This course forms the digital half of a two-semester sequence that provides a lab-intensive survey of electronics (the analog half of the sequence is PHYS E-123a). It covers digital design, emphasizing microprocessors and microcontrollers as well as programmable logic devices, and provides an understanding of the fundamentals of computer circuitry. After examining analog-digital interfacing issues, students program and attach peripherals to a microcontroller. We offer the design in either of two forms: a single-chip standalone controller, programmed using a laptop PC; or a microcomputer built up from a collection of a half dozen ICs. They apply either computer/controller first to assigned tasks, later to individual projects. The student's microcomputer is based on an 8051-derivative microcontroller, chosen because it is the most widely-sourced of controllers. Each meeting includes a laboratory session.
Prerequisites: high school algebra and some familiarity with analog electronics. (4 credits)