Sie sind auf Seite 1von 6

Embedded Systems

Purushotam Shrestha

Chapter 1: Introduction to Embedded Systems


An embedded system can be defined as a computer system with additional mechanical and electrical parts
designed for performing a specific task and generally embedded into a larger system. The whole system may
be referred to as an embedded system. A general computer like desktop PC accepts installation of different
types of programs and has the ability to perform a wide variety of tasks depending upon the programs. On the
other hand embedded systems are customized for a particular task. They are designed to run specific
programs only. Their design does not allow them to accept programs written for other purposes while
upgrades may be added.
A washing machine, or more specifically the computer system in the washing machine, is custom-tailored to
perform single task wash clothes. It cannot cook food, play music or process image. The program run by this
system is optimized for washing clothes. Its inputs may be water level, time, motor speed etc. The system may
not even accept a simple program that sorts a list of numbers. This is an embedded system.
Others examples are microwave oven, calculators, MRI systems, aircraft controllers, robots, entertainment
systems, digital cameras, switches and routers and many others. Even a CD drive in a desktop PC can be
considered as embedded system

1.1 General Characteristics of Embedded Systems


Embedded systems possess following characteristics:
Specific Task: This is the characteristic that differentiates embedded systems from other computer systems.
As discussed above embedded systems are used for carrying out single, specific and dedicated tasks. Both the
hardware and the software of an embedded system are optimally designed to perform a single function. For
example, in the washing machine, the physical shape and size, the way lid opens, the arrangement of water
pipes, motors are all specifically designed that facilitate washing of clothes. The software running on the
controller is not a generalized one but customized to control the motor speed, water levels, timing functions
etc. This characteristic also implies faster speed.
Embedded property: The computer system is a part of the system being controlled or we can say embedded
in the system. The mechanical or electrical system that is being used to carry out a task houses the controller
inside it and the user may not be aware of the computer system thats taking in the commands and
performing the tasks that the user requires. All the user sees is the machine that simplifies and eases his work.
In contrast, a desktop PC, a laptop or a supercomputer, all are stand alone units. Another way to look at this
property is that programs are burned into the ROM of the controller or embedded into the hardware.
Reprogramming is rare.
Specific Design requirements: Because the embedded systems perform specific tasks, their design
requirements are also specific and constrained. For example a digital camera of a size comparable to that of a
car is not practical. It must be designed to be light and portable that allows the user to carry it around and
take photographs holding the device in his hand. So all the systems, the mechanical parts, power source, the
controllers; all must be crammed into that little box. Being portable, there is constraint on the power source.
It cannot be designed to run on AC power!
Reactivity, real timed and reliability: The embedded systems are reactive in nature that is they quickly react
to the inputs and control commands. The computations are done in real time and the results are reliable.
Users dont want systems that take too long to complete their work or do it with unwanted or inappropriate
results. Every embedded system must possess these characteristics, the degree may vary: the reliability and
reactivity of a robot assisting a surgeon must be very high while that stacking boxes in a warehouse may do
with less.

Chapter 1

Embedded Systems

Purushotam Shrestha

Other characteristics that an embedded system possesses may be lower cost, small size, low-power etc. It is
not that embedded systems must have these properties, but, depending upon the applications, these
characteristics are preferred in an embedded system.

1.2 Classification of Embedded Systems


The classification may be based on various criteria. Here we categorize embedded systems on the basis of
processor employed, system complexity and performance.

Small scale: These systems employ single 4-bit, 8-bit or 16-bit microcontroller/ microprocessors. They are
generally low-cost systems designed for non critical and low end applications. No operating system is present.
Some processors used in these systems are4 bit-Intel 4004, 4040, HP Saturn
8 bit- intel 8051 and its variations
Examples: coffee makers, infrared remote controllers.

Medium scale: The medium scale embedded systems have one or more medium performance 16-bit or 32-bit
processors. They are more complex than the small scale one. If required, an operating system may be present.
The cost is higher for the performance it provides. The examples of medium scale embedded systems and their
processors areIntel MCS-96 family, Microchip's PIC24 MCUs
Digic (DIGital Imaging Core) III processor, a 14 bit processor used in Canon EOS cameras.

