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Re: Req: (Free) Embedded Platforms for Education
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It is certainly a good idea to include real silicon in courses.
This is getting easier to do, and a recent trend is to USB_Stick
type Evaluation Boards.

In all cases you should be able to download Code, and single step at
ASM and HLL levels.

Some examples:

The Silabs F530, with 5V Vcc and 12 bit ADCs, and on-chip debug is a
very good 'lab teaching level' tool.

and this one has 3 uC on it:

this one is a 16 bit uC

and this one has an ARM9 on it /

this one from TI

As you can see, these are all very low cost, and include enough free
tools to teach with. You could use more than one, eg start with
something simple/highly flexible, like the LIN bus F530, and at more
advanced levels, the STR9-Comstick includes Ethernet and USB.


Re: Req: (Free) Embedded Platforms for Education
Take a look at Freescale HCS08 part (or HCS12). A basic version of C
compiler is for free (up to 16kB of C code, assembler unlimited).
You can alsou build your own debug cable for in system debugging -
look for OSBDM (or TBDML for HCS12) on the freescale website.

Re: Req: (Free) Embedded Platforms for Education

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There are literally millions of possibilities, and most of them are
supported by free software. The choice really comes down to what
you're trying to teach.

I'd suggest you look at the TI ez430, which is a USB-based debugger
for the MSP430F2xxx series micros. It is the size of a USB memory
stick and includes a removable target board with the micro on it.

The reasons I recommend this are:

- Works on legacy-free PCs
- MSP430 is a very easy architecture to learn. von Neumann
architecture, very orthogonal instruction set.
- The micro includes timers, ADCs, PWM generators and all sorts of
- Includes debugger, assembler and C compiler which is, for all
practical purposes, unlimited in functionality.
- $19.95 retail price (frequently available free at TI seminars). I'm
sure TI would give you an educational discount.
- TI also sells additional target boards containing the micro, debug
header, one LED, and all micro pins wired out to pads, Three boards
for $9.95.
- Most of the micros in the series are also available in DIP package
if your students want to breadboard or hand-build something.

This kit is adequate to teach realtime control and sensing
applications in C, C++ (yes!) or assembler. There are even RTOSes
ported to this micro, although that's really pushing the envelope.

Re: Req: (Free) Embedded Platforms for Education
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First of all some course examples:

CTEC1630 Computer Systems Design Home Page: /

ECE 476, Designing with Microcontrollers, Spring 2007: /
Advanced Microcontroller Systems on a Programmable Chip: /

Microcomputer Project Laboratory - Spring 2007:

Autonomous Robotics
EECS/BIOL 375/475: /

EENG 350 Robot Details: /

EE 227 Mobile Robot Details


Please do not encourage use of PIC16F84(A) - it is outdated and costs
more than better chips according to .
Use PIC18f1220 or 18F4550(has USB possibility) instead - or at least
PIC16f628A, PIC16f648A, PIC16f684A or PIC16F877A.

Starting with PICmicro controllers
intro, first steps, tips, links, etc.
(C) 2002 Wouter van Ooijen ( /

PIClist: /
PICList Projects:

Open source language JAL (GPL):

"...Jal is a high-level language for a number of Microchip (TM) PIC
microcontrollers (16c84, 16f84, 12c508, 12c509, 16F877 [and 18f452, 252,
242] - found in codegen.c)...":

Open source (dis)assembers: /


ARM processors has a long it history and are very used and most ARMs are
supported by Linux:
Quote: "...The ARM design was started in 1983 as a development project
at Acorn Computers Ltd.
The core has remained largely the same size throughout these changes.
ARM2 had 30,000 transistors, while the ARM6 grew to only 35,000.

Welcome to the ARM microcontroller Wiki! /

ARM controller overview: / / / / /


Microcontroller independent: / / /


Evaluation/development boards & links:

Please look at OpenMoko. The software is called OpenMoko - and the it
runs among others on the open hardware; Neo1973:
 From october 2007 is a newer version available: /

ARMs: / / / /

Samsung S3C2440A (ARM9) Board, RS232, USB, Ethernet, IDE, SD/MMC:

Atmel Introduces the World's Lowest Power 32-bit Flash MCU With Ethernet
and USB On-the-Go =
citat: "...
The AT32UC3A0512 and AT32UC3A1512, the first
devices available, deliver 80 Dhrystone MIPS (DMIPS) at 66 MHz and
consume only 40 mA at 3.3V.
The EVK1100 evaluation kit
provides Ethernet and USB interfaces, along with many other serial
communications ports such as SPI, TWI and USARTS. A 20x4 character LCD and
the expansion connector allow advanced product evaluation and
prototyping activities.
Availability and Pricing. The AT32UC3A0512, with EBI, is available in a
144-pin QFP package and the AT32UC3A1512, without EBI, is available in a
100-pin QFP package. Pricing starts at US $8.16 and US $7.43 for 10,000
unit quantities, respectively.

