San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
Design in Engineering Education
25.38.1 - 25.38.11
A custom-PCB design for microcontroller educationMuch time and effort has been spent attempting to discover the best approach to the problem ofmicroprocessor education. In electrical and computer engineering curricula, much considerationis given to the topic of hardware interfacing. For the potential computer engineer, this is animportant concept to master, in view of its significance in the current state of technology.Unfortunately, in many curricula, the student is introduced to digital circuitry and immediatelythrust into interfacing, due to the pressures of time in a traditional four-year academic career.Often, the student’s understanding of the basics of microprocessor operation and control are notto a satisfactory level before the student is expected to use a processor to control other, morecomplex, systems. This research attempts to compile a solution to allow a student to be wellversed in microprocessor operation while he or she begins to work with additional interfacingrequirements. A prototype printed circuit board (PCB) has been assembled that works in closeharmony with the National Instruments ELVIS prototyping system that attempts to alleviate thisproblem. This prototype daughter card rests on top of the breadboarding area of the ELVISsystem and allows the student full access to all of the tools and contacts that would be availablewithout the card. The student is required to make the connections necessary for a fully-functionalmicrocontroller system, as opposed to the method of using a pre-fabricated microcontrollerdevelopment board. When using a board such as this, the student may not fully understand theindividual components and their interconnections. This process of connecting componentsrequires the student to understand the physical interface between the microcontroller and theperipheral device(s). Anticipated results from this research are an increased aptitude in peripheralinterfacing and a greater level of success in more complex courses following in the curriculum.By allowing the student to interact with the interfacing process on a lower level, a more completeunderstanding of microcontroller-based systems and peripheral interfacing is obtained.
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