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Introduction To Embedded System

JM839 / Chapter 1

CHAPTER 1 : INTRODUCTION TO EMBEDDED SYSTEM


GENERAL OBJECTIVE To understand the basic concept of embedded system

SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE At the end of the learning, students will be able to : 1. Understand the basic concept of embedded system. 2. Capable to differentiate between microcontroller and microprocessor. 3. Understand the basic concept of real time application.

Firdaus Bin Ali, JKM, PJB

Introduction To Embedded System 1.0 What Is Embedded System

JM839 / Chapter 1

An embedded system is a computer system designed to do one or a few dedicated and/or specific functions often with real-time computing constraints. It is embedded as part of a complete device often including hardware and mechanical parts. By contrast, a general-purpose computer, such as a personal computer (PC), is designed to be flexible and to meet a wide range of end-user needs. Embedded systems control many devices in common use today. Embedded systems contain processing cores that are typically either microcontrollers or digital signal processors (DSP).[4] The key characteristic, however, is being dedicated to handle a particular task. They may require very powerful processors and extensive communication, for example air traffic control systems may usefully be viewed as embedded, even though they involve mainframe computers and dedicated regional and national networks between airports and radar sites (each radar probably includes one or more embedded systems of its own). Since the embedded system is dedicated to specific tasks, design engineers can optimize it to reduce the size and cost of the product and increase the reliability and performance. Some embedded systems are mass-produced, benefiting from economies of scale. Physically, embedded systems range from portable devices such as digital watches and MP3 players, to large stationary installations like traffic lights, factory controllers, or the systems controlling nuclear power plants. Complexity varies from low, with a single microcontroller chip, to very high with multiple units, peripherals and networks mounted inside a large chassis or enclosure. In general, "embedded system" is not a strictly definable term, as most systems have some element of extensibility or programmability. For example, handheld computers share some elements with embedded systems such as the operating systems and microprocessors that power them, but they allow different applications to be loaded and peripherals to be connected. Moreover, even systems that do not expose programmability as a primary feature generally need to support software updates. On a continuum from "general purpose" to "embedded", large application systems will have subcomponents at most points even if the system as a whole is "designed to perform one or a few dedicated functions", and is thus appropriate to call "embedded".

Firdaus Bin Ali, JKM, PJB

Introduction To Embedded System 1.1 Microcontroller

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A microcontroller (sometimes abbreviated C, uC or MCU) is a small computer on a single integrated circuit containing a processor core, memory, and programmable input/output peripherals. Program memory in the form of NOR flash or OTP ROM is also often included on chip, as well as a typically small amount of RAM. Microcontrollers are designed for embedded applications, in contrast to the microprocessors used in personal computers or other general purpose applications. Microcontrollers are used in automatically controlled products and devices, such as automobile engine control systems, implantable medical devices, remote controls, office machines, appliances, power tools, toys and other embedded systems. By reducing the size and cost compared to a design that uses a separate microprocessor, memory, and input/output devices, microcontrollers make it economical to digitally control even more devices and processes. Mixed signal microcontrollers are common, integrating analog components needed to control non-digital electronic systems. Some microcontrollers may use four-bit words and operate at clock rate frequencies as low as 4 kHz, for low power consumption (milliwatts or microwatts). They will generally have the ability to retain functionality while waiting for an event such as a button press or other interrupt; power consumption while sleeping (CPU clock and most peripherals off) may be just nanowatts, making many of them well suited for long lasting battery applications. Other microcontrollers may serve performance-critical roles, where they may need to act more like a digital signal processor (DSP), with higher clock speeds and power consumption. A microcontroller can be considered a self-contained system with a processor, memory and peripherals and can be used as an embedded system.[1] The majority of microcontrollers in use today are embedded in other machinery, such as automobiles, telephones, appliances, and peripherals for computer systems. These are called embedded systems. While some embedded systems are very sophisticated, many have minimal requirements for memory and program length, with no operating system, and low software complexity. Typical input and output devices include switches, relays, solenoids, LEDs, small or custom LCD displays, radio frequency devices, and sensors for data such as temperature, humidity, light level etc. Embedded systems usually have no keyboard, screen, disks, printers, or other recognizable I/O devices of a personal computer, and may lack human interaction devices of any kind.