Large Scale: Large scale embedded systems are sophisticated systems using one or more high end 32-bit or 64bit processors or reconfigurable system-on-chip parts. An operating system is required to be present in such
systems. Their reliability and features allow their use in mission critical applications. Due to the functionalities
and the complexities involved in providing these features, they are expensive.
Some examples are:
Nintendo DS game console, released first around 2004, uses two 32 bit ARM processors:
ARM946E-s and co processor ARM7 TDMI
An embedded system may be fully hard wired without any program at all or may have a program burned into its
ROM.

1.3 Essential Components


In order to carry out desired task, an embedded system requires various components as discussed below.
1. System Core/ Processor: At the heart of an embedded system is the processor that performs all the
computational tasks. There are inputs: sensory inputs and/or control commands, processing is done and
there are outputs. The work done by an embedded system is these results or mechanical movements based
upon these results. An embedded system may employ a hardwired system or a programmable processor.
They may be one of following:
a. Microprocessors
b. Microcontrollers
c. Digital Signal Processors
e. Application Specific Integrated Circuits
f. Programmable Logic Devices: FPGAs
2.

Embedded Software: The embedded program or the software is what actually guides the hardware
telling it to carry out tasks. The use of programs provides the designer with flexibility in the system that
allows continuous modifications and refinements. The embedded software is characterized by
a. Stored in the ROM of the system
b. Doesn't (usually) change over the life-time of the system

Chapter 1

Embedded Systems
3.

Purushotam Shrestha

Memory: An embedded system requires memory for storing program/firmware, holding intermediate
computational results. The memory may be on-chip or off-the -chip in which external memory is required.
There are several types of memory that can be used for embedded systems:
a. Masked ROM - factory manufactured
b. Programmable ROM - one time programmable ROM
c. Erasable Programmable ROM - reprogramming using UV rays
d. Electrically Erasable Programmable ROM - reprogramming using electrical signals
e. Flash -type of EEPROM
f. NV RAM- RAM with battery back up; RAM is faster
g. RAM
i. S RAM storing bits in form of voltages using flipflops, faster
ii. D RAM storing bits in form of charges using MOS gates, high density

The memories vary in writing and reading speed, size and cost. They may have parallel or serial interface.
4. Input /output systems: The embedded systems require input and output systems to interact with the
surrounding environment and carry out the task. The input/ output systems can be studied as:
a. Sensors and actuators
Sensors: Convert a change in physical quantity into electrical signal
Push-button switch - for manual input
Keyboard/keypad
Temperature sensors
Light dependent resistors and photo diodes

Actuators: Convert an electrical signal into a physical change


LEDs - status indicators
seven-segment display - alpha-numeric display
Opto-couplers - for isolating two systems
Relay - used as switch
Motors - mechanical output

b. I/O subsystem
Includes signal conditioning and translating
Interface between processing unit and actual transducers
Voltage converters
ADC or DACs
Isolators
Peripheral programmable interface 8255
5. Communication Interface: In course of task executions, the components of an embedded system or the
system as a whole may require to communicate with each other or with external world. The
communication might involve data, control signals and other book keeping data. Communication may be:
a. On board communication- communication between devices/ICs within an embedded system. Eg
communication between processor and memory circuits, I/O systems
Half/full duplex
Serial/parallel bus
b. External device communication- communication between an embedded system and external world.
It might be for data transfers, user control/configurations/settings
RS 232
USB
Firewire
Bluetooth
Wi-fi
In addition to, appropriate power supplies, stabilization circuits, EMI protection and other application specific
components may be required.
Chapter 1

