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Keeping It Simple: An Introductory Microcontroller Course Using The Hcs08

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Embedded System Design

Tagged Division

Electrical and Computer

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.826.1 - 14.826.16

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Paper Authors

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matt gallagher Vermont Technical College

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Andre St. Denis Vermont Technical College

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John Murphy Vermont Technical College

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

Keeping it Simple: An Introductory Microcontroller Course using the HCS08


The current trend in microcontroller courses is to use demonstration circuit boards with many built-in devices that showcase the input-output capabilities of a state-of-the-art device. Current microcontrollers have fifty pins or more, come in surface mountable packages and have external clock sources. The combination of many interesting peripherals and a complex processor appear to serve the immediate needs of the introductory microprocessor course. Students who chose to use a microcontroller in a future project were forced to design circuit boards requiring fabrication and assembly at outside vendors at considerable cost; this tended to discourage their use in our capstone projects course. We discuss our current introductory course that uses a MC9S08QG8/4 microcontroller from Freescale. It comes in a sixteen pin DIP package, has an internal clock and can be programmed using the same Codewarrior software IDE Freescale uses for all of its microcontrollers and can be programmed through a USBSPYDER08∀interface. We developed a set of four simple input/output boards so students can exercise their ability to interface with pushbuttons, LCD displays, seven segment displays, keypads and the serial port among other things. As with more complex boards, they gain experience developing firmware in both assembler and C languages and learn all the basic attributes of a microprocessor. We will show how students were more likely to use these microcontrollers in their capstone projects compared to previous years where more complex controllers were used. Using simpler, applications oriented boards and more lab friendly MPU devices we met our goal of having students actually want to use these devices.


Microprocessor/microcontroller courses are standard components of both two year and four year engineering programs due to their widespread use in everything from automobiles to remotely situated data loggers. A balance needs to be struck in offering these courses: basic concepts must be conveyed along with skills that will allow students to be productive in future situations where they will use these devices. Basic concepts such as interrupts, memory maps and parallel

gallagher, M., & St. Denis, A., & Murphy, J. (2009, June), Keeping It Simple: An Introductory Microcontroller Course Using The Hcs08 Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas.

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