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MCU Design

MCU Overview

A Microcontroller Unit (MCU) is an integrated single-chip computer that combines a central processing unit (CPU), memory, input/output (I/O) interfaces, and various communication interfaces. MCUs are commonly used to control a wide range of electronic products, such as the devices in the rapidly developing Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, where they can perform functions like sensor detection, data collection, and data transmission to gateways. Due to their compact size and cost-effectiveness, MCUs play a crucial role in both industrial computers and consumer electronics, finding applications in various fields, such as industrial automation, robotics, smart manufacturing, and the gaming market. Depending on the specific application requirements, the market offers a variety of MCU options, ranging from high-performance multi-core processors to energy-efficient low-power processors.

MCU in Diverse Industrial Applications

Industrial Automation

For controlling and monitoring industrial equipment, robots, and production lines, MCUs can provide reliable real-time control and data acquisition capabilities. MCUs support complex industrial communication protocols, including Modbus, CAN, and EtherCAT, and they can fulfill the strict requirements of industrial settings, including resistance to vibration, high temperatures, and noise, to ensure stable system operation.


MCUs are widely utilized in robotics for tasks, such as motion control, sensor management, and communication functions. They enable complex drive circuits and algorithms, facilitating efficient processing substantial data volumes from diverse sensors. This capability empowers robots with enhanced functionality and performance by enabling intelligent decision-making and precise control.

Smart Manufacturing

As a key control unit, the MCU plays a pivotal role in smart manufacturing transformation, with capabilities to control factory equipment, machinery, and sensors, as well as collect various data from the production line. MCUs facilitate widely used industrial IoT communication protocols, including OPC UA and MQTT, to address the demanding needs of Industry 4.0 and smart factories by enabling high levels of automation and intelligence.

Gaming and Entertainment

In the gaming industry, MCUs are extensively used in the control systems of gaming consoles, controllers, and gaming machines, providing precise control and rapid responsiveness, while also supporting various input devices and multimedia outputs. This ensures stable and reliable operation of gaming equipment, ultimately enhancing improved device performance and user experience.

Factory Environment Monitoring

By connecting to various industrial sensors, such as temperature, humidity, pressure, and vibration, MCUs can assist in regularly collecting environmental data and uploading it to the main control system. Moreover, MCUs support configuring threshold values, enabling timely fault warnings, which in turn enhances real-time monitoring, and facilitates predictive maintenance in the industrial environment.

Equipment and Machinery Monitoring

By integrating with operation indicator lights, fault alarms, and other device status signals, MCUs can continuously monitor equipment operating conditions in real time, and report the data back to the main control system. In the event of a device fault, the MCU can promptly trigger an alarm, enabling maintenance personnel to respond quickly, thereby improving the reliability of equipment operation.

Power Supply Monitoring

In scenarios where primary and backup power supplies are being monitored, MCUs play a vital role that they verify status of the power supply status and swiftly switch between primary and backup sources when anomalies occur, ensuring uninterrupted power supply to the equipment. Additionally, MCUs can perform real-time monitoring of critical parameters such as voltage and current within the power supply system, and promptly detect any power supply abnormalities. This helps ensure stable operation of industrial equipment and systems, and prevent unexpected failures caused by power-related issues.

Security and Protection Monitoring

By connecting to security devices such as access control systems and surveillance cameras, MCUs can monitor for unauthorized intrusions, equipment malfunctions/failures, and other abnormal events in real time. When an anomaly is detected, the MCU activates an alarm and promptly report the information to the higher-level security management system, enabling the implementation of necessary countermeasures to safeguard the security and safe operation of the equipment and systems.

Portwell's MCU-based Chassis Intrusion Solution

Project Background

In the context of industrial computer systems, chassis intrusion is a critical task in ensuring the safe and reliable operation of the equipment. Historically, CPU’s limited capability to continuously detect chassis intrusion when the system is powered off has caused management inconveniences and insufficiency. To tackle this challenge, Portwell has designed and developed an innovative chassis intrusion solution based on MCU technology for its partners. This solution remains operational even when the system is powered off, ensuring uninterrupted chassis intrusion, and effectively safeguarding the security and uptime of industrial equipment.

Portwell's API (Application Programming Interface) Services

Portwell’s chassis intrusion solution utilizes a low-power MCU acting as an independent control unit. Equipped with specialized hardware peripherals, the MCU can directly interface with chassis switches and other sensing components enabling real-time detection of chassis intrusion. In battery-powered mode, Portwell’s R&D team has thoroughly optimized power-saving strategies. They have implemented various low-power modes to ensure the MCU can operate with minimal power consumption to extend battery life. Additionally, the team has meticulously designed the firmware, to ensure the MCU can perform the chassis intrusion tasks efficiently and reliably. To enhance the user/operator experience, Portwell has packaged the data transmission and processing functions into APIs, which support mainstream operating systems like Windows and Linux. Users/operators can directly access the required data through these APIs, without the need for in-depth research on MCUs and programming.

Portwell's Innovative Custom Design Solutions and R&D Services

Drawing on an innovative MCU-driven approach, Portwell has launched a robust chassis intrusion solution equipped with optimized functionality and high reliability. Not only can it continue detecting chassis intrusion when the system is powered off, but it also ensures extended battery life and operational uptime. In addition, it excels in terms of hardware interfaces and communication protocols, positioning it as an industry-leading solution. Portwell’s services go beyond the off-the-shelf solutions that we provide customized design services tailored to the unique needs and requirements of individual use case. Based on specific application scenarios, our team carefully selects the most suitable MCU models and further optimizes both hardware and software to ensure the final product precisely aligns with user requirements. This development project has garnered the trust of Portwell’s partners and stands as a significant achievement in the industrial computer field. Looking ahead, Portwell remains committed to customer-centric services and technology-driven innovations, DMS, continuously delivering innovative and specialized custom solutions.
Custom Design Solutions and R&D Services
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