Firdaus Bin Ali, JKM, PJB

Introduction To Embedded System 1.2

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Real Time Application A real-time application (RTA) is an application program that functions within a time frame that the user senses as immediate or current. The latency must be less than a defined value, usually measured in seconds. Whether or not a given application qualifies as an RTA depends on the worst-case execution time (WCET), the maximum length of time a defined task or set of tasks requires on a given hardware platform. The use of RTAs is called real-time computing (RTC). Examples of RTAs include:
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Videoconference applications VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) Online gaming Community storage solutions Some e-commerce transactions Chatting IM (instant messaging)

1.3

Microcontroller And Microprocessor A microprocessor and a microcontroller are both essentially processors that are designed to run computers. The type of the computer machinery that the two run is different, though essentially the main task of both the microprocessor and the microcontroller is the same. Both are generally termed as the core of any machinery that has a computerized form. One is a specialized form of processor whereas the other is found in all computers. 1.3.1 Microprocessors Microprocessors are normally called what we refer to as a Central Processing Unit, also commonly known as the heart and the brain of any computing machine. A microprocessor is required to perform an array of tasks. These are of general purpose and therefore it is said that the microprocessor is essential to perform the logical operations. The microprocessors are configured into microchips to serve their purpose of start a computer and boot commands as and when the computer is prompted to do so. 1.3.2 Microcontrollers Microcontrollers are specific in nature to the task they need to perform. Usually found present in automobiles and appliances, the microcontroller has a microprocessor on its board to carry out all the logical operations of

Firdaus Bin Ali, JKM, PJB

Introduction To Embedded System

JM839 / Chapter 1

the gadget. The microcontroller once programmed, can work on its own since it has a stored set of instructions that it executes as and when required. A microcontroller can be easily said to be a small microprocessor that has a CPU, RAM, ROM and the input and output ports all embedded on the single microchip. 1.3.3 Difference between Microprocessor and Microcontroller The major difference between a microprocessor and a microcontroller are their functions. Where a microprocessor has more generalized functions, a microcontroller is more specific to its task. A microprocessor may not also be programmed to handle real-time tasks whereas a microcontroller such as in devices that need to control temperature of water or perhaps measure the temperature of a room require real time monitoring and therefore with its inbuilt set of instructions the microcontroller works on its own. A microprocessor requires constant input by a human such as in a personal computer so that instructions can be boot. A microprocessor is the memory of the computing machine whereas the microcontroller integrates the entire computer in a single chip. Not only does it have the memory embedded in, it also has input and output ports plus peripherals such as timers and converters. All this can be handled with a single touch. Both microprocessors and microcontrollers have to run commands and therefore run a device on its own, however its the minute architectural design of the microcontroller that leaves a person interested in awe of the tasks it can perform when it is compared to a microprocessor. When a person requires running a word document or a video game on their computers they are essentially using the microprocessor, and when they have to work a microwave oven, they are working a microcontroller. Therefore, microcontrollers are more specific to the appliance they are configured for. 1.4 Advantages Of A Microcontroller The advantages of microcontroller are that all MCUs have on-chip resources to achieve a higher levelof integration and reliability at a lower cost. An on-chip resource is ablock of circuitry built into the MCU which performs some useful functionunder control of the MCU. Built-in resources increase reliability becausethey do not require any external circuitry to be working for the resourceto function. They are pre-tested by the manufacturer and conserve boardspace by integrating the circuitry into the MCU.
5 Firdaus Bin Ali, JKM, PJB

Introduction To Embedded System

JM839 / Chapter 1

Some of the more popular on-chip resources are memory devices,timers, system clock/oscillator, and I/O. Memory devices includeread/write memory (RAM), read-only memory (ROM), erasableprogrammable ROM (EPROM), electrically erasable programmableROM (EEPROM), and electrically erasable memory (EEM). The termEEM actually refers to an engineering development version of an MCUwhere EEPROM is substituted for the ROM to reduce development time. Timers include both real-time clocks and periodic interrupt timers. Other timer functions includetimer compare and/or input capture lines. I/O includes serial communication ports, parallel ports (I/O lines), analogtodigital(A/D) converters, digital-to-analog (D/A) converters, liquid crystaldisplay drivers (LCD), and vacuum fluorescent display drivers (VFD). Other built-in resources may include computer operating properly (COP) watchdog system which can be hardware or software based.

Firdaus Bin Ali, JKM, PJB