Microchip logo
  • All
  • Products
  • Documents
  • Applications Notes

Head Unit

The head unit is the nucleus of the audio and information systems within a vehicle. It seamlessly connects devices and occupants to various forms of media visually and aurally. Not only an entertainment piece but with linkages to telematics systems and driver assist systems, the head unit becomes a key differentiating feature in a vehicle.

Innovative connectivity and Human-Machine Interface (HMI) solutions are needed as the number of required tasks that a head unit must encompass continues to increase. Being the leading supplier of infotainment connectivity and automotive touch screen solutions, Microchip provides you with the products and support you need to create state-of-the-art head unit systems.

Head Unit Block Diagram


INICnet™ Technology

INICnet™ technology simplifies automotive infotainment networking with support for Ethernet, audio, video and control over a single cable. INICnet can coexist with automotive Ethernet to seamlessly interface Internet Protocol (IP)-based data communications across vehicle domains, while providing efficient transport of audio and video data. INICnet does not require development and licensing of additional protocols or software stacks, reducing development costs, and keeping development on schedule. INICnet supports a variety of system management methodologies via IP, or a dedicated control message channel. Data rates of 50 Mbps on UTP or 150 Mbps on coax or optical cabling are supported.

  • OS81118 – Single-network port highly-integrated Intelligent Network Interface Controller (INIC)
  • OS81119 – Dual-network port highly-integrated Intelligent Network Interface Controller (INIC)

Companion and Power Management

To facilitate your design, we offer a variety of power management and companion devices, such as video codecs, that pair well with our INICnet technology allowing you to easily meet your telematics application needs.

  • OS85652 – High-performance MediaLB®-I/O port expander with DTCP
  • OS85654 – Serial MediaLB I/O port expander with DTCP
  • OS85621 – Video codec and MediaLB I/O port expander with DTCP
  • OS85623 – Video codec and MediaLB I/O port expander with DTCP
  • MPM85000 – ECU power management device

Ethernet Products

Since delivering the very first AEC-Q100-qualified Ethernet devices to the market back in 2008, Microchip has led the way in providing automotive-grade Ethernet controllers, switches, bridges and transceiver PHYs. With Ethernet solutions that range from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps, our portfolio enables many high-speed networking applications throughout the vehicle.

  • KSZ9031 – Gigabit Ethernet transceiver with power saving features
  • LAN88730 – 10/100 base-T/TX Ethernet transceiver for automotive applications
  • KSZ8851 – 10/100 base-T/TX Ethernet controller with generic 8/16/32-bit or SPI interface
  • LAN89730 – USB to 10/100 base-T/TX Ethernet bridge for automotive applications
  • KSZ8567 – 7-Port 10/100 AVB Ethernet switch
  • KSZ8895 – 5-Port 10/100 Ethernet switch with fiber support
  • LAN89730 – USB to 10/100 base-T/TX Ethernet bridge for automotive applications
  • LAN7801 – SuperSpeed USB 3.1 Gen 1 to 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet bridge

USB Hub Controllers

These highly-integrated devices incorporate leadership functionality including Multi-Host Endpoint Reflector, battery charging support for industry profiles, embedded 32-bit microcontroller for the implementation of USB IO bridging and USB Power Delivery. Our USB hub controllers include advanced USB features, like USB 2.0 Link Power Management and High-Speed Inter-Chip (HSIC) USB Electrical Specification Revision 1.0 for low power consumption.

  • USB4914 – USB 2.0 Hi-Speed Hub with unique Smart Hub features
  • USB84602 – USB 2.0 hub controller with 2 downstream ports
  • USB84604 – USB 2.0 hub controller with 4 downstream ports

CAN Transceivers

Microchip’s portfolio of CAN transceivers includes CAN 2.0, CAN-FD (Flexible Data-Rate), and CAN Partial Networking (PN) transceivers, and support the newest CAN standards, ISO 11898 2/5/6, ISO 11898-2:2016 and SAE J2962-2. Features include various wake-up functionalities and exceptional EMC performance even without a common-mode choke. Microchip also offers the industry’s first AEC-Q100 Grade-0 (150°C) qualified CAN transceiver family.

  • ATA6562 – High-speed CAN FD transceiver with Standby and Silent mode and WUP
  • MCP2561FD – High-speed CAN FD transceiver with Standby mode and SPLIT pin
  • ATA6570 – High-speed CAN FD transceiver with Partial Networking

LIN Transceivers

The Microchip lineup of LIN Transceiver products range from standalone LIN transceivers to fully integrated System in Packages (SIPs) that include a voltage regulator and a microcontroller. Our LIN transceivers are compliant with the industry-standard LIN bus specifications and are approved by the major global OEMs.

