June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
23.905.1 - 23.905.9
Microcontrollers for Mechanical Engineers: From Assembly Language to Controller ImplementationThis paper describes the evolution of a graduate and advanced undergraduate mechanicalengineering course on microcontrollers and electromechanical control systems. The coursebegins with developing an understanding of the architecture of the microcontroller, and low-levelprogramming in assembly language. It then proceeds to working with various functions of themicrocontroller, including serial communications, interrupts, analog to digital conversion, anddigital to analog conversion. Finally, the students learn how to characterize first and second ordersystems, and develop and implement their own controllers for a variety of electromechanicalsystems. The course takes the uncommon approach of teaching assembly language programmingto mechanical engineering students, with the students using assembly language programming forapproximately half of the course and the remainder using the C programming language. Theauthors believe that this approach helps students develop a better understanding of thearchitecture of the microcontroller and low-level routines found in embedded controlapplications. The course provides a bridge between traditional mechatronics courses that focuson electronics and interfacing, and lab-based control courses that use turnkey data acquisitionsystems and graphical programming tools such as Simulink or LabVIEW.The course has existed for over two decades, using a variety of microprocessor andmicrocontroller platforms. After evaluating numerous alternatives, the course was recentlyupdated to use a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M3 microcontroller evaluation board fromSTMicroelectronics paired with custom interfacing circuitry. This platform was chosen not onlyfor more modern microcontroller technology, but also for the availability of free developmenttools and very inexpensive evaluation boards. This allows the students to write and test theirprograms outside of scheduled lab times, along with the ability to cost-effectively utilizemicrocontrollers in future projects.
Salzman, N., & Meckl, P. H. (2013, June), Microcontrollers for Mechanical Engineers: From Assembly Language to Controller Implementation Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22290
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