The SR4 Autonomous Mobile Robot: /
Citat: "...As an Educational Platform...The SR4 features the Linux
operating system, Java, the Medallion single board computer with an ARM


Re: Req: (Free) Embedded Platforms for Education [+FPGA]

It might also be worth to have a look at FPGAs:

FPGA High Performance Computing Alliance: Technology:

20 March 2007 Green supercomputer is 'go' in Scotland:,39024647,39166443,00.htm?r=1
Quote: " the next two to three years - FPGA tech could really take
BYU JHDL, Open Source FPGA CAD Tools: /
8/31/2001, Lab to offer open-source Java-based FPGA tool:

This type of hardware could be very useful for robotics:

Elphel reconfigurable cameras:
Main page:

Imaging solutions with Free software and open hardware:

Just another FPGA+microcontroller example:

The Alya Project:
Quote: "...The Alya board mainly consists of a PIC16C64 ["C" - can only
be flashed once (might only be UV eraseable)] microcontroller and an
Altera 10K10 FPGA to handle the data transfer.
Instead, I decided to use an Altera FPGA and just connect all pins to
the FPGA. This is a good example how FPGAs simplify a design - instead
of having to understand all the details of the devices involved, just
connect them directly and implement the details later. This lead to a
208 pin device and, as I intended to use it only as a wiring, register
and multiplexer box, the smallest FPGA available, a 10K10A, seemed to be
All information about the ATA interface can be found in the ATA spec.
You can't download the spec itself, but there are countless drafts at that are as well. I'd recommend you download the
ATA-2 draft, it has only 90 pages and contains everything you need for
Most people I spoke to thought the harddisk interface would be pretty
complex and interfacing to it some kind of wizardry. It isn't.

04/23/2007, FPGA tool startup 'rockets' for success: ;?articleID19%9200568

02/05/2007, FPGA tool bottleneck stalls HPC: ;?articleID19%7002705
Quote: "...
Current FPGA synthesis, placement and routing tools are written for
hardware designers, not software programmers simply trying to accelerate
an algorithm.
"We were casting about for ways to reduce heat in our data centers, and
FPGA technology seemed like a good bet."


FPGAs are among others used in high performance Layer 4-7 network
equipment and harddisc (real hardware) RAIDs:

How to choose the right RAID level:,289483,sid5_gci1261825,00.html
Quote: "...If a RAID offload or accelerator engine (chip, ASIC, FPGA) is
being used..."

Designing a Breakthrough Line Card to Transport GbE Data Over Optical
Citat: "...The GbE muxponder card combines the Intel® IXF18102 and
IXF30005 family of transport optical components, an Altera Stratix* 1S80
field-programmable gate array (FPGA)..."

kind regards,


Re: (Free) Embedded Platforms for Education

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If you want to participate in the Atmel University program,
you can register at: /

Atmel will from time to time supply qualified Universities with free set of
typically a dozen or so.

The AVR is a good example of an 8 bit RISC processor which
will be able to run small RTOS like

There is also the AVR32 which will run Linux and the AVR32 Gateway kit is
dirt cheap.
(< $100 in single qty,and university discounts probably apply)

Atmel also have a range of ARM processors, developed in Rousset,
close to Aix-en-Provence. There are both ARM7 and ARM9 kits
available allowing both RTOS and WinCE/Linux applications.
One recent version (AT91CAP9) has  a dedicated port for communication with
an FPGA.

Best Regards,
Ulf Samuelsson
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Re: (Free) Embedded Platforms for Education [AT91CAP9]
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Hi Ulf

The AT91CAP9 looks very interesting. Is it possible to buy it now? If
that is the case how much does it cost (e.g. 1/2 metal gates)? If it is
not available yet, then aprox. when?

kind regards,


Re: (Free) Embedded Platforms for Education [AT91CAP9]
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PS: I would like the AT91CAP9 in a evaluation board.

kind regards,


Re: (Free) Embedded Platforms for Education [AT91CAP9]
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It looks like it costs $3500:

 >>> Check out the CAP products on the website.
 >> any price guidelines on these yet Ulf ?
 >> -jg
 > $3500 as far as I understand, and this is a baseboard and a CPU module
 > with CPU + FPGA + Memory and a large Stratix.
 > I expect that there will be people building boards with Spartan & Cyclone
 > and then pricing will be down in ~ $100-200.

kind regards,


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