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Old 05-27-09, 09:18 PM   #1
RubenX 
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Questions for the guys studying Computers/Engi

After Logic Circuits, usually ppl take Microprocessors. On Microprocessors, what kind of chips did you used when you took the class? I would like to know what is kinda the standard, so I could start studying on my own. That way it would be easier when I do take the class...

In the past, as hobby, I did lots of projects with the pic16f84. I made the programmer myself (using the PC's com port) and learned 8-bit assembly (pic specific) on my free time. But that was eons ago, I'm sure they use different micros by now.

I just finished Logic Circuits (well, kinda, I have an incomplete but is looking like it's gonna be an A so far)! But please don't answer in binary.
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Old 05-27-09, 09:21 PM   #2
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Our class used the old Motorola 68HC12 CPU to learn assembly. Honestly, you might be better off learning from a tutorial online to refresh your memory. I don't know if any schools are daring to teach the x86 standard, which I hear is a beast.

If I remember correctly, most the class was spent on learning the basics of assembly language, using that chip as the instructional base.

If you need any help, please avoid me at all costs. I got a B-..and heavily curved at that!
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Old 05-27-09, 10:15 PM   #3
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808x series intel, 6502 motorola

used development kits with those chips, final project was designing, programming and wire wrapping a single board computer based on the 8085

after that we did some work with the first 8038x series but didn't get into that heavily, 16 bits or 32 bits is overkill for the kinds of controls we were being taught to build and work with, but we did work on it for a few weeks

keep in mind that was 22 years ago, I am sure nowadays you may end up seeing anything from x86 to mips to arm.......in the end most of the techniques are the same, just instruction set differences--having more registers and ops to use makes things easier but also adds some complexity especially when dealing with all that RAM you have available these days

I doubt you'd get real deep into x386 anything really, these days its easier to learn the basics then jump onto an emulator and write the code in a higher level language and then compile it and flash it onto an EEPROM. All depends on where your going and for what, industrial controls use lots of embedded type stuff these days, all architectures. Wanna write device drivers and BIOS? Ya you will have to become real fluent in hardware and assembly. I would imagine writing 64 bit assembly for one of today's chips is a big pain in the butt but people do it. You couldn't pay me to do it though. No matter what though I can't see them just throwing you into that, you'd probably do 8 bit something first. Check the curriculum where your going.

Last project I did involved sitting down with an HP emulator which could do a wide variety of chips, you plug it into your microprocessor slot on your board and test your hardware then you could also write and compile your software with it too and test it before flashing it to a ROM. You could write it in assembly or basic or C, I'm sure they have many more options now for that kind of thing.
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Old 05-28-09, 04:11 AM   #4
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More schools are going to x86 to teach because it is so prevalent these days. Its not an easy platform to learn on, but because its the de facto standard from embedded chips to high performance clusters, this platform is taught.
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Old 05-28-09, 06:00 AM   #5
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I sure wish my school did.
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Old 05-28-09, 08:03 AM   #6
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I used the motorola HC12 in a course on Microcontrollers, looks like they're still using it.
Motorola 9S12C32 Microcontroller Kit (required) (comes with CD documentation)
Programming the Motorola M68HC12 Family, Gordon Doughman, RTC Books (optional)
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Old 05-28-09, 11:58 AM   #7
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I still have our text. Will I ever use it? Doubtful.
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Old 05-28-09, 12:08 PM   #8
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You can ask the professors what chip and textbook they'll be using.
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Old 05-28-09, 12:30 PM   #9
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It might be the MIC-1, which was used in one class I took.
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Old 05-28-09, 12:31 PM   #10
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Motorola 68000. It was a long time ago.
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Old 05-28-09, 12:56 PM   #11
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Ten years ago, my class used the x86 model. We were all asked to sign a legal statement that we wouldn't create viruses during the quarter. That just gave some of us the fuel to do so. Man, our lab would be down every other day. I don't remember much of it now, other than 'push blaa into CA'.

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Old 05-28-09, 07:01 PM   #12
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If you want to study on your own, get an ARM processor development kit. ARM is where it's at right now.

Go to Keil.com and check out the MCB2100 ARM7 development kit. It's a great starter platform and comes with a nifty IDE and USB JTAG programmer. Your school probably won't deal much with ARM because it's a more complicated architecture than what they typically use, but it will be very practical learning.

A lot of colleges will use HC11/12, PIC, and other architectures along these lines because of their simplicity. If you don't want to get too complicated to start, check out the MCB900 development kit. It uses an 8051-family processor from NXP and uses the same IDE as the MCB2100. There is a huge support community for these kits.
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Old 05-28-09, 08:56 PM   #13
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I finally remembed the name of the other chip we used in a lab: Altera Max
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