Best Criteria to choose microcontroller for project

In this article you will learn, What is the best criterion to choose microcontroller for microcontroller based projects? How to choose microcontroller for specific applications based microcontroller projects? There are many types of microcontrollers available in market like 8-bit microcontroller, 16 bit microcontroller, 24 bit microcontroller and 32 bit microcontrollers. Four major companies microcontrollers are mostly used in microcontrollers based project. They are Intel’s 8051 microcontroller, Zilog’s Z8, AVR microcontrollers and PIC16 microcontrollers by microchip. All these microcontrollers have unique instruction set, unique architecture, registers etc. All these microcontrollers are different from each other. Due to difference in instruction sets, program written for one microcontroller will not run on other microcontroller.

Main Features to choose microcontroller

Followings are the main point to consider before choosing a microcontroller for projects. To choose microcontroller one should consider following points :

  1. microcontroller should meet the computing requirement like speed of processing, ability of handle multiple tasks efficiently and effectively.
  2. Cost also plays an important role to choose microcontroller. Because cost of per unit of each microcontroller also plays an important role in cost of product.
  3. Software availability should be considered while choosing microcontroller.  Software tools like compilers, assemblers and simulators should be easily available.
  4. Help resources should be available from manufacturer.
  5. Online source code libraries and help formus should also available.
  6. How many tasks you need to perform? Either you are performing multiple tasks or single task.

12 step to choose microcontroller

To choose microcontroller for a real life product or microcontroller based project is very critical task. There are many technical features to consider while selecting a microcontroller. Before starting a project which needs microcontroller, one should work on technical aspects as well as cost of microcontroller per unit. Following steps will help you to choose microcontroller for specific applications.

  1. You should make a list of hardware’s, you need to connect with microcontroller. How much external peripherals you want to connect with microcontroller. For example how many digital and analog sensors you are using in your project? How many output devices you are using like speakers, relays, Liquid crystal display and LED’s etc. It will give you idea of input and output ports you required for microcontroller. For example you need 5 sensor and 5 LED’s in your project, its mean you will need 5 input ports with analog to digital converter. Because sensors usually give analog output. For 5 LED’s you will need 5 output ports. So total you will need 10 input/output . Similarly you can decide how many ports you need of microcontroller for your required project.
  2. If you want to transfer data from microcontroller to another microcontroller or any other device, you must need communication ports. you can either use serial communication or parallel communication. you can use either TX/RX based serial communication. USB port can also be used for parallel communication.
  3. Similarly you may need of PWM ports, UART, SPI and USB ports. It depends on your requirement.
  4. you should check what is the highest speed microcontroller can support. How much fast you want to perform tasks in  your project. So you should consider processing speed of microcontroller by checking highest operating frequency of microcontroller.
  5. What is the packaging of microcontroller? Either  it is in DIP package or QFP package? Which one you prefer?
  6. What should be the minimum and maximum power consumption of microcontroller?
  7. Size of RAM and ROM in microcontroller. what would be the size of program you are going to burn in microcontroller? Because program stores in ROM.
  8. How many timers and counters required for project.
  9. How many number of general purpose input/output ports are required.
  10. What is cost per unit of microcontroller. This is most important factor while designing real life products using microcontroller.
  11. How easily resources are available for selected microcontroller
  12. How easily microcontroller will be available in large quantity in future. If you are going to design a real life product using microcontroller, you must need it in large quantity. Unavailability in large quantity make your efforts useless.

So these are the most important step to choose microcontroller for industrial and students projects. If you think you know about more point to consider before choosing microcontroller, share with us in comments.


  1. Rohit sharma May 27, 2015
    • BILAL Malik May 27, 2015
  2. Avajara June 18, 2016

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