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IESL College of Engineering

EC 5001- Embedded Systems

Question 1

Microprocessors and microcontrollers allow embedded systems designers to separate system

functionalities from the underling hardware circuits to a greater extent. This is in contrast with
discrete component based logic circuits where hardware circuit designs depend almost totally on the
required functionalities of the system.

a. Briefly explain what is referred to as separation of system functionalities from hardware circuit
design with respect to embedded systems.
[05 marks]

b. Briefly describe four (4) technical benefits and four (4) commercial benefits of such separation.
[08 marks]

c. What are the main disadvantages of using microprocessor based designs compared to discrete
component based hardware designs in embedded systems?
[03 marks]

d. Evaluate the use of microprocessor based designs in following types of embedded applications
considering their technical and commercial parameters.
i. Design of road traffic light systems
ii. Design of the main control board of domestic washing machines
iii. Design of control circuit for digital cameras
[03 x 3 marks]
Question 2

A micro-controller is often considered as a single-chip microprocessor based system.

a. Compare and contrast micro-controllers and microprocessors on the following dimensions

I. Addressable memory capacity
II. Instruction set
III. Input/output capabilities
[9 marks]

b. Name three (3) types of peripheral interfaces that are often integrated into microcontrollers
[3 marks]

c. Most micro-controllers support bit-addressable input/output instructions compared to word-

addressable input/output instructions that are available in microprocessors. What are the
advantages of bit-addressable input/output over word-addressable in the design of embedded
[3 marks]

Question 3

Over the past decades, the semiconductor manufacturing industry has undergone several developments
that have made the production of custom ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuits) to be more
economically feasible even with relatively small quantities. As a result more and more embedded
systems are now build using custom ASICs compared to off-the-shelf microcontrollers.

a. What are the advantages of using ASICs compared to genera microcontrollers in embedded
systems design?
[6 marks]
b. Briefly discuss how the following developments in semiconductor industry have made ASICs to
be more economically viable.
i. IC design technology
ii. IC manufacturing technology
iii. Processor technology
[6 marks]
Question 4 (UOM Embedded Systems past paper)