Intel described the processor [in the datasheet as "a very high integration 16-bit microprocessor. It combines 15 - 20 of the most common microprocessor system components onto one chip while providing twice the performance of the standard 8086. The 80186 is object code compatible with the 8086/8088 microprocessors and adds 10 new instruction types to the 8086/8088 instruction set".
The series were generally intended for embedded systems, such as microcontrollers, and included features such as clock generator, interrupt controller, timers, wait state generator, DMA channels, and external chip select lines to reduce the number of chips required.
The 80186 would have been a natural successor to the 8086 in personal computers, but because its integrated hardware was incompatible with the hardware used in the original IBM PC, the Intel 80286 was used as the successor instead in the IBM PC/AT range.
Re-designed CMOS versions, the 80C186 and 80C188, were produced later with some enhancements such as DRAM refresh and a power-save mode, and a new corprocessor (the Intel 80C187) was available for the 80C186 that implemented the Intel 80387 instruction set (the 80C188 could not be interfaces to any Math Corporcessor).
These were pinout compactible with the NMOS 80186/80188 for non-numeric applications, since they could not be used with the Intel 8087.
The Intel 80C186XL and 80C188XL (released 1994, at 12, 20 and 25MHz) were described in the datasheet as Modular Core re-implementation of the 80C186 microprocessor. It offered higher speed and lower power consumption than the standard 80C186, but maintained functional and pinout compatibility.
The 80C186EA/80C188EA was the second member of the 80C186 modular core family and added two power management modes. Intel positioned the product as well-suited for a broad spectrum of embedded data control designs where power consumption is a concern, including those operated from batteries.
80C186EB/80C188EB and 80L186EB/80L188EB
Further derivatives, the 5V 80C186EB/80C188EB and 3V 80L186EB/80L188EB, were described as second generation CHMOS High-Integration microprocessor with STATIC CPU core, an enhanced Chip Select decode unit, two independent Serial Channels, I/O ports, and the capability of Idle or Powerdown low power modes.
80C186EC/80C188EC and 80L186EC/80L188EC
The EC range extended the integration still further - one of the highest integration members of the 186 Integrated Processor Family, according to the datasheet, again with 5V (80C186EC/80C188EC) and 3V (80L186EC/80L188EC) parts.
- Introducted 1982
- Frequencies: 6 - 25 MHz
- Technology: N Mos (CMOS for 80C186/80C188)
- Transistors: 55,000
- Instructions: 144
- Registers: 8x 8-bit, 8x 16-bit