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Richard Erlacher
01/17/13 21:38
Read: 722 times
Denver, Co

#189253 - Highly integrated devices deprive one of valuable experience
Responding to: Mahmood Elnasser's previous message
Mahmood Elnasser said:
I had over three different students asking me to do 8088 chip project for them using eproms
I told them why not use modern chip with built in flash, they said this is what they teach them at college.
Looks like using antique chips students learn more about microcontrollers, latches, multiplexers and digital electronics. Or on the other hand looks like embedded systems develop so fast that lazy educators are not fast to upgrade their courses and experimental work.
What would you do if you were asked to prepare a uC course for students?

Perhaps the nomenclature needs to be more strictly defined, but I have to agree with the notion that " ... using antique chips students learn more about microcontrollers, latches, multiplexers and digital electronics."

Microcontrollers, by contrast with microprocessors, have the resources on-chip, so the "latches, multiplexers and digital electronics" are not so often required. I'd probably steer students in the direction of a microprocessor as the core of a microcontroller course, so that they gain an appreciation of how the internal logic and external logic have to work together. Starting with a monolithic microcontroller such as the self-contained JTAG-equipped chips from SiLabs, among others, which offer little ability to interface external hardware, is a bit limiting. Now, the reason there exists such a wide range of these devices is exactly because there are many things that they might be called upon to do, but they often are available in a variation that has precisely what's needed for a particular task, so no external hardware need be crafted. In most cass, it's possible to use a basic 805x variant of some sort and attach external hardware, but why would one want to do that.

In order to learn the ins and outs of dealing with hardware interfacing, however, it's pretty educational to start with, a Z-80 or 6802, add the clock generator, add the program store and read/write memory, and a bit of I/O, perhaps starting with registers and tristate buffers, and maybe a UART. That way one learns about system timing, interrupts, and other details that one can overlook far too easily with single-chip MCU's.

Some early Motorola MCU's actually were constructed in such a way that the internal bus was observable from the outside if one paid careful attention. Single-chippers started out simple and simply grew in degree of integration with their peripherals and in complexity. Motorola's series of single-chippers, starting with the 8-bit 6801, a contemporary of the 805x series and going up through the 32-bit MCU's in their 68xxx family illustrate that very well.

There's much to learn by fabricating one's own microcontroller system using decades-old hardware, not that anyone would do that in a commercial product, but just as an educational exercise. That's valuable so long as one is after the education and not the work-product.


List of 40 messages in thread
Regarding Typical memory connection for a ds80c320      James Brzycki      01/13/13 19:39      
   drop it!      Erik Malund      01/13/13 20:10      
   same question - same answers      Andy Neil      01/13/13 23:32      
   It won't work      Andy Neil      01/13/13 23:41      
      Andy Neil's previous message      James Brzycki      01/14/13 06:41      
         little feet stamping the floor      Erik Malund      01/14/13 07:33      
            little feet stamping the floor      James Brzycki      01/14/13 07:45      
               Erik doesn't like it when you don't do what he wants      Richard Erlacher      01/14/13 11:11      
                  KISS      Erik Malund      01/14/13 11:39      
                     Not exactly ...      Richard Erlacher      01/14/13 23:35      
                        I find it odd that you      Erik Malund      01/15/13 09:29      
                           just to add      James Brzycki      01/15/13 11:24      
                              If you really want to use ds80c320      Jim Granville      01/15/13 18:28      
                                 Not necessary ...      Andy Neil      01/15/13 23:31      
                                    What about the other option?      Richard Erlacher      01/16/13 02:00      
                                    Yes, but ..      Jim Granville      01/16/13 12:56      
                              So your development cycle will be...      Andy Neil      01/16/13 01:01      
                           What about that other post?      Richard Erlacher      01/16/13 01:50      
                              reply to all      James Brzycki      01/16/13 14:12      
                                 'something'      Erik Malund      01/16/13 15:16      
                                    "something" reply      James Brzycki      01/16/13 16:35      
                                 Some links to reduce work       Jim Granville      01/16/13 19:11      
                                 I'm not surprised ...       Richard Erlacher      01/17/13 01:06      
                                    down memory lane      Erik Malund      01/17/13 09:38      
                                       Antique chips        Mahmood Elnasser      01/17/13 10:04      
                                          in my opinion      Erik Malund      01/17/13 13:06      
                                             Just where, under the hood, can you look?      Richard Erlacher      01/17/13 21:42      
                                                this applies equally well      Erik Malund      01/17/13 21:52      
                                                   Did he say he wants apples?      Richard Erlacher      01/17/13 21:57      
                                          Highly integrated devices deprive one of valuable experience      Richard Erlacher      01/17/13 21:38      
                                       the only difference ...       Richard Erlacher      01/17/13 12:14      
                                          a monitor can not       Erik Malund      01/17/13 13:09      
                                             I don't think anyone's that foolish ...       Richard Erlacher      01/17/13 21:15      
                                                I do      Erik Malund      01/17/13 21:26      
                                                   He doesn't have to apply external memory      Richard Erlacher      01/17/13 21:55      
                                                      by your posts he does      Erik Malund      01/17/13 22:14      
                                                         You have to consider ALL his posts      Richard Erlacher      01/18/13 11:47      
            The bible links      James Brzycki      01/14/13 07:47      
               you are right      Erik Malund      01/14/13 08:07      
                  Thanks      James Brzycki      01/14/13 08:29      

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