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Its fun programming microcontrollers. With microcontrollers you can create a piece of hardware which works according to your wish (with some limitations !). Examples are you can flash a LED, drive a 7 segment display, print text on a LCD, receive signals from a remote control, control electrical appliances of your room, build a robot that follows a line on the floor and avoids obstacles coming in between, frequency meter and infinitely many more..

Basically a Microcontroller is a mini computer with CPU, Memory, I/O lines etc. Microcontrollers are much better for smaller embedded systems than their ancestors i.e. microprocessors, if you are developing a system using microprocessor, then your hardware or circuit will be more complex whereas if you choose a microcontroller, your hardware becomes simple because all the necessary peripherals such as RAM, ROM, TIMERS, I/O ports etc are embedded in a microcontroller. Now we will start with interfacing various components and devices to microcontrollers (Assuming you have basic knowledge of 8051 architecture and assembly programming and also C). I have chosen 8051 microcontroller due to its simplicity in architecture and assembly language, and learning 8051 chip is much easier than other microcontrollers if you don't have any prior knowledge on microcontrollers. For more detailed information of hardware architecture and assembly language of 8051 microcontroller you can refer hardware manual and instruction set at ATMEL's homepage.

Most of the projects and tutorials published here are based on Atmel's AT89S52 microcontroller, it is a 8- bit microcontroller with 8051 architecture, comes in a 40 pin DIP, contains all necessary peripherals required for a hobby project. Now for a microcontroller to be operational the minimum hardware you need is a crystal oscillator, power supply, power on reset etc. So I have come up with a very simple development board to carry on the projects and interfacing tutorials published here. (Note: You can also rig up the circuits in breadboard since most of the circuits are simple). You can construct the development board on a general purpose circuit board. (Soon I will be publishing PCB layout for this).

8051 Development Board

             We will start with interfacing microcontroller with LED’s, Displays, Motors, Relays etc.

In order set up your simple home lab, you need

  • keil or any other IDE with 8051 assembler/compiler.

  • ISP programmer circuit

  • ISP programmer software

  • Target hardware (your development board or circuit).

This page illustrates the setup of you 8051 development system, illustrates how to interface your 8051 board to computer and download the program hex files to tour 8051 hardware.