  • MCP2003B – Standalone 8-pin LIN transceiver
  • ATA663254 – LIN system basis chip including 5V voltage regulator and NRES-output
  • ATA663454 – LIN system basis chip including 5V voltage regulator, watchdog and high-side switch


To facilitate the design of embedded control systems, Microchip offers high-performance Arm® Cortex®-M0+/M4/M7 devices with easy-to-use development tools and simplified power configuration and setup. Our SAM Arm-based MCU’s offer scalability and many are qualified to the AEC-Q100 standard.

  • ATSAMV71N20 – 32-bit Arm Cortex-M7 MCU with USB, Ethernet, CAN-FD, and Media LB
  • ATSAME51N20A – 32-bit Arm Cortex-M4F MCUs with 1 Msps 12-bit ADC, QSPI, USB, Ethernet and PTC
  • ATSAMC21N18A – 5-Volt 32-Bit Arm Cortex M0+ MCU with CAN-FD

Serial EEPROMs

Microchip is a leading supplier of high-quality, robust serial EEPROMs, supporting I2C, SPI, microwire, and UNI/O bus types. Our EEPROMs are triple-tested to ensure the highest quality and reliability and feature endurance levels exceeding one million cycles and over 200 years of data retention.

  • AT25128B – 128 Kb SPI serial EEPROM
  • 24LC128 – 128 Kb I2C compatible 2-wire serial EEPROM
  • 93LC86C – 16 Kb microwire (3-wire) serial EEPROM with hardware selectable word size

Temperature Sensors

Microchip’s lineup of temperature sensors and switches comprise analog and digital outputs, giving you the flexibility you need for your design. Our automotive-grade temperature sensors are factory calibrated with up to +/-0.5°C accuracy over a temperature range of -40°C to 125°C. And with very small form factors, they provide an ideal solution for temperature sensing without consuming a significant amount of board space.

  • MCP9700A – Low-power linear active thermistor ICs, analog output
  • MCP9800 – 2-wire high-accuracy temperature sensor, digital output
  • MCP9504 – Temperature switch with selectable hysteresis

Voltage Regulators

Our basic power management solutions include several automotive-grade linear and switched voltage regulators. Linear regulators feature low-dropout voltages, ultra-low quiescent currents, wide input voltage ranges, load dump and reverse battery protection. Switching regulators support buck, boost, buck-boost and SEPIC designs from 100 mA to 12A output currents.

  • MAQ5281 – High-performance, low-dropout regulator, 25 mA, 120V, adjustable Vout from 1.27 to 5.5V
  • MCP1790 – 30V, 70 mA, load dump protected linear voltage regulator
  • MCP16311 – 30V, 1A PFM/PWM high-efficiency synchronous buck regulator
  • MCP16331 – 50V 1A non-synchronous buck regulator

MEMS Oscillators

Microchip’s MEMS oscillators are designed to meet the stringent requirements of the harsh automotive environment. With quality and performance advantages over crystal oscillators such as DPPM levels that are 10 times lower, shock tolerance 500 times higher and vibration tolerance 5 times higher, these MEMS oscillators are an excellent choice for automotive applications. Our leading-edge MEMS technology, advanced packaging, and innovative Phase-Locked Loop (PLL) design enables us to offer the most stable, reliable and robust oscillators in the industry. 

  • DSA1105 – Automotive low-jitter MEMS oscillator
  • DSA1125 – Automotive low-jitter MEMS oscillator
  • DSA2311 – Automotive MEMS clock generator

Touch Sensing

Microchip’s solutions for automotive touch sensing cover a wide range of 1D, 2D and 3D touch applications.

Buttons, sliders, proximity (1D): Turnkey solutions are available to quick time to market. More flexible 1D touch solutions are achievable with MCU-based solutions and touch libraries. Our solutions are proven to be robust and reliable in some of the most difficult conditions including: noise, humidity, temperature and water.

Touch pads and touch screens (2D): Our maXTouch® technology is capable of controlling small and large multi-touch pads and screens in harsh automotive environments. The ability to sense through gloves as well as tolerance to water and high noise levels are hallmarks of this technology.

Gesture control (3D): Gesture detection and motion tracking are achievable with Microchip’s patented GestIC® technology. Applications benefit from a low-cost, single-chip solution that only requires the usage of thin sensing electrodes.

