Embedded Controller Hardware Design

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Overview

Ken Arnold is an experienced embedded systems designer and president of HiTech Equipment, Inc., an embedded systems design firm located in San Diego, California. He also teaches courses in embedded hardware and software design at the University of California-San Diego.

Gives the reader an integrated hardware/software approach to embedded controller design
Stresses a "worst case" design approach for the harsh environments in which embedded systems are often used
Includes design examples to make important concepts come alive

Audience: Software and hardware engineers designing systems and software using embedded microcontrollers. This book will be especially valuable for software engineers seeking to understand how embedded hardware impacts the code they write for embedded systems.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The book... is a great introduction to low-end, controller design." ELECTRONIC DESIGN

Embedded Controller Hardware Design targets one of the most popular embedded controllers around, the 8051. The book, written by Ken Arnold for LLH Technology Publishing, is a great introduction to low-end, controller design, especially for developers fresh out of college or just off other projects that are used to 32-bit systems running Windows and Linux. Experienced 8-bit embedded designers will not find the book as useful unless they're unfamiliar with the 8051 and need to use it in a new project.

The coverage ranges from a novice level introduction of electronics that touches on resistors and tristate buffers to more advanced topics like bus current limitations and using 8-bit microcontrollers and PLDs (programmable logic devices). The bulk of the book concentrates on important detail like bus loading, timing, and the use of I/O, DMA, and interrupts.

The software aspects represent a key part of the book but they're not in the majority, so grab an 8051 programming book for software design. Still, there's enough software to touch on the aspects that will affect hardware designs, such as interrupt routine timing and synchronization.

The 8051 architecture is discussed in detail. It's suitable for consumption by novices and handy as a quick reference as well. Examples are sprinkled throughout. The book is designed to be used with 8031SDK, which is available online. A CD-ROM, included with the book, offers an eBook version of the text and software samples.

Bill Wong, Embedded Technologies/Software Editor, Electronic Design

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781878707529
  • Publisher: Elsevier Science
  • Publication date: 1/15/2001
  • Series: Embedded Technology Series
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Pages: 246
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ken Arnold is the founder and former president of Paragon Engineering Services, Houston, Texas. He has more that 40 years of experience in the operations and project management. He is actively involved in production facility design. He has served on numerous SPE, API, and government advisory committees as an expert on oil handling, produced-water treating, and safety aspects producing operations.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1: Review of Electronics Fundamentals

Why are microprocessors and microcontrollers designed into so many different devices? While there are many dry and practical reasons, I suspect one of the strongest motivations for using a microprocessor is simply that it is a lot more fun.

Over the past few decades of the so-called "computer revolution," I have seen many products and projects that could have been handled without resorting to a microprocessor. Yet there is always a tendency to rationalize the choice of a micro-based solution by economic or technical arguments to support the decision. In fact, most of the really excellent products were successful to a great extent because they were fun to develop. Many of the best product ideas have occurred when someone was "playing" with something they were interested in. In my own experience, I have found learning something new is much easier and more effective when I am "just playing around" rather than trying to learn in a structured way or against a deadline. Studies of various educational methods also indicate "coached exploration" is more effective than the traditional methods. These and other observations lead me to the conclusion that the best way to learn about a microcontroller is by "playing" with one. No book-no matter how well written-can possibly motivate and educate you as well as building and playing with a microcontroller. The best way to learn the concepts in this book is to build a simple microcontroller. Even if it is capable of nothing more than blinking a light, it will provide a concrete example of the microcontroller as a tool that can be fun to use. To ease this effort, a companion system development kit(SDK), is available to accompany this text. It incorporates the functions of a stand-alone single board computer (SBC), and an in-circuit emulator (ICE). It also serves as a sample embedded controller design. The design is included on the CD-ROM and web site for this book, so anyone can reproduce and use it as a learning tool. By applying the guidelines set forth in this book to real world hardware, you can learn to design reliable embedded hardware into other products. Information on obtaining the SDK can be found in the Preface.

Objectives

Several different skills are required for successful embedded hardware design. Here are some of the things you will know how to do when you finish this book:

  • Interpret design requirements for the design of an embedded controller.
  • Read and understand the manufacturer's specification sheet.
  • Select appropriate ICs for the design.
  • Interface the CPU, memory, and 1/O devices to a common bus.
  • Design simple I/O (input/output) interfaces.
  • Define the decoding and interconnection of the major components.
  • Perform a worst-case analysis of the timing and loading of all signals.
  • Understand the software development cycle for a microcontroller.
  • Debug and test the hardware and software designs.
These tasks represent the major skills required in the successful application of an embedded micro. In addition, other abilities-such as the design and implementation of simple user programmable logic-will be covered as required to support the proficient application of the technology.

Embedded Microcomputer Applications

There is an incredible diversity of applications for embedded processors. Most people are aware of the highly visible applications, but there are many less apparent uses. Many of the projects my students have chosen turned out to be of practical use in their work. However, they have covered the entire range from the economically practical to the blatantly absurd. One practical example was the use of a microprocessor to monitor and control the ratio of ingredients used in mixing concrete. About a year after the student implemented the system, he wrote to inform me that the system had saved his company between two and three million dollars a year by reducing the number of "bad batches" of concrete that had to be jack hammered out and replaced. Another example was that of a student who suspended a ball by airflow generated by a fan and provided closed loop control of the ball's position with the microprocessor. The only thing that many of the student projects really had in common was the use of a microcontroller as a tool.

Some of the actual commercial applications of embedded computer controls that the author has been directly involved with include:

  • A belt measures a person's heart rate and respiration that signals an alarm when safe limits are exceeded. A radio signal is then transmitted to a microcontroller in a pocket pager to display the type of problem and the identity of the belt.
  • An environmental system controls the heating ventilating and air conditioning in one or more large buildings to minimize peak energy demands.
  • A system that measures and controls the process of etching away the unwanted portions of material from the surface of an integrated circuit being manufactured.
  • The fare collection system used to monitor and control entry to a rapid transit system based on the account balance stored on the magnetic stripe on a card.
  • Determination of exact geographic position on the earth by measuring the time of arrival of radio signals received from navigational beacons.
  • An intelligent phone that receives radio signals from smoke alarms, intrusion sensors, and panic switches to alert a central monitoring station to potential emergency situations.
  • A fuel control system that monitors and controls the flow of fuel to a turbine jet engine.
Selecting a particular processor for a given application is usually a function of the designer's familiarity with a particular architecture. While there are many variations in the details and specific features, there are two general categories of devices: microprocessors and microcontrollers. The key difference between a microprocessor and a microcontroller is that a microprocessor contains only a central processing unit (CPU) while a microcontroller has memory and 1/O on the chip in addition to a CPU. Microcontrollers are generally used for dedicated tasks. Microcomputer is a general term that applies to complete computer systems implemented with either a microprocessor or microcontroller...
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Table of Contents

Preface; Review of electronics fundamentals; Microcontroller concepts; Worst-case timing; Loading, analysis, and design; Memory technologies and interfacing; CPU BUS interface and timing; Detailed design example; Programmable logic devices; BASIC I/O interfaces; Other interfaces and BUS cycles; Other useful stuff; Other interfaces; Index

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