Microcontrollers are small, computer-on-a-chip devices that can be programmed to control a variety of electronic devices. They typically include a microprocessor, memory, and input/output (I/O) peripherals on a single integrated circuit. They are commonly used in embedded systems, such as appliances, automobiles, and industrial control systems, where a small, low-power device is needed to perform simple control tasks.
AVR and PIC are both types of microcontrollers, but they are developed by different companies and have some key differences.
AVR is a family of microcontrollers developed by Atmel (now owned by Microchip). AVR microcontrollers are known for their small size, low power consumption, and high performance. They use a RISC instruction set and have a variety of peripherals such as timers, ADCs and serial communication interfaces. They are widely used in hobby projects and small scale industries because of the low cost and ease of use with C language.
PIC, on the other hand, stands for Peripheral Interface Controller and is a family of microcontrollers developed by Microchip Technology. PIC microcontrollers are widely used in industrial control systems, automotive applications and household appliances because of its flexibility and power efficiency. They are typically programmed in assembly language and have a Harvard architecture.
In short, AVR is generally considered to be easier to use and better suited for hobby projects and small-scale applications, while PICs are generally more powerful and better suited for industrial and commercial applications.
Programming a microcontroller typically involves the following steps:
Note: the steps may vary depending on the microcontroller and the programming software you are using. Also there are some microcontroller that could be programmed over the air with WiFi or Bluetooth connections.