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A Design Project Approach To Microcontrollers

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.10.1 - 1.10.4



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Paper Authors

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Paul D. Johnson

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3532

A Design Project Approach to Microcontrollers

Paul D. Johnson Padnos School of Engineering Grand Valley State University

Introductory microprocessor and microcontroller classes often seem to be taught with a minimum of realistic applications and experience. Either the courses have no laboratory experience at all, or the laboratory exercises are far removed from practical consumer or industrial applications. A two course sequence has been developed in the Padnos School of Engineering at Grand Valley State University which is designed to ensure that the students have extensive hands-on experience in practical microprocessor and microcontroller applications. This experience will prepare them for the demands of industry, both in their co-op employment and in their post graduation employment. An important part of this experience is the use of extensive design projects emphasizing embedded control applications.


It is possible to discuss the topic of microprocessors without the use of any actual hardware. Projects can be executed as software simulations only with no application to hardware or actual systems. Alternatively, hardware laboratory exercises can be introduced as simple procedures where individual and isolated microprocessor features are demonstrated. The Padnos School of Engineering at Grand Valley, however, is very closely tied to local industry and strives to provide an education which will prepare the student to meet the engineering design needs of the extensive manufacturing industry of west Michigan. The school requires one year of co-op experience of every student. Students work in a local industry heavily involved in automotive applications, office furniture and aerospace. As a result there is a great demand from both students and employers for an ability to design products with embedded control systems and to design manufacturing processes which use embedded control.

In order to meet these demands, a design oriented microprocessor sequence has been developed to ensure that students will have the skills to carry out the design of consumer and industrial control projects. Prior to taking the two courses in microprocessor applications, the students have had one semester of introductory digital systems and several analog electronics classes. This background allows the junior/senior level microprocessor classes to integrate both analog and digital design. Initial lab exercises in the first microprocessor course are traditional laboratory exercises designed to familiarize the students with the basics of the microprocessor, the software development tools and basic interfacing. After familiarity with these basic tools has been developed, however, the students are able to begin working on more complex projects which integrate and expand the skills which they have learned. The more advanced features of the microcontroller and peripheral devices which can be interfaced to the microcontroller are mastered through the medium of these projects.

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Johnson, P. D. (1996, June), A Design Project Approach To Microcontrollers Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--5970

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