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Microcontroller Viva Questions and Answers

What are the various criteria to choose the microcontroller?

The important criteria to be considered in choosing micro controllers are:
(1) Availability of software development tools like compilers, debuggers,
(2) Meeting the computing needs of the task at hand efficiently at lowcost.
(3) Wide availability
(4) Reliable sources/manufacturers
(5) The amount of RAM and ROM on chip
(6) The number of I/O pins and the timer on the chip
(7) Power consumption
(8) Speed of the device
(9) Packaging
(10) Cost per unit.

What is meant by micro controller?

Microcontroller is a small chip that has in-build Micro processor, memory,
ports, timers and converter. Micro controllers are designed for specific
use. For instance, micro controller in TV remote is mainly designed for
controlling TV.

What is an interrupt?
Hardware or software can communicate to micro controller through
interrupts. Interrupts are external signal that controls the micro processor.
Interrupt signals are generated by sources like software programs or
hardware controls.

What is an Interrupt service routine?

When micro controller is under sudden interrupt, it will call ISR (Interrupt
service routine) that will store the address of current memory address and
takes the control to new interrupt memory address. After the interrupt,
the control will transfer back to its previous address.

What is meant by Register?

Registers are temporary storage area in micro controller. It can hold a
value of 1- byte memory space.

What is an Accumulator?
Accumulator has another name called Register 'A'. Accumulator is an
important register in 8051, because it saves all arithmetic and logical
List some of the 8051 microcontroller manufacturers?
Maxim/Dellas semiconductor
[3] What is difference between microprocessor and
The microprocessor has no ROM, RAM and no I/O ports on the chip itself.
Whereas the microcontroller has a CPU in addition to a fixed amount of
RAM,ROM, I/O ports and a timer all on a single chip.
[4] List out some of the features of the 8051?
ROM 4K bytes
RAM 128 bytes
Timer 2 no
I/O Pins 32
Serial Port 1
Interrupt sources 6

[5] What are the various types of memories used in

ROM Read Only Memory

RAM Random Access Memory

PROM Programmable Read Only Memory
EPROM Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory
EEROM Electrically Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory
[6] What is meant by Flipflop?
A Flip-flop is a basic electronic circuit used for storing information in a
digital machine.
It is a bistable device. It means it has two stable states.
It has one or more inputs and two complement outputs.
Various definitions used in microprocessor/microcontrollers:
A semiconductor device manufactured using the LSI or VLSI technology. It
has all the functions of Central Processing Unit (CPU), ie, ALU, Register
arrays and control circuits of a computer.
Microcomputer: It is designed using microprocessor as its CPU. It has four
component microprocessor, memory unit, input and output devices.
Hardware : The physical components of the computer are called
Software: Set of instructions written for the computer to perform a task is
called a program. Collection of such programs is called software.
Firmware: The software that is stored permanently in ROM, PROM or
EPROM is called firmware.
Bit: The binary digits 0 and 1 are called bits.
Byte: Group of 8 bits is called a byte.
Nible: Group of 4 bits is called a nible. Also collection of two nibles is
called a byte.
A group of bits that the computer recognises and processes at a time is
called a word.The lenth of the word may varies from four bits to 32 bits.
Here the 4 bits are used for small microprocessors and 32 bits are used
for large computers like IBM 370.
A command formed using binary digits that are recognised and executed

by the computer to perform as task. Group of one or more words forms an

Sequence of instructions that are written for the computer to perform a
particular task is called as program.
The input or output devices that are connected to a microprocessor are
called as peripherals. In some cases, memory is also considered as a
Group of lines connecting the microprocessor with other components of a
computer system is called a bus. It is a communication path over which
electrical signals representing binary digits ( 0, 1) are transmitted. For a
single bit to transmit, one line is used. The width of the bus is number of
lines that are used to constitute that bus.
Data Bus:

Group of lines that transmit data in and out of the microprocessor is

called the data bus.

Here the data can flow in both directions between the

microprocessor and the peripheral devices.

Hence the data bus is bidirectional. The width of the data bus
depends on the architecture of the microprocessor.

For an example, an 8 bit processor can operate on 8 bits of data at a

time and has a 8 bit wide data bus.
Address Bus:

Group of lines used by the microprocessor to send the address of the

device or the memory location which the microprocessor needs to

The address bits flow in one direction, ie, from the microprocessor to
the peripheral devices.

Hence the address bus is unidirectional.

The width of the address bus determines the maximum number of

memory locations that the microprocessor can access.


Using a single bus for two different functions is called multiplexing.

For an example, in 8085 microprocessor the low order 8 bits of the

address and data are transmitted using AD7- AD0 lines.

These lines are also used as low order address bus during execution
of instructions.

Thus the same lines are used for transmitting address and data.

This is called as multiplexing.

These lines are called as multiplexed address/data bus.