You made it to the last post in this series. Congratulations! You should have almost everything you need to get your smart thermostat application up and running, and you’ve learned how to tailor it to your application needs. In this last installment, I will summarize what you’ve learned so far and give you some tips and tricks on how to best choose a microcontroller (MCU) that fits your application needs so that you can put it all into practice.
The first six installments
Let’s quickly recapture the first six steps that led you here:
Now, let’s take a look at the heart of a smart thermostat: the MCU. During the course of this series you already got some hints on important MCU characteristics; this installment will guide you through the decision process.
Don’t choose what you can get – take what you need
To choose the right MCU for your application, it’s crucial to look at the system-level needs. Don’t get distracted by MCU features you could pick, but rather identify what you need for your application, making it easy to set up, cost-efficient and technically sophisticated.
System-level requirements can include the need for signal amplification (through operational amplifiers or programmable gain amplifiers), integrated analog-to-digital converters (ADCs), high processing power or memory footprint. You might also consider the needs for a small package and/or integrated communication modules. Your application will tell you what it is that you need (most). For many applications, there are trade-offs between two or more different requirements – for example, between high memory-footprint needs and form factor restrictions calling for a small package size.
Your decision points may include:
There may be more requirements, including device scalability, the software ecosystem and overall supplier support. Of course, this is also applicable to you if you are building your own application: You might consider any former experience with tools or devices that can help you to get started even faster. To make a decision, consider your requirements on the chip but also on the system level.
Get going now with the MSP430FR4133
Throughout this series, my co-author and I included device suggestions, like the MSP430FR2633 capacitive touch solution or MSP432™ wireless host MCU. Here is another: for a low cost single chip thermostat application, check out the MSP430FR4133, which comes with an integrated 10 Bit ADC, 16 kB of ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM), different serial communication channels and integrated liquid crystal display (LCD) drivers for your simple human machine interface (HMI) setup.
I hope that you learned a lot in this series and can’t wait to get your hands dirty. Check out other Texas Instruments blogs to learn about new ideas, tips, tricks and trends.
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