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Microcomputer, Micro Computer Unit (MCU), and Microcontroller

Microcomputers, microcontrollers, or Micro Computer Units are MPU’s that include RAM and ROM on a single chip. The are often referred to as being a computer-on-a-chip. This on-board memory allows a very inexpensive computing solution. Where a computer with an MPU may have several chips on a printed circuit board, the MCU includes all of the functions in a single chip. The MCU was developed to provide computing power to automate machines. MCU’s are found in industrial robots/controllers, automobiles, vending machines, etc. Because MCU’s are often found in industrial control equipment, they are also referred to a microcontrollers. Essentially any application that required relatively simple logic and minimal storage was a candidate for an MCU. MCU production has far out numbered MPU production almost since day one. Examples: Intel 8048, TI TMS1000.