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#1 4D1   User is offline

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Software outside a typical PC

Posted 15 July 2011 - 03:05 PM

Hi Guys,

I have always wondered how software is written outside of a PC? For instance in a heating thermostat, or a cars ECU and other similar management systems and control panels, or better still anything capable of computing? Would they be programmed with some ASM specific to their chip set? Or are the somehow custom built to function in a particular way without software? I do intend at some point in the to explore the world of autmotive electronics/software, but for now it is purely curiosity based..

Can anyone enlighten me

This post has been edited by 4D1: 15 July 2011 - 03:07 PM


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Replies To: Software outside a typical PC

#2 jimblumberg   User is offline

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Re: Software outside a typical PC

Posted 16 July 2011 - 09:49 AM

A simple device like a thermostat may still use a Mercury switch mounted a temperature sensitive spring mounted to the dial to control the heating/cooling. Or the thermostat may have a micro-controller that allows the user to enter the desired temperature and then uses some kind of sensor to determine the actual temperature to control the heating/cooling. The devices in use today range from a simple mechanical device to systems containing a large number of micro-controllers.

The tools used to program these micro-controlled systems vary from factory programmed machine code, to assembly language, to high level languages. With many micro-controllers you are limited in what language you use to program them because it is not always cost effective to port every language to these small devices. The more complex systems may even use operating systems similar to the desktop PC operating systems. There is no one tool that is universally used to write software for these systems. Many times development may consist of using many different tools, from assemblers, compilers, source code verification systems, etc, etc. To write software for most automotive uses you will need to verify that the software meets the design requirements by using external verification software and methods. Also when you get into systems where safety is critical you may not be able to use your assembler, compiler but will be required to use a compiler, assembler that has been tested to insure it meets certain standards.

Jim
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