What Is A Microprocessor?

Before I answer your question of what a microprocessor is, let me ask you this question first. Have you ever used an electronic gadget such as a mobile phone, a calculator or a computer?

If you answered yes to any of these, then you have already used a microprocessor! Because microprocessor is at the core of each one of these devices. It is what is running these devices!

So what is a microprocessor?

A microprocessor in simple terms can be seen as just a tiny little electrical circuit system. It takes in one or more electrical voltages as input and in turn produces one or more electrical voltage signals as output. You can then use these output electrical signals to control external devices.

Now that sounds like just about any other electrical circuits then, right? Well, not really! Because a microprocessor is not your ordinary electrical circuit. But instead, it is an electrical circuit that you can program to make it behave differently!

So what does that mean? It means that you can make a microprocessor do different thing at different times. And all you have to do to achieve this is to program it differently!

You cannot do that with any electrical circuit right? That is the main difference between a microprocessor and any other electrical circuit! That it is programmable!

So what does that mean? It means that you can take two or more microprocessors and program it to behave differently!

Alright, if you now got an idea of what a microprocessor does, let us now see how it looks like!

How does a microprocessor look like?

Thanks to advancing technology, a microprocessor circuit has been made so small that you can’t just connect it to external devices by hand. So to facilitate this, a microprocessor circuit is put inside a plastic case and pins are pulled out of its input and output connection points. So using these pins, you will be able to connect the microprocessor to external devices.

Here is how a microprocessor looks like with its plastic casing and connector pins.

A Texas Instruments Microprocessor IC chip
A Texas Instruments Microprocessor IC chip

So as you can see from the pic above of a TI microprocessor chip, there are a number of input and output pins present in it.

To know what each of these input does and what voltage it works at, we will need to take a look at it’s Datasheet.

So that’s it. That should give you a gist of what a microprocessor looks like. We will go more in depth on how a microprocessor works in the future articles. But this should hopefully be now be a good starting point for you to start exploring more about it.

But if there is something that is not clear or you have any more questions about it, do not hesitate to ask. I will be more than happy to help.

So with that I will end this article here. See you around! 🙂

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