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A Microcontroller Applications Course And The Freescale’s Microcontroller Student Learning Kit

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Electrical and Computer Engineering Laboratories

Tagged Division

Division Experimentation & Lab-Oriented Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.58.1 - 13.58.14

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Paper Authors

author page

Chiu Choi University of North Florida

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

A Microcontroller Applications Course and Freescale’s Microcontroller Student Learning Kit

Abstract – This paper describes the improvement of a microcontroller applications course by the adaptation of a new microcontroller development tool- Freescale’s microcontroller student learning kit with CSM12C32 module for the course. This paper also describes the pedagogy for this course and the student evaluation results. The microcontroller applications course is a junior/senior level course offered in the electrical engineering department. The objective of the course is to teach the students how to design microcontroller-based systems. The particular microcontroller used in this course at the present time is the Freescale MC9S12C32. The integrated development environment used is CodeWarrior Development Studio for HCS12. It supports assembly, C and C++ programming. The major course outcomes were: first, with the adaptation of the Freescale kit the design flow has become simpler and smoother than before. Elements of the design flow such as editing of programs, compiling, flashing, debugging and re- flashing of the microcontrollers are done in one development platform- CodeWarrior. Second, the form factor of the CSM12C32 module is small enough that our microcontroller projects have become truly embedded systems. Third, the skills and the tools covered in this microcontroller course are useful to the students that they prefer to use them in their capstone design projects. Fourth, the student evaluation results of this course taught by the author have been among the highest in our department and the college. This microcontroller course with the Freescale student learning kits is a viable approach for equipping students with the skills and tools that they need for prototyping embedded systems and for preparing them for their future design projects.

I. INTRODUCTION The microcontroller course is one of the most demanding courses in our undergraduate electrical engineering curriculum. The prerequisite for this course is an introductory course on digital design. The microcontroller course covers the fundamentals of microcontrollers with emphasis on hardware interfacing, software design, and applications. Topics include microcontroller software architecture, assembly instruction set, addressing modes, memory map, general purpose inputs/outputs (GPIO), analog-to-digital converters (ADC) , timers, input capture, output compare, pulse-width modulators (PWM), serial communication interfaces, and interrupts. This course also gives students the training necessary to effectively use an integrated development environment (IDE) for developing their application programs in assembly language and C. Many of these topics are discussed in a number of textbooks[1,2,3,4,5] and data books[6,7,8].

A number of different microcontrollers were evaluated for meeting the objectives of this course. The particular microcontroller selected was the MC9S12C32 from Freescale Semiconductors. This is a general purpose microcontroller that is simple enough for the students to learn its operation quickly and with on-chip peripherals that are sophisticated enough for covering a wide range of applications. The microcontroller is supported by a powerful software development tool- Metrowerks CodeWarrior IDE. A project board for flashing the microcontroller is available. The project board supports CodeWarrior and has basic electronic components such as switches,

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