Hello Friends, I hope you are fine and having fun in your lives. Today I am going to tell you about the 6 necessary Embedded Tools.It's the next episode in the Embedded systems tutorials. So, first of all, we had a look at What is Embedded System? and we have also understood What is Embedded Computer? Then we had a look at 8 things for learning embedded system programming , that can help you for the coding part of your system. An embedded system design includes both hardware and software. So it is good to know all the tools that are available and necessary for the said purpose.
In an embedded system you have to work with the software along with the hardware. You have to deal with sensors and actuators. Things are happening in real time. An embedded system keeps track of all the processes occurring in it and performs its operation. Embedded System programming is different from general programming. So, now what we need to know about is Embedded Tools. Today, I am gonna discuss the hardware embedded tools and after that I will share the software Embedded tools. That's the beauty of Embedded systems that along with programming as in Software you also have to be expert of hardware like electronics. Because without electronics you can't implement your Embedded Project. You should have a look at these Real Life Examples of Embedded systems and you will get clear about this fact, all these devices includes electronics parts. So, let's have a look at the 6 Necessary Embedded Tools:
There is a variety of embedded tools available out there for development of hardware and software for embedded systems. These embedded tools include editors, compilers, assemblers, debuggers, and simulators etc. for software part and soldering iron, desoldering gun, Digital Multimeter, oscilloscope, cutter, laptop etc. as hardware tools. All of the embedded tools are necessary and work together. After a short review of software tools, I am going to write about hardware tools which are the main focus of my article.
Software Embedded Tools
- The first step of the development process is writing code for your microcontroller.
- Various editors are available for different languages. Mostly code is written in assemble language or C language.
- First the code is written then it is compiled and debugged. A file is generated that is ready to be uploaded to your microcontroller.
- It is always good to use simulation tools during development process before finalizing your final product and converting into hardware.
- Using simulation tool reduces a lot of errors that you may encounter in your system. Also you can check different parameters of your system using your simulation software.
Hardware Embedded Tools
This is the main section of my article in which I am going to give you an idea of different hardware embedded tools and accessories needed to build an embedded system. Of course, you are going to connect components together to form a system, so you require a variety of tools. The components that you need may include sensors, actuators, microcontroller, converters etc. You can find information on components in my article on What is Embedded System? Now let’s talk about the tools in detail.
1. Soldering Iron
- The first tool among embedded tools that I am going to discuss here is soldering iron or soldering gun.
- As the name suggests, it is a tool used for soldering. A soldering iron supplies heat to melt a wire. This molten wire fills the space in the joints between two parts.
- To connect components together, or to fix components on your circuit board, you need to solder them. So soldering iron serves the purpose.
- A wire is used with this iron which is provided heat so that it melts down. This wire is called soldering wire.
- Mostly, these irons are supplied with electric current through cords or through batteries.
- The supplied current heats up the iron. The temperature of iron can be controlled in some models.
- This tool comes with a stand to keep the hot iron in a safe position.
- A wax and a sponge may also be provided with the gun to clean the tip after usage.
- The tip of a soldering iron can also be changed and removed easily. Tips of different shapes and sizes are used for different types of work pieces.
- A soldering iron is very light weight and easy to carry around. And really a very necessary tool in embedded system development.
2. Desoldering Gun
- Desoldering gun is also one of the important embedded tools. It is also named as desoldering pump.
- Desolder means to remove the solder usually from a joint. It serves the opposite function of a soldering gun.
- Sometimes we need to separate components from each other or to remove components from a circuit board as PCB (printed circuit board). This is required for repair or disassembling operation. So a desoldering iron is used in such cases.
- A desoldering iron removes the solder by sucking it. Due to this sucking operation, it is named as pump.
- A suction pump in this tool sucks the molten solder and makes the joint open again.
- This device is very useful to correct a wrong connected component.
3. Digital Multimeter
- A digital multimeter or DMM is a testing device among my list of embedded tools.
- This device is used to measure values of voltage, current and resistance.
- It is also used to check connectivity between two points.
- Digital multimeter is a standard testing tool for engineers and technicians.
- A DMM serves the function of three devices, ammeter for measuring current, voltmeter for measuring voltage and ohmmeter for measuring resistance. All the three devices come in this single package.
- It consists of a display that shows the measured value, slots for inserting test leads, few buttons such as power button and a switch to select operation you want to use.
- The test leads are inserted into DMM and then connected to the item being tested to form a closed circuit to the DMM.
- Measurement values such as volts, amperes or ohms are selected from the switch and result can be noted from the display.
- It is a very useful and must-have tool for embedded system developer.
- The next item in embedded tools is oscilloscope which is a testing device just like a digital multimeter.
- An oscilloscope is a device used to view voltage signals with respect to time. The signal is represented as a 2-D plot.
- It is commonly known as a Cathode Ray Oscilloscope (CRO) or simply a scope.
- An oscilloscope can be used to show more than one signal at the same time.
- This device is not just used for voltage signals, instead it can be used for other electric signals as well.
- The waveform represented by oscilloscope is calibrated and different characteristics of wave such as frequency, amplitude, wavelength, time intervals etc. can be measured through it.
- Now let’s move towards the next item which is a cutter.
- A cutter also known as wire cutter or clipper is used to cut jumper wires.
- Other than jumper wires, you can also use to cut copper, steel or other wires.
- Other than wire cutters, wire strippers are also used.
- A wire stripper is used to remove insulation from wires without cutting them.
- Now I am moving towards the last item on my embedded tools that is a laptop.
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- Laptop is among the most important tools required for embedded system development.
- You need a laptop from the very initial stage until the complete development of your product.
- Your laptop should be equipped with all required software tools that I mentioned earlier and an internet connection.
- You can search for suitable components for your system, write code and produce file for your microcontroller, simulate your system, have data sheets for all your components in it and much more.
All of the tools that I mentioned in this article are essential ones for working on embedded systems. I hope you will find this article informative.