time debugger and programmer available for $159.99 online.

Pricing and Availability
The PIC16CR7X ROM microcontrollers are available today in 28-pin DIP, SOIC, SSOP, or QFN packages, 40-pin PDIP and PLCC packages, and a 44-pin QFP package option. For pricing or additional information, please contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip.

Microchip Customer Support
Microchip is committed to supporting its customers by helping design engineers develop products faster and more efficiently. Customers can access four main service areas online. The Support area provides a fast way to get questions answered; the Sample area offers free evaluation samples of any Microchip device; microchipDIRECT provides 24-hour pricing, ordering, inventory and credit for convenient purchasing of all Microchip devices and development tools; finally, the Training area educates customers through webinars, sign-ups for local seminar and workshop courses, and information about the annual MASTERs events held throughout the world.

About Microchip Technology
Microchip Technology Inc. (NASDAQ: MCHP) is a leading provider of microcontroller and analog semiconductors, providing low-risk product development, lower total system cost and faster time to market for thousands of diverse customer applications worldwide. Headquartered in Chandler, Ariz., Microchip offers outstanding technical support along with dependable delivery and quality.

The Microchip name and logo, PIC, and MPLAB are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Inc. in the USA and other countries.