Microcontrollers

Discussion in 'Mac Programming' started by chimps, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    #1
    Hi,

    New here to the forums and have a question ( I did a search and came
    up with nothing...) I am an electrical engineering student (soon to be 4th year) and about to start a microcontoller class. In addition, I am going to be
    doing my senior project next Fall dealing with microcontrollers.

    I asked a friend who has taken the course I am currently enrolled what program
    they use for programming the microcontorllers. He said they used a program
    called "ICC11." I did a search, and it looks to be a simple programming
    program, kind of like xilinx for verilog. Of course, this program is windows only. I was wondering if anybody knew of this program (as a port, similar
    program, etc) that can be used on OS X (ppc version).

    I am considering selling my powerbook in exchange for a macbook so I can
    dual boot windows, but this is something I am not looking forward to doing.
    If there is any way to get around this, please let me know.

    Thanks in advance

    -Chimps
     
  2. macrumors 68040

    mduser63

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #2
    Hi Chimps,
    Nice to see another EE student here. I'm also (as of this fall) a 4th year EE student, and I just started on my senior project. Are you going to be writing in C or assembly? I'm assuming you'll be using the 68HC11, if not, what processor will you be programming? There are some options out there, but they're sort of hard to find. Perhaps your best bet is the GNU toolchain. You'll have to compile it yourself, but it is supposedly possible to do that on OS X. You could also use VPC. I used VPC to run Xilinx for Verilog at it worked OK. I also sort of cobbled together an OS X Verilog environment, but it was harder to use than Xilinx, so VPC was still nice to have. You may find the same kind of thing even if you do get an OS X assembler working.

    P.S. Where do you go to school?
     
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    #3
    Hey mduser,

    For my lecture class, we are going to be using C to write our programs, but
    for my senior project that is still up in the air. We are indeed going to be
    using the 68HC11.

    Thanks for the quick reply. I'll give that link a look and see if it can help me
    in any way. Also, I used xilinx on VPC too. As it was possible to use, it was pretty
    slow (for me at least), where I wouldn not want to deal with that speed for
    another quarter, and entire year of my senior project. I do agree VPC is pretty
    good to have, running PSpice on it works prefectly fine. But, for programming,
    it's not ideal...

    Anyway, thanks for your help again!

    I go to Cal Poly Pomona, here in California... what about you?
     
  4. macrumors 68000

    savar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2003
    Location:
    District of Columbia
    #4
    Chimps, I've developed for HC11 using ICC11 and I don't know of any way to do it easily on a Mac. ICC11 may have a version for linux but even if it is its definitely not PPC. Check out their website. Licensing it is kind of expensive anyway...I just made many treks down to the EE lab to use the stuff there...without a scope there's only so much debugging you can do anyway. (Please tell me you dont have a scope in your dorm room.)

    Before you go selling your powerbook, keep in mind that the interfaces for most micro dev kits are parallel port (DB-25 i think) or serial port (DB-9). So programming a micro is hard even on a dell laptop because you have to find a really good usb converter that works.

    If you can pick the architecture for your senior design, then it *is* possible to target AVR on the mac, because there are GCC extensions to support that and I've heard of people compiling these on OS X PPC to make it work. Naturally, you still have the USB/serial port problem mentioned above. (It's kind of silly how few of the dev kits use USB as the native interface, actually.) HTH
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    Krevnik

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    #5
    I have done HC11 work using a variant of nasm and gcc on a Pismo. Even found a decent USB->Serial adapter that worked for the board we were using (it was an AVR I believe). Of course, my project was small enough that I was able to use our eval board's dBUG software to load and run my project, so ZTerm was actually used to program and debug the software.

    For a class, if you are willing to get a little creative... you can do quite a bit on the HC11 with a Mac. :)
     
  6. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    canada
    #6
    If you can get away with using AVR boards, like the Mega32, I would definitely advise it! You can use GCC as your compiler, there is an avr-gcc, etc. I have used AVR boards during my 4th year of my CS degree and now in my 2nd year of my EE degree, and the software runs great on a mac.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2006
    #7
    I appreciate everybodys posts! it's giving me a bigger understanding of this
    subject. I will be looking into everybodys suggestions and see what I can do.
    Keep posting if you can add to this thread!

    Thanks

    -Chimps
     
  8. Moderator emeritus

    kainjow

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2000
    #8
    I didn't read any of the posts, but what school are you going to that teaches you about microcontrollers on your 4th year? I'm at the noobest of schools DeVry and I learned about microcontrollers about 1.5 years into it, with only a Computer Engineering degree ...:rolleyes:
     
  9. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    canada
    #9
    'Only' a computer engineering degree? You say that like TE isn't as good as EE. (Or, that a TE would be less likely to see microcontrollers than an EE)

    There is flexibility in which courses you take, and when. Perhaps he just did his power systems stuff first.
     
  10. macrumors 68020

    Krevnik

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    #10
    I agree with cait-sith. :)

    I went to the same 'noobest of schools' getting the same degree. EE there got exposed to microcontrollers the same time CE did, mostly because it was cheaper to plan it out that way, and have the EEs take their power systems later than forcing the CEs to wait for the EEs to get their power systems and THEN share the class. At DeVry, your classes choose you, you don't choose your classes. ;)

    I could definitely see a EE waiting until year 4 to mess with microcontrollers, especially when software-writing isn't exactly a key part of the degree. CE is focused around a mixture of software and digital design usually... EE gets a lot of analog devices that CE misses in favor of getting more software development.

    Although, as a developer that works on one of the largest embedded OS packages on the commercial market, I could have no idea what I am talking about. :rolleyes:

    It is the EEs that might not ever touch microcontroller code that bring you some of the specialized devices that make microcontroller and embedded processor devices into an actual tool someone can use once the software is written.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2004
    Location:
    canada
    #11
    Eggs-actly.

    I would have taken TE had I not already gotten a CS degree. All the EE guys I've met say they hate coding. Isn't that strange?

    Do they make you guys in the US take 1st year courses in thermodynamics, statics, etc? All engineers at my school, regardless of what branch, have to take thermo, statics, and circuit analysis. Why a civil engineer or mechanical engineer would want to take circuit analysis, or an electrical or computer engineer would want to take statics, is beyond me.
     
  12. macrumors 68040

    mduser63

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2004
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    #12
    We have to take thermo as EEs, but not statics. I don't believe MEs or CivEs are required to do circuits, but I think it does count for some sort of elective credit.
     
  13. macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    #13
    I would also reccomend AVR! The STK500 Development borad/starter kit is very easy to use and can be used on a Mac!

    Also....not nearly as powerful but the BasicStamp has a Mac OS X native GUI. Very easy to use also!

    USB adapters.....look for adapters with the FTDI chip set. Very good support for Mac.
     

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