Learn Embedded Systems Programming

Simple Steps to Getting Started with Embedded Programming

Being one of the most important parts of current technology, Embedded systems are also getting enhanced along with technology day by day. People who want to start embedded development generally have their interest because of two reasons:

  • They want to make their software affect physical things.
  • They want to learn the exact thing that’s happening down there at the bottom.

So, the initial question, which came in mind for getting started is, “how would I get started with embedded development?”.

If you are looking for the first goal mentioned above, we would recommend you to access the many good hobbyist embedded platforms such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Particle, etc. But if you are willing to achieve the second goal mentioned, your task will be a bit complicated. So, here we offer you a guide, which can help you get started with Embedded development.

Let’s have a look Embedded Systems Tutorial For Beginners:

Learn ‘C’

‘C’ has been selected as an elementary language for the majority of embedded toolchains. If your embedded software coding requires more than a few hobbyist platforms, then undoubtedly you will need to learn C.

#include<stdio.h>
 #include<conio.h>
 void main()
 {
 char nm[20];
 int i,n;
 clrscr();
 printf("Enter the your name \n");
 gets(nm);
 printf("How many time\n");
 scanf("%d", &n);
 for(i=1;i<=n;i++)
 {
printf("%3d\t%s\n",i,nm);
 }
 getch();
 }

Learn Some Basic Electronics

This doesn’t mean that you have to take any class of it. You just have to get a basic knowledge of voltage, current, power, resistance, and ohm’s law. Online tutorials or experimenting with simulators and real circuits can be proved as useful measures for it.

Get the basic Equipment

As we all know it is an embedded software, so it has to deal with real world objects too. For this, you will need some physical equipment such as:

Soldering Iron, batteries, LEDs, jumper wires, Some testing devices like Digital Multi-Meter (DMM) and A hardware debugger / JTAG adapter (Eg: OLMEX adapter, or ST-Link)

Get your Equipment and Tools
You can also take some help from a Logic Analyzer such as Saleae.

Choose a Microcontroller and Toolchain

Now, when you have all of the basic components and coding ready for your project, you will now need a microcontroller to run your programs, a compiler to compile your programs for your target microcontroller, and some additional tools to load your programs on your hardware and debug them.

The most admirable microcontroller is STM32 family of microcontrollers which are well supported by toolchain: arm-gcc along with openCCD.

STM32 family of microcontrollers
Source : st.com

This combination may not be as sophisticated as Arduino, but it is suitable for most of the real-world projects.

You can get an STM discovery kit, which is cheap, relatively accessible and can be proved as a good starter option.

The most common architecture for embedded micros and arm-GCC can easily target all of them.

openCCD is the open software, which will communicate with a hardware debugger and will offer a gdb debugger server, which will help you in loading the program and stepping through your code running on target with gdb

Debugging
Source: github.com

Pick Components & Dig into their Datasheets

Now, you are all set to see some result. Now, all you have to do is take out some components and then arrange them together. The ideas of taking components can be taken from sparkfun and adafruit. If you are willing to see some cheaper options, you can also consider digikey and mouser.

Embedded Programming
Source: www.sparkfun.com

After finding the things you want, you will have to dig in their datasheets (essentially the manuals for electronic components). This will provide you the information that how will it work and other important queries. But datasheets can be tricky, you must not rely on them completely.

Verdict

Datasheets are the source of all information, but it is not necessary that it will be accurate every time. This will give you a basic idea how to get started for an embedded programming.

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