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Questionmicrocontrollers, car electronics frame Pin
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I think you can assume that any microcontroller is Turing complete. So in theory, any microcontroller can replace even the most huge supercomputers. And every computer of any intermediate rank.

But then again: In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there may be.

Microcontrollers tend to have a very short paper tape. Clock speeds may be measured in kHz; memory sizes in kilobytes. (Well, there are as well microcontrollers running at quite a few MHz and addressing gigabytes, but some of them could deserve being called millicontrollers ...).

Microcontrollers are plain CPUs, but often packed with a lot of I/O circuitry on the chip, and some RAM / ROM / Flash - maybe all that the CPU needs in typical applications. Frequently, all that is needed is integrated on the chip, and it may be referred to as a SoC - "System on Chip".

For the car: Anything that can be read as a digital signal can be read by a microcontroller. Many microcontrollers also have one or more analog-to-digital (A/D) converters on-chip, so the signal need not even be digital outside the chip (but the handling of the reading is always done after it has been digitized). Anything that can be controlled through a digital signal can be controlled - call it 'changed', if you prefer - by a microcontroller. Likewise, microcontrollers may have on-chip digital-to-analog (D/A) converters, for (car or other) components that require an analog control signal. In a modern car, lots of components are not manipulated directly by the driver. The driver sends a signal to a controller requesting it to take the necessary steps to obtain some desired result, whether to start the engine, operate the ABS breaking system, or flash the blinkers.

This goes for almost all modern electronics: Today you hardly ever turn a potentiometer or press a switch to make a current flow. You still have dials, but they only serve as signal generators for a processor (/microcontroller) that in turn sends the "real" control signal to the component, possibly after some checking, adjustments, or reshaping.

Most likely, the rich set of I/O facilities typically integrated into the microcontroller makes it far better suited to such control tasks (guess what has inspired its name!) than, say, the typical CPUs found in desktop computers. A microcontroller usually runs a fixed set of software functions, and perform a fixed set of tasks - you boot it up with the software it will need, and do not add any more later. Knowing the tasks it will run, you will know how powerful it has to be, and you select a microcontroller accordingly. For battery driven applications you may also select clock frequency accordingly - the lower the frequency, the longer the battery life.
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