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Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Swax, Mar 23, 2005.

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  1. Swax

    Swax Guest

    I'm new to microcontrollers, coming from the PC world of embedded
    applications. I have an automotive project that could use some
    slimming down both in terms of power usage and econcomics.
    Microcontrollers seem to offer the best of everything. Is it possible
    for a microcontroller to achieve all of the following in one

    Read incoming GPS information, read incoming RFID serial data, read an
    analog transducer, emit sounds (beeps), utilize an LCD/Keypad
    combination for interacting with a user and lastly storing the GPS,
    RFID and transducer info onto an SD card (removable storage) or better
    yet on two SD cards (redundant backup system).

    Could anyone suggest what type of microcontroller would best be suited.
    I've been reading up on PIC's, AVR, 8501's, etc.

    I appreciate any help.


  2. Tim Wescott

    Tim Wescott Guest

    You should be able to do that with a microcontroller -- but there's a
    wide range of microcontrollers available. I get the impression that you
    really mean _8-bit_ microcontrollers.

    It really boils down to the speed that you want to do all this, and how
    much effort you want to put into streamlining the software. You need to
    pay attention how fast the RFID and analog transducer are being sampled.

    If it were me I'd choose some likely candidates, write some nice
    portable C, see if I could get free compilers, and do some benchmarking.
  3. Almost any microcotroller can do your job with power left to spare, so it
    would be hard to make the wrong choice !

    I suggest you choose a microprocessor family which you want to add to your
    toolkit for general use. Does the family have high end and low end parts ?
    Are you comfortable with the part cost ?

    Unless you are making 100s of thousands of units and must save every cent, I
    suggest picking a family which is modern and has a lot of grunt, so as to
    make the programming task easier. If I suggest a family, I will get shouted
    down by other people, which just proves choice of family is not critical !

    The AVR and MSP430 families are modern and high throughput and popular. I
    will duck for cover and say that the 8051 architecture is getting dated and
    produces larger code size and slower throughput, even for the souped up
    versions. Of course, the 8051 derivatives are enormously popular and keenly
    priced !

  4. William Lane

    William Lane Guest

    Thanks for the suggestions. I think I'll take a leap of faith here
    and begin experimenting with the AVR. It seems to have a lot of

    In terms of redundant storage to two SD cards (or CF cards) - this is
    no problem?


  5. Paul Burke

    Paul Burke Guest

    I've done much of this with an MSP430F148, with plenty of capacity to
    spare. The mspgcc tools are free and good, it's easy to design in, and
    very low power (not that you'll be worried about that if your GPS is on
    a lot). If 12 bit (with the usual on-chip problems) is good enough for
    your transducer, you won't need an external ADC either.

    Paul Burke
  6. Wim Ton

    Wim Ton Guest

    I would avoid PIC's, the compilers are not free,some of them can not link, C
    code is not portable and the tools are a bit awkward.
    (I am forced to use PICs at the moment as they happen to be on some
    evaluation boards) Personally I would prefer AVR which has a good free GCC

  7. I made a project very similar to your one, also with graphic lcd and
    battery monitor, with an st upsd3233 8051 derivative
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