Microcontrollers can be programmed using a range of different methods. These include:
Each have their own advantages and disadvantages:
The program below acts as a simple timer. When an input pin detects a high (on) signal, it turns an output on for twenty seconds. Software such as PICAXE Editor, GENIE and Yenka can be used for writing flowchart programs.
Once written and tested, the program must be downloaded onto the microcontroller. Many systems support ‘in-circuit’ programming. This means the microcontroller does not have to be removed from the circuit to be programmed. For some systems, the chip may have to be taken from the circuit and placed in a special downloader. A serial or USB cable is commonly used to download the program.
Describe what is meant by ‘in-circuit’ programming.
The microcontroller is programmed without removing it from the circuit.