Many applications, such as toys or low cost consumer electronics items, require the lowest cost microcontroller. Tracking down the cheapest microcontroller can be a challenge, because of the multitude of manufacturers. Small I/O limited microcontrollers can be expanded in I/O capability by interfacing them with a serial shift register, such as a 74HC595, which only costs $14 cents in moderate quantity. Some chips can be bought as dies and then can be directly wire bound to a PCB with an epoxy covering. This further reduces costs, because the chip package can contribute up to near 50% of the cost.
|Part Number||Manufacturer||Cost Qty 1000||Notes|
|MSP430F2101||TI||$1.17||Very powerful 16 bit microcontroller, with low cost development tools, Comes in small 20 pin packages. Has an on board comparator which can be used to simulate an ADC, and a software UART. This is a great part!|
|PIC16F630||Microchip||$1.26||Decent processor and easy to use tools. 14 pin packages|
|PIC16F676||Microchip||$1.47||Similar to the PIC16F630, but with ADCs.|
|PIC10F200||Microchip||$0.61||Very cheep, and very small with 8 pin SOIC and 6 pin SOT-23 packages.|
|AT89C2051||Atmel||$1.05||20 pin package.|
|ATTiny11L||Atmel||$0.35||8 pin package, limited functionality but very cheep. Has low cost development tools.|