Intel 80186

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KL Intel i186.jpg
Production: 1982 to 2007
Producer: Intel
Processor clock: 8 MHz
Instruction set : x86 (16 bit)

The Intel 80186 and Intel 80188 are further developments of the 8086 and 8088 CPUs from Intel from 1982. The differences between the two CPUs are analogous to the differences between 8086 and 8088 : The 80186 has an external 16-bit data bus , the 80188 only has an 8-bit data bus. In contrast to the other processors of the x86 series , both were rarely used in PCs, as Intel had integrated functions into the chip that are more typical of a microcontroller and that offered no advantage when building an IBM-compatible PC.


Intel 80186 : Function Block Diagram

In addition to a CPU core that corresponded to the real-mode part of the 80286 , the 8018x offered

  • Clock generator
  • three timers / counters
  • DMA control with two channels
  • Interrupt control
  • programmable chip select generation
  • Refresh generator for DRAM

Calculator with 80186

Siemens PC-D
HP 200LX
Advertisement in Byte magazine (July 1984) for the Tandy 2000

Nevertheless, there were manufacturers who implemented PCs with these CPUs: The Siemens PC-D , released in 1984 , the first DOS PC from Siemens, was delivered with MS-DOS in version 2.11. It was created by omitting an external memory management ( MMU ) from the Sinix Siemens PC-X workstation . All models had an 80186 CPU clocked at 8 MHz. Other desktop computers with 80186 CPU were:

  • Apricot Portable (UK)
  • Goupil G4 (France)
  • HP 200LX (USA)
  • IBS Ultraframe (USA) - S100 based system with several 80186 boards for up to 32 users
  • MAD Computer (USA)
  • MITAC Paragon (USA)
  • Philips YES (Austria)
  • RM Nimbus (England)
  • Tandy 2000 (USA)
  • Telenova Compis (Sweden)
  • Triumph-Adler Alphatronic P50 / P60 (Germany)
  • Unisys ICON (Canada)

Compis, Nimbus and ICON were special developments for school use.

operation area

The main field of application of the 80186/88 processor was and is the embedded market, for which both CPUs are actually predestined due to the integration of a timer and an interrupt controller . Programs for the 80186/88 can easily be programmed with the development tools commonly used under MS-DOS, for example from Borland ; an advantage that is one of the reasons why 80186/88 compatible processors are so popular and are even used today. For example, the Am186 from AMD based on the 80186 is still available (as of May 2009).

Nevertheless, 80186-compatible embedded modules are still available today, as they are considerably more energy-efficient than comparable modules, for example based on the Pentium, due to the lower complexity of the CPU core . There are even 80186 IP cores that make it possible to load the logical description of an 80186 onto an FPGA module and to add the additional external functions required for the application. And so to this day, 80186/88 compatible processors work in many household appliances, industrial controls, laboratory and measuring devices and even certain Airbus aircraft.

The processors of the NEC V20 family also had an 80186-compatible instruction set.


Web links

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