A Sequence of Courses Using 8, 16, and 32 bit Microcontroller/DSP Boards

Document Type


Presentation Date


Conference Name

American Society of Engineering Education 2015 Illinois-Indiana Section Conference

Conference Location

Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne, IN


Application programming is important and the ability to program and troubleshoot programs, generally in “C” is an essential part of many positions for engineers, technologists, and technicians. Instruction in programming microcontrollers (uC) and Digital Signal Processors (DSP) are needed in a baccalaureate EET/CPET program, but fitting an appropriate mix into a curriculum is difficult when limited to 120 credit hours by state mandate. A solution is to use a progression of courses to cover a variety of uCs and a DSP chip and their associated “C” programming. These courses are not new, but have been gradually upgraded so there is an increasingly more complex sequence of uC’s and modern measurement/control methods. The initial, required 8-bit uC course introduces students to assembly language programming but primarily provides a fundamental ability to write and debug “C” programs used for interfacing. Common input/output devices such as LED’s, multiple 7-segment displays, a keypad, an LCD, and a serial/USB interface are covered and used in the labs. The second course provides an introduction to control systems and uses 8 and 16-bit uCs to interface with transducers. The third course is an elective that uses a 32-bit, ARM, M4 uC to interface with devices including a nocontact temperature sensor, an infrared light sensor, a color graphic LCD, a touch sensor, and an 8x8 LED array. The fourth course uses a 16-bit, fixed-point, DSP board to program functions including filtering of audio input from a student’s cellphone with the resulting output, to earbuds.



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