MCU suggestion, cheap/low power: read a sensor and communicate with master over RS485

Thread Starter


Joined Oct 19, 2018
I'm an Engineering undergrad and for our final year project we have multiple nodes that need to be able to read a sensor ( and communicate with a wireless gateway. The nodes/slaves won't be close together(they may be from a few feet to a few meters apart) which is why we were told that RS485 communication would be suitable for the serial communication and we're using serial communication, as opposed to BLE or Wifi communications, to save battery life on whichever MCU is chosen to read the sensor and communicate over RS485.

To be clear when I say node I mean MCU + sensor. When I say MCU, not sure if this is technically correct, I mean the whole development board not just a simple processor not connected to anything. The MCU we chose was the ESP8266 because they are easy to use with modern development environments and plenty of online examples. We were told this is an unacceptable choice because it is overkill in regards to power consumption and cost but we weren't told which MCU's might be a better choice.

Does anyone have any suggestions for a MCU that can take a reading from that sensor, a simple analog pin can read it or can read it serially also, and communicate over RS485 with our gateway(MSP‑EXP432P401R LaunchPad™ development kit We need something that is very cheap, consumes little power and hopefully is easy to program. That last part isn't nearly as important but it should be at least be programmable in C.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.


Joined Oct 2, 2009
Just about every MCU chip manufacturer has offerings that will do the job.
I suggest you select in the following order:

1) choose your programming language
2) choose the IDE platform
3) choose a manufacturer
4) choose the chip