  • ATMXT1189T-A – Automotive-grade touch screen controller for 13” screens
  • ATMXT224S-A - Automotive-grade touch screen controller for 4.3” screens
  • ATMXT336S-A - Automotive-grade touch screen controller for 7” screens
  • MGC3140 – Automotive-grade E-field based 3D tracking and gesture controller


Microchip’s Real-Time Clock/Calendar products track time using internal counters for seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years, along with days of the week. They also feature leap year compensation up to 2399. The devices are ideally suited for head units that display time and date.

  • MCP7940N – Battery-Backed I2C Real-Time Clock/Calendar with SRAM
  • MCP79412 – Battery-Backed I2C Real-Time Clock/Calendar with Pre-Programmed EUI-64™ MAC ID
  • MCP79510 – Battery-Backed SPI Real-Time Clock/Calendar
  • MCP795W22 – Enhanced Feature Battery-Backed SPI Real-Time Clock/Calendar with Pre-Programmed EUI-64™ MAC ID
Development Tools

The Automotive Networking Development Board is a low-cost modular development system for Microchip’s 8-bit, 16-bit, and 32-bit microcontrollers targeting CAN and LIN network related applications. The board supports devices using the 100 pin Plug-In Module (PIM) connector, has four Mikrobus™ sockets for MikroElectronika Click™ add-on boards and includes a PICtail™ Plus edge connector for backwards compatibility to PICtail Plus boards used with the Explorer 16 Development board.

The LIN Serial Analyzer development tool enables the user to monitor and communicate to a LIN (Local Interface Network) bus using a Personal Computer (PC). This is a powerful tool which can be used to send messages, monitor the bus traffic, perform errors checks and filter messages amongst many other features, allowing the user to develop and debug the system implementation.

The dsPIC33EV 5V CAN-LIN starter Kit features the dsPIC33EV256GM106 Digital Signal Controller (DSC) for automotive and motor control applications. The Starter Kit contains serial data ports for CAN, LIN and SENT, a self-contained USB programming/debug interface, and an expansion footprint for flexibility in application hardware development. This board allows users to explore three popular automotive and industrial serial data formats (CAN, LIN and SENT).


This kit (ATEVK-MXT225TDAT-A) is for the evaluation and development of Microchip maXTouch® applications using the ATMXT225TDAT touchscreen sensor IC.

The MGC3140 Emerald Development Kit builds a complete MGC3140 reference system for evaluation as well as the design-in of 3D gesture input sensing systems. It is based on Microchip's award winning GestIC® technology and enables true single chip 3D gesture detection.

The MAQ5280 eval board demonstrates the features of the MAQ5280, a high performance, linear regulator, offering a very low noise output with a very wide input voltage operating range, from 4.5V to 120V DC input voltage.

The Explorer 16/32 Development Kit is a flexible, convenient and ready to start development, demonstration and testing platform for 16-bit PIC24 MCUs, dsPIC® DSCs and 32-bit PIC32 MCUs. The board accepts Processor Plug-In Modules (PIM) and hardware expansion is possible through the use of PICtail™ Plus daughter cards and mikroBUS™ accessory boards.

The PIC32MZ Embedded Connectivity with Floating Point Unit (EF) Family Starter Kit (DM320007 for non-Crypto development or DM320007-C for crypto development) provides a low-cost method for the development and testing of USBand Ethernet-based applications with PIC32MZ EF family devices.

Development board for ATA6612C, ATA6613C and ATA6614Q ICs. It is designed to accelerate programming, prototyping and testing of new LIN designs.

The CryptoAutomotive™ In-vehicle Network (IVN) Trust Anchor/Border Security Device (TA/BSD) development kit enables Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier 1 customers to add comprehensive security to networked vehicle systems with minimal impact on current designs while providing the highest level of protection against threats. The only security-specific automotive tool in the industry, the CryptoAutomotive TA/BSD development kit together with a host MCU emulates a node in an automotive network and provides system designers with an intuitive starting point for implementing security.

The TimeFlash 2 programmer allows users to program Microchip’s field programmable oscillators to a custom frequency in second enabling fast prototyping and testing. This tool, now in its second generation, has the ability to measure frequency accuracy and power consumption of standard oscillators, regardless of vendor, making it a valuable lab tool for engineers. Microchip’s oscillators are available in industry standard packages that are drop-in replacements to standard crystal oscillators.