ABC of electronics terms
(To find chips for distinct functions, see the functional pages.)
Macintosh based software
(Micro* Controller Unit)
A MCU is a MPU combined with peripherals that is supposed to be embedded into some product.
A traditional MPU only has a processor inside and is meant to be
combined with bus chips and peripheral chips to form a computer.
A MCU has a simple processor and a lot of on-chip system glue and peripherals.
Why? It's because MCU's are meant to be used in appliances like
microwave ovens, washing machines, toys and whetever. In these
applications cost is very important and the more parts that are
already included into the MCU save part costs, PCB size costs
and debugging costs.
For building a serious computer the MPU will have to be state
of the art and has no spare room for peripherals so they are added
in seperate chips.
Of course there are always cross-over products. Some heavy
applications used a real MPU and some PC's like the Philips'
'Yes:' and Tandy/RadioShack's first PC's used the 80186 or
80188 which are actually MCU's. MPU's are also sometimes used
embedded in products.
Chips that generate tunes consisting of separate tones.
See also Sound, Sound Card and Voice.
When you distrust your memory or want to check your memory when starting up a system.
Testing Semiconductor Memories - Theory and Practice
- A.J. van de Goor
- John Wiley and Sons, 605 Third Avenue, New York, NR 10158-0012
Making very small machines out of silicon
- This book contains all of the standard testing methods and analysistechniques for testing memory.
See also Microsystems (second next item) and Nanotechnology.
Microsystems are mechanical devices produced on silicon
using normal wafer fabrication techniques i.e. lithography, etch etc.
These should be the devices created by Microengineering, I would think...
They are made for example by PB Technik of Switzerland, who produce wafers that are
supplied to manufacturers. They don't have a WWW site yet, email John Dunn
<email@example.com> for more details.
Wave with a wavelenght of about a micro* meter (?).
They are being used in microwave ovens and for cellular phones.
Serial in-device communication methods.
Musical Instrument Digital Interface.
See also: Musical instrument.
Very expensive military processor, prices starting at $5000!
Pure 16 bit processor (ad+da) but very reliable and radiation hardend etc...
See also JAN qualified.
From: Ian King
Subject: Re: Leftover RTX2000 Chips
At 10:45 pm 7/25/99 -0400, you wrote:
Ian King wrote:
You can't just package up your dies into ceramic packages and sell them
as Rad-tol. Xilinx mentions the XQ4000X Series Certified to MIL-PRF-38535
Appendix A QML. rk.gsfc.nasa.gov/fpgas.htm gives more information
about NASA requirements.
The reason a DSP chip is unlikely to replace the RTX2010RH in space
applications is that the cost of certification is astronomical.
If they ever do I can guarantee you you won't be ably to buy one for $10!
What certification might that be?
An example of Rad-tol fpga costs is from Actel. Per piece pricing in 50-unit
volume for MIL-STD-883 Class B devices in the 208-pin package is A54SX16 -
$1,040 and A54SX32 - $1,872. In the same volume, the 208-pin package
RadTolerant devices are RT54SX16 - $1,530 and RT54SX32 - $2,600
www.actel.com/whatsnew/RadTol.html - More info at Actel
Mega* Instructions Per Second
By cynics also called: 'Most Ignorable Parameter for Speed'
This is a unit to express Processor Speed in.
When you know what you're looking at it's a nice indication of processor speed, but it's indeed not a term like miles per hour that even laymen can use.
Minimal Instruction Set Computing
||BogoMips comparison between processors
Mitsumi CD-ROM interface
The early CD-ROM players had their own interface cards: Mitsumi, Panasonic and
Sony. Later sound cards integrated all those busses and still later the IDE
interface was used.
The Mitsumi CD-ROM interface
See also ATAPI and IDE.
Also called a cell phone (in the USA) or portable phone.
Modulator (and) demodulator
Used to send computer data over an analogue connection like a telephone line.
Cermetek makes FCC approved, ready-to-use modem modules.
|NoICE (use a search engine!)
||Remote debugger for 6502, 6809, 6811, 80196, 8051, 8096, TMS370, Z8, Z80
Gordon Moore was the founder of Intel, who formulated the 'Law of Moore'
which says that the capacity and speed of semiconductors
will double every constant amount of time.
For the number of transistors on a microchip it doubles about every
18 months since 1965.
The main printed circuit board (PCB) in a PC.
Mother board makers:
For a more complete list: www.motherboards.org/
A device that converts energy in motion.
Serial UART: 1200 baud*, data=8, start=1, parity=none
Mouse Protocol of Transmission
||bit 7 -> 0=pos, 1=neg
Serial UART: 1200 baud*, data=7, stop=1, parity=none
- all bytes are two's complement binary
- dX, dY = relative moves after last transmission
- dX',dY' = relative moves since dX, dY were transmitted
Mouse Protocol of Transmission (normal mode)
A dedicated DSP to decode the MP3 sound format is the MAS3507D from ITT.
- all move bytes are two's complement binary (you must collect all bits together)
Video compression method.
MPEG Chip Manufacturers
Microprocessor unit, also called microprocessor, processor or CPU.
It's a single chip (=monolithic) CPU.
In earlier days CPU's were complete PCB's with a whole range of (for example) Am2900 bit slice chips.
Old bus by Intel, later adopted as IEEE standard.
Still in use in the industry it seems.
An operating system is called multi tasking when it can run two or more programs at the
same time. Unix is a good example of such an OS, but OS's like MS Windows are slowly
catching up. To run several tasks with each task fully separated from each other
the computer needs to have a serious Memory Management Unit (MMU*),
which is in the mean time common in serious processors
The first Intel PC processor to have such an inbuild MMU* was the 80286 and it was
indeed possible to run SCO/Unix (then still called Xenix for trademark reasons) on it.
Multi threading is a relatively new term and means that a single program can split itself
and run twice, but the resources like data memory keep being shared. Each process has
it's own stack though and the code is ran independently of the other process.
When a conventional Unix task splits itself using a fork() system call both
resulting processes have their own data space and generally communicate via a pipe.
They share all opened files, but only one of them is supposed to stay using each of
With embedded controller processes the term multitasking is used more lightly and
total task seperation is not required. Generally it's also just multi threading.
Because one programmer generally writes all the programs he can insure that all code
behaves well and pre emptive task switching (task switching without the concent of the
running task) is not necessary. Handling an interrupt is already a primitive form of
multitasking which happens asynchronously to the normal process, but it's not a real
separated thread, because it doesn't have it's own stack. It's more like a randomly
It's not really difficult to implement a simple task switching mechanism under these
soft circumstances, but whenever the situation gets more complicated you may want
to use an existing multi tasking system. There are a lot of commercial ones but also
some free ones, like the MCX system that you can download from Motorola's site.
See also: MIDI.