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Experiments And Research Activities In A Microcontroller Laboratory

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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

Modern Software Measurement Techniques

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.595.1 - 13.595.8



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Paper Authors


Rafic Bachnak Texas A&M International University

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Dr. Bachnak is Professor of Systems Engineering at Texas A&M International University. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Ohio University in 1983, 1984, and 1989, respectively. Prior to joining TAMIU in 2007, Dr. Bachnak was on the faculty of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Northwestern State University, and Franklin University. His experience includes several fellowships with NASA and the US Navy Laboratories and summer employment with Koch Industries. Dr. Bachnak is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas, a senior member of IEEE and ISA, and a member of ASEE. He is currently the Vice Chair of the Instrumentation Division of ASEE.

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Ramya Chakinarapu Texas A&M Corpus Christi

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Ramya Chakinarapu received her MS degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University—Corpus Christi in December 2006. Ramya’s interest includes programming languages and microprocessor systems. Ramya is currently employed by Avenir Associates, Inc., Piscataway, NJ.

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

Experiments and Research Activities in a Microcontroller Laboratory


This paper describes the activities in a microcontroller laboratory where students learn programming microcontrollers by carrying out experiments that provide a hands-on experience with electronics hardware and instruments. The paper will also provide details of a research project that involves the development of a prototype that takes in an analog National Television System Committee (NTSC) video signal, generated by a video camera, and data acquired by a microcontroller and display them in real-time on a digital panel. An 8051 microcontroller is used to acquire power dissipation by the display panel, room temperature, and camera zoom level. The paper will present the major hardware components and show how they are interfaced into a functional prototype. Test data results are presented and discussed.


Computer science and engineering curricula often include a course that covers assembly language programming. A typical assembly language course includes writing programs and software simulation involving microprocessors, microcontrollers, or embedded systems1-3. This paper describes experiments and research activities in a laboratory that provides interdisciplinary educational and research capabilities in several science and engineering areas. These areas include systems analysis and design, optimization and prototyping, hardware-software co-design, re-configurable architectures, peripheral simulation, modular design and integration, timing and state analysis, multi-layer board applications, mixed-signal simulation and design, system modeling and algorithm development, digital design methods, interfacing, and the use of microcontrollers as basic building blocks in data acquisition and control applications. The rest of this paper briefly describes the laboratory equipment, discusses the experiments that were developed to support teaching a microcontroller course, and describes a recently completed graduate research project.

Laboratory Equipment

Computers, logic analyzers, development boards, and software form a basic set of tools required to teach advanced digital design techniques and microprocessor-based systems. In addition, electronic instruments such as power supplies, function generators, digital multimeters, and oscilloscopes must be available to allow the integration of hardware and software in an environment that addresses real world applications. The laboratory consists of twelve workstations and supports a class of 24 students4, 5. The lab also has more than 15 microcontroller development boards from PHYTEC (microMODUL-8051, Part #: KMM-207-C04) that has the following features and parts: 12 MHz, AC adapter, user’s manual, and circuit diagram. PHYTEC custom builds Single Board Computers (SBCs) in various sizes and configurations and provides development kits for them6,7.

Bachnak, R., & Chakinarapu, R. (2008, June), Experiments And Research Activities In A Microcontroller Laboratory Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3216

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