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New Developments For Courses In Embedded Microcontrollers

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Emerging Trends in Engineering Education Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1100.1 - 12.1100.12



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Paper Authors


Todd Morton Western Washington University

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Todd Morton has been teaching the upper level microprocessor and digital courses for Western Washington University's Electronics Engineering Technology program for 18 years. He is the author of the text ’Embedded Microcontrollers’, which covers assembly and C programming for the 68HC12. He has also worked as a design engineer at Physio Control Corporation and has worked several summers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as an ASEE-NASA Summer Faculty Fellow. He has a BSEE and MSEE from the University of Washington.

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

New Developments for Courses in Embedded Microcontrollers


This paper describes new course outcomes and laboratory tools used for teaching Embedded Microcontrollers at Western Washington University. These developments include the new Freescale 9S12 University board and the application of both ‘all-in-one’ and ‘stamp’ type development boards in the curriculum. Basic fixed-point DSP programming, and an introduction to the Controller Area Network (CAN) will also be discussed.


In this paper I will talk about some of the changes we have made here at Western Washington University’s Electronics Engineering Technology program8. Specifically, changes to the junior and senior level microprocessor, embedded systems, and senior project courses. Most of these changes have been made practical because of the continued developments in the embedded microcontroller industry. New microcontrollers continue to get more powerful – or, in some cases, less powerful – with increases in memory, on-chip resources, and bus speeds.

We have traditionally used Motorola (now Freescale) microprocessors and microcontrollers including the 6800, 6809, 68HC11, 68HC12, and now, the 9S12 family of microcontrollers. Because of this, we will focus on the 9S12 family in this paper, though many of the new technologies apply to other manufacturers as well.

We have found that the 9S12 family is a very versatile family of parts. This allows our students to leverage the skills they have received in previous courses to work efficiently on their senior projects. Examples of projects using embedded microcontrollers can be found on our project website1. The seniors can choose any microcontroller that makes sense for their project. However, because of their familiarity, most choose one of the 9S12 parts. As shown in Table 1, in the last three years, the seniors used 25 9S12/68HC12 parts out of 33 microcontrollers used. Again, this speaks more towards the versatility of these parts, not that they were the ‘best’ solutions for the specific project. After all the students will tend to choose what they are familiar with.

MCU Used Quantity Comments 9S12DP256/512 17 Very versatile, general purpose MCU 9S12C32/64/128 7 Ideal 9S12 part for small low-cost projects Misc. USB Modules 3 A pre-designed USB module for simple USB designs Cypress PSoC 2 Ideal for small designs that can benefit by having analog on the MCU. 9S12NE64 1 A 9S12-family Ethernet Solution Coldfire 52233 1 Very good embedded Ethernet Solution. Other 9S12, HC12 2 Older parts

Table 1 – Microcontrollers Used in Senior Projects (2005-07)

Morton, T. (2007, June), New Developments For Courses In Embedded Microcontrollers Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--2525

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