Embedded Systems: microprocessors and microcontrollers

An embedded system is a type of computer that can perform a few specialised tasks. This design is contrary to the normal computer that is designed to perform a number of operations that are in many cases unrelated to each other. Embedded systems are present in many of the devices that are used today and act as their control units. The main issue with embedded systems is their optimality in the 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. Here are a few characteristic features of embedded systems: Many of the embedded systems have several hardware restraints as they have to process real time inputs and must also be safe to use. Others may not have some of these constraints and thus, reduction in the cost of the hardware used is possible. The term embedded system does not refer to devices that are isolated but rather, they are a part of the device they control or perform some other…

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Overview of Programmable Logic Devices

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) does not perform any predefined task when they are manufactured and need to be programmed before they can be used. Before the introduction of PLDs, ROM (Read Only Memories) was used. EPROM that was available could be programmed by 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 that were available in it. 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 amount of power etc. The first PLD was the programmable logic array that was developed from ROAM (Read Only Associative Memory) by modification of one of its metal layers and had 17 inputs and 18 outputs.

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Classification of USB chips and microcontrollers

Despite the fact that USB is live for more than 10 years – electronic amateurs move towards it relatively slowly. Probably main reasons are that many electronics work with relatively old computers where RS232 port is actively used. Even me when buying new PC I was looking that motherboard was equipped with at least one COM port. But 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 of temporary solutions may be using USB to RS232 adapters. But again this is 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

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USB types and architecture

USB (Universal Serial Bus) – is type of serial communication interface since January 15, 1996 when first USB-1.0 specification came up to day light. There were several organizations behind USB creation like Compaq, DEC, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, NEC, and Northern Telecom. There are several modifications of USB, but most common for microcontrollers are Low Speed (LS, 1.5Mb/s) and Full Speed (FS, 12Mb/s). Probably everyone knows USB because of widely used Flash memory cards, various devices that connect to personal computer via USB port like printers, cameras, scanners, media players. Today USB 1.0 is almost left behind as there is common USB 2.0 standard used which theoretical speed reaches up to 480Mb/s. Historical timeline of USB evolution: 1996 – USB-1.0 – up to 12Mbit/s (LS and FS) – Initial version; 1998 – USB-1.1 – up to 12Mbit/s (LS and FS) – Updated version; 2000 – USB-2.0 – up to 480Mbit/s (LS, FS and HS) – Increased speed and added miniUSB; 2004 – Wireless USB- up to 480Mbit/s – Wireless connection; 2008? – USB 3 – up to 4.8Gbit/s – on the horizon. It is amazing how technology evolves – just imagine few years ago we were exchanging information by using 3.5″…

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Embedded Electronics Technology in Aviation

Embedded electronics technology has infiltrated almost every aspect of human life.  Embedded technology has changed the modern home and business.  It makes a business run faster and safer, producing more outputs at lesser cost.  It can integrate various devices in your home like your PC, TV, VCR and DVD player to maximize your audio-visual entertainment. The Aviation Innovation The aviation industry has also benefited much from the emergence of embedded technology.  Early in September, the world’s quietest helicopter was unveiled in Germany by an EADS company, Eurocopter.  After many years of research, the company has been able to come out with a helicopter that utilizes embedded electronics technology.

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Embedded Technology and the Modern Market

Embedded electronics refer to devices that can be ‘embedded’ into something. They are add-ons that increase the functionality of the device in which they have been integrated. Embedded electronics can do more and in the near future it can change the way people sell products and handle business. The Importance of Technology in Business To maximize profits and to increase production but, at the same time, to maintain a competitive price, industries from all sectors of the market rely on technology to reduce the cost incurred during business operations. Modern technology could maximize production and profit by freeing people from repetitive and laborious work and put them in places where their skills and intellect would matter. Technology makes it possible to mechanize and accelerate production, lower the cost, reinforce control mechanisms, speed up delivery, and make goods and services available to more people. These advantages also mean better, cheaper and safer products and services for the end users.

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Ocean Embedded Electronics Systems

Embedded systems for ocean applications are comprised of small, function-specific computers that are designed to operate in the rough environment of open water, to withstand both pressure and weather, and to use as little energy as possible. While development of such technology has been ongoing for a long time, research and implementation have been stepped up due to the increased demand for ocean-based monitoring and warning systems; this demand is a direct result of the 2004 tsunami disaster. Embedded systems are also being developed for purposes of tidal power generation as well as improvement of navigation systems aboard ocean-going vessels. Embedded Systems for Disaster Prevention One of the technologies that have been designed after the 2004 tsunami was a buoy that could detect disturbances or irregularities in the ocean currents; these irregularities could indicate an impending natural disaster so their early detection can significantly improve early warning systems. The sea buoy, developed by Norway-based Nortek AS, takes measurements of wave heights and currents using acoustic Doppler technology. Apart from its sensors, each buoy is equipped with an embedded minicomputer which translates raw data from the sensors into meaningful information. The information collected is then sent out through acoustic underwater modems…

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