Embedded Systems

Purushotam Shrestha

1.4 Overview of Processors and hardware units in an embedded system


An embedded system uses processors of one or another type in order to execute the programs written for it.
The processors, in general, have following general attributes:
Architecture: Von Neuman and Harvard
Speed: higher the better
Size: the smaller the better
Power consumption: stand-by power consumption, lower the better
Instruction sets: the number of instructions that a processor can execute, RISC or CISC
Cost
The processors employed for embedded design fall into following three categories:
General Purpose Processors: These processors are designed to meet a wide variety of requirements. They are
programmable and the program determines what they do. The main processing unit, the CPU or the ALU, in
these processors have different and many types of circuits to cater the needs of different applications. Their
instruction set includes common type of instruction useful in writing programs for different types of
applications.
The general purpose processor provides flexibility for an embedded system designer, program can be refined,
modified for a better solution. The same processor can be used for different applications. The designer just
needs to change the program. The embedded designer need not worry about the hardware details.
The manufacturer also has advantages, because a general purpose processor can be carefully designed and the
design cost can be spread over large number of chips reducing cost per unit.
The general purpose processors are comparatively slow and consume more power.
The processor contained by a desktop PC is an example of General Purpose Processor.
Single Purpose Processors: The Single Purpose Processors are custom processors and built to perform to a single
task, as an application requires. Instead of programming, the functionality is built right into the hardware: its a
hardwired design. Hence no program memory is required. The design process should be checked and rechecked,
for, once implemented, a slight change in the design renders the chip useless and has to be built from start.
One of the distinguished advantages of a Single Purpose Processor is, it is faster. Low power consumption is
another one.
Since single purpose processor s are designer and specific application based, the high design cost is spread in
less quantities making the cost per unit high. Also a Single Purpose Processor designed for an application cannot
be used for a different purpose.
Application Specific Processors: Midway between the General Purpose Processors and Single Purpose
Processors are the Application Specific Processors. They carry the flexibility of General Purpose Processors and
incorporate the speed of Single Purpose Processors. The Application Specific Processors are designed for a class
of applications, similar in nature. They are programmable but limited to the class of applications they are
designed for. For example a processor may be designed for image processing applications which has instructions
for various calculus operations like differentiation. It is not a GPP as it cannot be used for a different purpose like
motor control and it is not a single purpose processor as it can be used for slightly different application.
The Application Specific Processor is a compromise between General Purpose Processor and Single Purpose
Processor. They are flexible but not as a General Purpose Processor and are faster but not as a Single Purpose
Processor.
The processing units that can be used for developing an embedded system are:
1. Microprocessors
2. Microcontrollers
3. Digital signal processors
4. Applications Specific Integrated Circuits
5. Programmable Logic Devices

Chapter 1

Embedded Systems

Purushotam Shrestha

Microprocessors:
Generally containing ALU, control Unit and working registers
Integrated circuit fabricated on silicon substrate
Requires external support hardware like memory, interrupt handling systems, timers etc for proper
functioning
Intel 8085, pentium, core i3 etc
Microcontrollers:
Contains all the functional units in one chip; processor, control unit, registers, memory, i/o ports, timers,
interrupt handling systems.
Some contain ADCs, extra memory and even USB drivers
ARM 11
Intel 8051
Digital Signal Processors:
Specialized hardware for digital signal processing, generally required in media handling systems
May contain multiple processing units for faster computations/calculations
Have specialised hardware units for FFTs, DFTs, Differentiation and Integrations,
Example: DIGIC processors
Application Specific Integrated Circuits:
Are built to perform very highly specific tasks: hardware tailored to meet the specific task
May have different instruction sets
Cost may be high
DIGIC is an ASIC ! Only used in cameras
PLD
General purpose logic gate array
Used for prototyping
Uses software faster results
FPGA: field programmable gate array, and CPLD: complex programmable logic device

Other hardware Units


The processor is only one of the part, an important one. Other hardware units are also required for building a
complete system.
Memory units
Size and number of words
Read and write speeds
Volatile/ non volatile
Serial / parallel interface
Peripheral Programmable Interface 8255
Designed for 8085, 8086
Ports A, B, C: configurable ports
Different modes of operation 0 , 1, 2
Control register controls the operation of the device
Signal converters, ADCs and DACs
Sampling, quantization, coding
Flash, SA ADC,
PWM-Lowpass filter
Binary weighted
Chapter 1

Embedded Systems

Purushotam Shrestha

Timing and Synchronization units


Timers:
Gives out an output signal after certaing time interval
Synchronization units:
Oscillator circuits for synchronization of the digital circuitry, crystals
Communication interfaces UART: RS 232(recommended Standard) intel 8251
Buffer memory
Transmit/receive control
Shift registers

1.5 Applications
The applications of embedded system are wide and too many. So we study them by categorizing.
Consumer Electronics:
Smart televisions
Kitchen Appliances like microwave ovens
Toys
Digital Cameras
GPS receivers
Office Automation
Printers
Fax machines
Photocopier
Scanners
Medical Applications
Imaging equipments like MRI machine, CT scanners
Dialysis machines
Infusion Pumps
Prosthetic devices
Automobile
Ignition and Fuel injection systems
Automatic transmission
Braking systems
Industrial Systems
Conveyer belts
Temperature control systems
Monitoring systems
Manufacturing robots
Communication systems
Routers and switches
Modems
Radio frequency interface systems
Military Applications
Surveillance systems
Unmanned air vehicles
Gun control systems

Chapter 1