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Most electronic devices you use today have a microcontroller in them of some form or another. Microcontrollers are simple to use with simple sensors and output devices, plus they may communicate with desktop computers only as well. When you are building some form of customized sensor or output device, utilizing a microcontroller is a fantastic way to separate the customized part of your project from the part that is best done on a personal computer. They are also handy when you are designing a simple interactive device that does not need the full power of a personal computer but does need to be smaller or cheaper.

Like every other computer, a microcontroller has to have input ports to detect action by a user, and output ports through which it expresses the results of its programs. The pins sticking out from the microcontrollers are the outputs and inputs. Other devices, such as light, heat, or motion detectors, motors, flashlights, sound devices, are attached to allow the microcontroller to be sensitive to the world and to express itself.

There are different levels of microcontrollers and microcontroller systems. Some of them are very small, with the chip size of the device to which you've to connect your very own electronics. Others are larger, consisting of several components and ports for input-output, ready to communicate in the right to other devices. High-level microcontrollers may have a simple hardware interface to other devices and a more straightforward programming language.

They'll also usually be the most expensive of microcontrollers because someone else has done the work for you. Higher-level controllers must be attached to a personal computer via a serial or USB to operate. Lower-level microcontrollers will require more work, both in terms of hardware connections, and programming.

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