Comparing Those Ten Cent Microcontrollers

If you follow the world of microcontrollers, then you’ll probably be familiar with the most recent crop of ten cent parts. They bring power and features previously the preserve of much more expensive chips into the super-budget arena, and they’re appearing in plenty of projects on these pages.

If you’re not familiar with them it can seem daunting to decide which one to use, so to help you [Zach of All Trades] is comparing two of the more common ones. The CH32V003 with a RISC-V core and the PY32F002 with an ARM Cortex M0+ core are both pretty similar on paper, but which should you use?

The video below gives a run-down of each part along with some demonstrations before making its conclusions. The ARM-based part isn’t as quick as the RISC-V one but has a slight edge on peripherals, while the support is where a potential winner emerges in the shape of the CH32. That should be the last word, but for that the PY32 has the distance advantage over its rival of ready availability.

So this look at two families of cheap microcontrollers reveals the pros and cons of each, but in reality it provides an introduction to two sets of powerful chips for pennies.

As we’ve observed before, there are more chips to be found in this market.

Continue reading “Comparing Those Ten Cent Microcontrollers”

Puya PY32: The Cheapest Flash Microcontroller You Can Buy Is Actually An ARM Cortex-M0+

There’s a bit of a contest going on when it comes to which is the cheapest microcontroller, yet most of the really cheap ones have one big trade-off in that they have one-time programmable (OTP) memory, generally requiring the use of an (expensive) device emulator during development. This raises the question of what the cheapest reprogrammable MCU is, which [Jay Carlson] postulates is found in the Puya PY32 ARM Cortex-M0+ based series.

Although [Jay] has previously mentioned that these cheap OTP (like the 3-cent Padauk PMS150) MCUs make sense for large volume production) it’s also easy to see that for small volumes and for hobbyists it’s much easier and cheaper to just reflash the firmware in the same cheap MCU rather than using an expensive in-circuit emulator. This is where the Puya PY32 comes into play, with parts ranging from 8 cents a pop (basic PY32F002A) to $0.74 for the more full-featured models on LCSC, and packages ranging from a miniscule DFN, to LQFP and hand soldering friendly SOIC. Continue reading “Puya PY32: The Cheapest Flash Microcontroller You Can Buy Is Actually An ARM Cortex-M0+”