Over a week ago, I got a notice that Texas Instruments (TI) is giving away a 50% coupon for MSP430_FRAM related devices. Without hesitation ordered their MSP-EXP430FR5739 TI experimenters board that price went down to $14.50, including free shipping. With all functionality and onboard peripherals included – it’s a giveaway. The experimenter’s board came in an excellent complex paper package that feels really solid and professional in hands.
For all the home hobbyists, you knew that dealing with microcontrollers is a fun thing. Once you have been hooked with it, there was no turning back. Do you know that a microcontroller’s GPIO (General-purpose input/output) pins cannot handle higher power requirements? An LED was easy enough, but how about the large power items such as light bulbs, toaster ovens or blenders that required more circuitry? In this case, a relay is wanted in this situation. However, building a 5V controllable power outlet can be handy for many applications; thus a relay is a perfect choice for this project! For your information, a relay is a large mechanical switch, where the switch is toggled on or off by energizing a coil constantly. By applying the relay in the project, it will ensure your safety. Let’s take an example. If you have 120VAC running through the paddles, you don’t have to worry that 120VAC will sneak back into and vaporise your microcontroller connected to the coil, as the paddles are capable of carrying substantial currents! Furthermore, you can use the relay to control a DC motor or an AC lamp if you want to.
Microcontrollers are widely used in nowadays electronic and modern devices. You can track them whether for personal use for fun or even for serious and confidential applications by banks, security services, government authority, or the military field. Most of the algorithm that uploaded into its memory is well written in Assembler. Many villains out there want to hack or attack the microcontroller, maybe just for fun or for their own purposes (some of them willing to hack and sell the top-secret from companies for profitable) To reduce the risk of being attack by these microcontroller hackers, that is why we must know the types of attack categories.
Looking for compact but flexible, simple, and cheap development board? You should consider this nice list of microcontroller USB-Stick tools. These are special development tools that include all necessary hardware and software in a portable USB stick. Most of them consist of two parts – a USB stick and attachable target board. For instance, eZ430-RF2500 is the world’s smallest low-power wireless development tool. At only $49, the device includes a USB emulator to program and debug your application in-system and two 2.4-GHz wireless target boards featuring the highly integrated MSP430F2274 ultra-low-power MCU.
Embedded systems that are dealing with DAC require good voltage references. Despite all voltage references having their nominal values, specific tolerances indicate how much values can vary from the nominal value. References, as a rule, are semiconductors that characteristics are affected by temperature. For instance, if we decide to use a 2.5V voltage reference then (Zener) diode LM336A-2.5 may be a good choice for this. These diodes have a low-temperature coefficient. It can guarantee that voltage will be in the range between 2.44 and 2.54 at 25ºC. This precise Zener diode has a third lead that can be used to adjust break down voltage. In the following figure, you may see a diode with a potentiometer where breakdown voltage can be adjusted in the range of ±120mV:
Microcontrollers are the building blocks of any digital signal processing system. In layman’s terms, they can be described as miniature computers that are present on chips. They consume very little amount of power and are self sufficient. They are similar to microprocessors but contain some additional elements such as read only memory in the form of EEPROM (Electrical Programmable Read Only Memory) and a read write memory that usually utilises flash technology. Another difference between microcontrollers and microprocessors is the clock speed. Microcontrollers usually operate at low clock speeds. Low clock speeds are adopted as they are suitable for the operations that are usually performed using microcontrollers. Also, this ensures that they consume less power.
An embedded system is a type of computer that can perform a few specialized tasks. This design is contrary to the normal computer designed to perform many operations that are unrelated to each other in many cases. Embedded systems are present in many of the devices used today and act as their control units. The main issue with embedded systems is their optimality in terms of cost, space and power consumption, etc., as there is no focus on increasing the functionality of the device. The term embedded system can thus, be used to refer to devices that perform certain specific functions and cannot be used to perform others by loading applications on them. Typical features of embedded systems Many of the embedded systems have several hardware restraints as they have to process real-time inputs and be safe to use. Others may not have some of these constraints, and thus, a reduction in the cost of the hardware used is possible. The term embedded system does not refer to isolated devices but rather, they are a part of the device they control or perform some other task in. The software that is used in embedded systems is usually termed firmware. The…
These are devices that are used in electronic circuits to make reconfiguration of the same possible. The logical gates that are normally used perform a fixed function; however, the Programmable Logic Devices (PLD) do not perform any predefined task when manufactured and need to be programmed before they can be used.Before the introduction of PLDs, ROM (Read Only Memories) was used. EPROM could be programmed using any standard hardware for that device and hence, did not require any other peripheral hardware. Another advantage of ROMs is that a particular binary code stored in it could be obtained on any of the n output lines available. Thus, they can be programmed in any way one wishes to. However, ROMs have some disadvantages when they are used as PLDs. They do not produce the outputs as quickly as other devices; they are not very dependable as far as asynchronous inputs are concerned; they require more power, etc. The first PLD was the programmable logic array developed from ROAM (Read-Only Associative Memory) by modification of one of its metal layers and 17 inputs and 18 outputs.
Even though USB is life on for more than 10 years – electronic amateurs move towards it relatively slowly. The main reasons are that many electronics work with relatively old computers where the RS232 port is actively used. Even when buying a new PC, I was looking that the motherboard was equipped with at least one COM port. But the situation is more complicated with Laptops where COM or LPT ports are not used anymore due to limited space and other reasons. The only way is to adapt to USB in one way or another. One temporary solution may be using USB to RS232 adapters. But again, this is the only emulation of COM port, and not all programs may understand it correctly, like PonyProg doesn’t work with virtual COM ports. Today companies producing electronics components have been pushing lots of types of USB chips to market. In order not to get lost, there is some classification made. So USB chips may be classified as follows: Microcontrollers with build-in USB interface; Microcontrollers with USB emulated program; USB converters or USB bridges; Hub controllers; Host controllers; Dual role controllers, OTG (On-The-Go); USB transceivers, USB switches