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There are many options when it comes to embedded microcontrollers but Microchip offer one of the most comprehensive ranges of flash programmable ones. Whether it's an 8 pin device for trivial circuits or DSPs for real time number crunching, there's something in the range. All of these can be programmed using the MPLAB environment in Assembler or 'C'


These can easily be interfaced with keypads, LCD displays etc and have user accessible flash memory to store user parameters when the power is removed. I have an extensive library of routines to enable systems to be rapidly designed with the minimum of effort.


The Keypad, Multi-function timer and Spindle replacement projects featured in the gallery all use these routines and techniques. Some of the boards are designed so that they can be programmed in the field. In fact, this is the preferred method of design because it allows the ICD (In Circuit Debugger) module to be used to run the hardware directly. This shortens the development cycle and makes life easier all round.



Software Engineering

Windows programs can be created using a variety of tools but I use Delphi for ease of use and richness of features. The DNC system pictured here was designed to replace an obsolete system that was no longer supported. The program acts as a stand alone file server and backup system for machines that are critical in the manufacture of military equipment. Company policy prohibited the system from being part of a network so the system had to have a robust backup strategy built in. The system supports Sieb & Meyer DNC protocol which found favour in the PCB industry but has since been superseded by networks.

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