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Embedded Systems: Time and Event Measurement

Discover the major functions of a timer and other components of the MSP430 microcontroller in this free online course.

Publisher: NPTEL
This course will discuss most of the essential features of the embedded systems, such as counting and measuring time and events, creating analog waveforms using digital controls, reading external analog voltages, and more. Enrol today to acquire better insight into the functionalities of the timer, pulse width modulation signals, analog-digital converters, and communication protocols in the MSP430 microcontroller.
Embedded Systems: Time and Event Measurement
  • Duration

    3-4 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation


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The various types of embedded systems can be intriguing. This course introduces you to time and events measurements of embedded systems. It begins with an overview of the TIMER_A, the primary timer module found in the MSP430 microcontrollers. You will study the uses and the features of the timer. With the MSP430G2553 as an example, we explain the primary components and the sources of the timer. Then, with a practice sample code, you will run a program to illustrate what you can achieve with a timer. The four modes of a timer: Stop, Up, Continuous, and Up/Down, will be examined. We then discuss the various methods of generating Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) signals and the software and hardware approaches to generate analog voltages with PWM signals.

Next, you will learn to read external analog voltages with the Analog to Digital Converter (ADC). The course highlights the sample and hold circuit and the encoding processes of the ADC. Examine the types of ADCs from the most common, the Successive Approximation Register Type ADC used by MSP430 microcontrollers, to the fastest, the Flash Type ADC. We demonstrate three sample codes on initializing ADCs in this section. Then, you will study how the microcontrollers can generate random numbers, which is a crucial aspect of embedded systems. A Random Number Generator generates a sequence of numbers or symbols in a random order that you cannot reasonably predict. You will investigate the two types of random number generators: the True Hardware Random Number Generators (HRNG) and the Pseudo-Random Number Generator (PRNG).

Furthermore, you will discover how a microcontroller can communicate by sending and serially receiving data using the various MSP430 communication protocol methods. We clarify the three communication protocols available in MSP430 and their merits and demerits. Learn how to use a timer to capture internal and external events and measure store the value of the timers; this is called the MSP430 timer in a capture mode. We then further discuss the Timer_A Registers of the MSP430 microcontroller. We introduce the TA clock, an external pin of the MSP430. This pin will be clocking, incrementing, and setting the timer in a counter mode. Learning about the timer, event measurements, and MSP430 communication protocols will help you gain skills and understand most internal features of the MSP430 microcontroller. So, do not delay, start this course today.

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