Datasheet Directories

32-Bit Microcontrollers (2020)

Written by Jeff Child

System Chips

Today’s 32-bit microcontrollers are practically everywhere, doing everything in the embedded space. Vendors continue to add more functionality, including advanced wireless connectivity, security, powerful motion control engines and more.

The term system-on-chip could arguably have been applied to 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) long before the term SoC ever emerged. For years, these MCUs have provided a mix of processing, memory and I/O on a single chip. And, as embedded systems have evolved, so too have 32-bit MCUs. The most sweeping trend in recent years has been the addition of wireless connectivity to these devices.

Driven mostly by the blossoming IoT phenomenon, today’s crop of MCUs includes many product offerings that include on-chip wireless connectivity. This has taken the form of support for Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Wi-Fi and other technologies. With MCUs embedded in systems across a wide diversity applications and industries, it’s hard to make any general statement about how they are used Aside from IoT, the leading MCU application areas include automotive, industrial systems, smart city, smart home, wearable devices and medical gear.

In an example of a 32-bit MCU application, the all-student Stanford Solar Car Project, from Stanford University, chose STMicrolectronics’ 32-bit STM32F4 MCUs for various applications in their solar car, Arctan. The Arctan was built to compete in the 2015 World Solar Challenge (Figure 1). That competition started in Darwin, Australia, crossed the Outback and ended 3,000km away in Adelaide one week later. In their Arctan vehicle, the Arm Cortex-M core-based STM32F4 MCUs monitored battery life and solar-panel efficiency and managed the electric motor and driver-control functions. According to ST, the Arctan was the fourth Stanford solar car with ST components. The STM32 MCUs optimize car performance based on real-time analysis of vehicle and environmental conditions.

FIGURE 1
The all-student Stanford Solar Car Project, from Stanford University, chose the 32-bit STM32F4 MCUs for various applications in their solar car, Arctan. The Arctan was built to compete in the 2015 World Solar Challenge. The MCUs monitored battery life and solar-panel efficiency and managed the electric motor and driver-control functions.

One of the most recent trends in 32-bit MCUs is the strategy of taking a particular functionally that used to be its own IC and combining it with a 32-bit MCU on one chip. One example is Infineon Technologies’ IMC301A-F064, a motion controller and an Arm Cortex-M0 MCU in one device. Each of the leading vendors have a variety of 32-bit MCU product lines in a myriad of versions. With that in mind, the MCUs in the product gallery displayed on the next couple of pages are a representative sampling the most recent MCU technologies available today. 

PUBLISHED IN CIRCUIT CELLAR MAGAZINE • APRIL 2020 #357 – Get a PDF of the issue


Add your product to this directory


Keep up-to-date with our FREE Weekly Newsletter!

Don't miss out on upcoming issues of Circuit Cellar.


Note: We’ve made the May 2020 issue of Circuit Cellar available as a free sample issue. In it, you’ll find a rich variety of the kinds of articles and information that exemplify a typical issue of the current magazine.

Would you like to write for Circuit Cellar? We are always accepting articles/posts from the technical community. Get in touch with us and let's discuss your ideas.
Former Editor-in-Chief at Circuit Cellar | Website | + posts

Jeff served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxGizmos.com and its sister publication, Circuit Cellar magazine 6/2017—3/2022. In nearly three decades of covering the embedded electronics and computing industry, Jeff has also held senior editorial positions at EE Times, Computer Design, Electronic Design, Embedded Systems Development, and COTS Journal. His knowledge spans a broad range of electronics and computing topics, including CPUs, MCUs, memory, storage, graphics, power supplies, software development, and real-time OSes.

Supporting Companies

Upcoming Events


Copyright © KCK Media Corp.
All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2022 KCK Media Corp.

32-Bit Microcontrollers (2020)

by Jeff Child time to read: 2 min