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An Ece Freshman Microcontroller Course At The University Of Maine

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

ECE Laboratory Development and Innovations

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.166.1 - 7.166.12



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Paper Authors

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Daniel Beenfeldt

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John Field

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Eric Beenfeldt

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Edward Williams

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

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Session 3432

An ECE Freshman Microcontroller Course at the University of Maine Dan Beenfeldt, Eric Beenfeldt, John Field, Edward Williams University of Maine

Abstract This paper describes ECE 171 Microcomputer Architecture and Applications, a 4-credit lab course based on Motorola’s M68HC11 microcontroller. The course introduces computer architecture, assembly language programming, and applications of microcontrollers to freshman electrical and computer engineers as well as other students, primarily students majoring in computer science and engineering physics.

I. Introduction For over twelve years the ECE Department has required two semester-long courses in the freshman curriculum to introduce its majors to their discipline. Initially, both of these courses were wholly technical where the first course dealt with digital logic and the other with assembly 1 language programming. In the early 1990’s the first course , ECE 101, was restructured to provide a general introduction to electrical and computer engineering, including modules aimed at helping students make the transition from high school to college. Technical topics include resistive circuits, RC circuits, the 555 timer, combinational logic, Karnaugh maps, sequential logic, DC motors and PWM control. These topics give the technical background for understanding the operation of a remote control vehicle that they build. Our students also learn the hands-on skills of soldering, wire wrapping, reading schematics, and using basic lab equipment for trouble shooting. This portion gives students an appreciation for the importance of a modular approach to design and test. Finally, we introduce Mathcad 2 as a tool for mathematical analysis including graphing and analysis of experimental data. Since some of our students have no background in programming we also introduce fundamental programming constructs like if-otherwise, for-loops, and while-loops using the programming capability of the Professional version of Mathcad. Thus, by the spring semester when they take the second course, ECE 171, our students have a good background in digital circuits and a cursory introduction to fundamental programming constructs.

Also in the spring semester, our students take an introductory C++ course from the computer science department. This dovetails nicely with a segment of ECE 171 where we show how C statements can be implemented in 68HC11 assembly code.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Beenfeldt, D., & Field, J., & Beenfeldt, E., & Williams, E. (2002, June), An Ece Freshman Microcontroller Course At The University Of Maine Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11257

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