2.0. Design Specifications
2.1. Core Objectives
1. Design and construct the hardware required for data acquisition, including analogue circuit design for insuring input voltage falls between 0 and 5V (ADC min and max range).
2. Pick a transport medium for relaying data to the PC (USB, RS232, parallel or PCI) and discuss the advantages, disadvantages and the reasons why it was picked. Design and construct the hardware required (e.g. MAX232, etc…) to interface the PIC microcontroller with the chosen medium.
3. Design a communication protocol for relaying data from the PIC to the PC in real-time (perhaps including a check-sum or CRC). Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using a check-sum or CRC in this real-time mode.
4. Design a Windows based C++ application capable of displaying low-frequency waveforms (up-to 4 channels simultaneously <5 KHz) in real-time (i.e. the graphic subsystem). This application should directly communicate with the PIC using the chosen transport medium. The application must be user-friendly and should be Windows 95/98/NT/ME/2000/XP compatible.
5. Design PIC embedded software for reading the ADC at a certain sample rate and transferring the data to the PC in real-time.
6. A basic simulation program for simulating the PIC microcontroller, allowing the communication protocol to be tested before the hardware has been constructed. This simulation program should be able to simulate a waveform at an adjustable frequency, hence making it possible to easily test the graphic display and triggering methods in the windows based oscilloscope program.
7. Demonstrate the entire system working together as a basic real-time low-frequency oscilloscope (<5 KHz).
2.2. Further Development
1. Add storage oscilloscope functionally to the low-frequency (<5 kHz) PC based real-time oscilloscope specified in the ‘core objectives’ increasing it’s sampling frequency to at least 20 kHz, hence making it possible to monitor sound-waves using this oscilloscope.
2. Using external ADC with direct memory access, explain how it would be possible to monitor high-frequency waveforms (storage oscilloscope >3MHz) even if the transport medium between the PIC microcontroller and the PC is much slower than the sample rate.
3. Investigate how far this storage technique can be pushed, what are the limits?
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