The AVR® core combines a rich instruction set with 32 general purpose working registers. All the 32 registers are directly connected to the Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU), allowing two independent registers to be accessed in one single instruction executed in one clock cycle. The resulting architecture is more code efficient while achieving throughputs up to ten times faster than conventional CISC microcontrollers.

The ATmega8A provides the following features: 8 KB of In-System Programmable Flash with Read-While-Write capabilities, 512 B of EEPROM, 1 KB of SRAM, 23 general purpose I/O lines, 32 general purpose working registers, three flexible timer/counters with compare modes, internal and external interrupts, a serial programmable USART, one byte oriented two-wire serial interface, a 6-channel ADC (eight channels in TQFP and QFN/MLF packages) with 10-bit accuracy, a programmable Watchdog timer with internal oscillator, an SPI serial port, and five software selectable power saving modes. The Idle mode stops the CPU while allowing the SRAM, timer/counters, one SPI port, and interrupt system to continue functioning. The Power-down mode saves the register contents but freezes the oscillator, disabling all other chip functions until the next Interrupt or Hardware Reset. In Power-save mode, the asynchronous timer continues to run, allowing the user to maintain a timer base while the rest of the device is sleeping. The ADC Noise Reduction mode stops the CPU and all I/O modules except asynchronous timer and ADC, to minimize switching noise during ADC conversions. In Standby mode, the crystal/resonator oscillator is running while the rest of the device is sleeping. This allows very fast start-up combined with low-power consumption.

Microchip offers the QTouch library for embedding capacitive touch buttons, sliders and wheels functionality into AVR microcontrollers. The patented charge-transfer signal acquisition offers robust sensing and includes fully debounced reporting of touch keys and includes Adjacent Key SuppressionTM (AKSTM) technology for unambiguous detection of key events. The easy-to-use QTouch Composer allows you to explore, develop and debug your own touch applications.

The device is manufactured using Microchip’s high density nonvolatile memory technology. The on-chip ISP Flash allows the program memory to be reprogrammed In-System through an SPI serial interface, by a conventional nonvolatile memory programmer, or by an on-chip Boot program running on the AVR core. The Boot program can use any interface to download the application program in the Application Flash memory. Software in the Boot Flash section will continue to run while the Application Flash section is updated, providing true Read-While-Write operation. By combining an 8-bit RISC CPU with In-System Self-Programmable Flash on a monolithic chip, the ATmega8A is a powerful microcontroller that provides a highly flexible and cost effective solution to many embedded control applications.

The device is supported with a full suite of program and system development tools including: C Compilers, macro assemblers, program debugger/simulators, In-Circuit Emulators, and evaluation kit.