Fundamentals of MCUs - A free online workshop

-November 26, 2013

With each passing year, microcontrollers are becoming smaller and using less energy while at the same time increasing in capabilities and computational power. The result has been the birth of a computational revolution resulting in mobile connected devices, the internet-of-things, the smart grid and a large number of intelligent environments. To get right to the point, MCUs are everywhere and they are being put in more and more applications with each passing day.

The rapid rate at which these technologies are progressing is quickly tearing a chasm in knowledge base of many engineers. Engineers have traditionally had the time and permission to attend trade shows, continuing education courses and even private training. Unfortunately as the time-to-market has decreased and budgets have been constrained, it has been difficult for engineers to find time to get training and learn about current trends in industry.

Thankfully, EE Times University has created a series of online courses that engineers can attend, with the latest addition being entitled “Fundamentals of MCUs – A Hands-on Workshop”. The title begs the question of how one might have a hands-on workshop that is performed over the internet. The answer and one of the very exciting points of this series is that the first 1000 US registrants will receive a free STMicroelectronics STM32F4 Discovery Board! What happens if you don’t make it into the lucky 1000? There is no reason to fret! The STM32F4 Discovery Board is a low cost development platform that can be picked up at Digikey for around $33 so it’s still easy to purchase a board and follow along with the lectures!

Figure. The first 1000 US registrants will receive a free STMicroelectronics STM32F4 Discovery Board.

The series is uniquely setup such that the first two lecture sessions contain an overview of MCUs, current trends in the industry and what you need in order to properly select one. There is even a discussion surrounding the low energy power states available on these ARM M4 development kits. These first two sessions (December 2nd and 3rd) provide a starting point from which to wet an engineer’s appetite while they await the discovery boards’ arrival.

The remaining three sessions (December 11th, 12th, and 13th) provide a healthy balance of lecture and hands-on labs. Starting with the third session, attendees learn about the capabilities and scalability of the STM32F4 discovery board platform while poking around and getting a board up and running by blinking some LEDs and learning what software libraries are available to make one’s life easier.

The fourth session will kick-off with an overview of digital signal processing (DSP) and some of the applications where an engineer could use some extra floating point assistance. The STM32F429 has a hardware floating point processor unit onboard and attendees will get the opportunity to perform benchmark testing on the FPU through the IAR Embedded Workbench compiler.

Finally, the series concludes with a session on graphics processing! A lecture surrounding the fundamentals of how to put information on a display along with three action packed graphics labs will certainly keep engineers at the edge of their seats! The best part about it is that these labs provide a jumping off point where attendees will be able to easily implement their own concepts and create their own experiments!
For those interested in learning more or registering for the series, simply click the calendar link below (don’t forget the first 1000 attendees will receive a free development kit!):

Jacob Beningo is an embedded system consultant and lecturer. He works with companies to decrease costs and time to market while maintaining a quality and robust product. He also offers coaching and hands-on training to help engineers enhance their embedded skillset. Feel free to contact him at or at his website

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