Microprocessors (aka Micro-controllers) are tiny computers embedded in household items, such as televisions, washing machines, burglar alarms and greenhouses. Through the use of input and output connections they can monitor and control the devices in real time.
- Wired / wireless internet connectivity – so that they can be monitored, controlled and updated over the internet.
- They have a number of input ports, so that they can be connected to buttons and sensors.
- Output ports, so that they can turn on motors, devices or alarms.
- The use usually low power devices, meaning they down use a large amount of electricity, especially in standby mode.
Microprocessor control applicationsÂ often use input sensors with preset values – these values are used to control when certain actions will happen.
Computer Controlled Glass Houses
- Temperature sensors
- Soil moisture level sensors
- Humidity Sensors
- Motors to open and close the windows to the glass house in order to control the temperature
- Motors to pump water from storage containers into the soil to water the plants
- Thermostat temperature setting to trigger the motors
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Green house : source
We don’t think of washing machines as computers, but modern washing machines contain a microprocessor that controls all of the complex washing cycles that modern washing machines have.
- Water sensors – to check if the watch has drained / has filled to the correct level
- Temperature sensors – to see if the water has heated up to the required temperature for the wash.
- Vibration sensors – if the machine is incorrectly loaded and vibrates too much, the machine will switch off to avoid damage to the machine and avoid a potenital leak.
- Turn on the motors that spin the machine
- Turn on the draining pumps
- Turn on the heating coil that heats the water
The dial on the front of the machine has a number of preset values:
- The washing temperature
- The cycle type (eco, intense, soak)
- The spin speed
Automatic cookers are becoming increasingly popular, especially for those people who want to eat quality home-cooked food, but work full-time.
They can be used to cook a variety of meals and foods, including:
- Slow-cooked stews
- Pies, Pastries and Bread
- The cookers have temperature sensors to detect when the cooker has reached the desired temperature
- The cookers turn on and off the heating elements
- The cookers often also output a sound or tune when the food has finished cooking
Preset values include:
- The cooking temperature
- The programme type ( what type of meal is being cooked)
- Start time / delay so food only starts cooking at a certain time.
Burglar alarm systems have become increasingly popular, and now have a vast array of different sensors and control devices.
- Heat sensors
- Pressure sensors
- Infra-red sensors
- Magnetic reed switches
- Audio and visual alarms
- Automatic text / email notifications
- Automatic police telephone calls
- Lockdown motors that protect expensive items / rooms
- Arm / disarm times
- Sensitivity levels – to cope with pets
Source – Wikimedia
Central heating systems now include increasingly complex micro-processing units. Modern systems can be controlled via an app on your phone, or even control themselves through location and behavior monitoring.
- Temperature input
- Location sensors ( central heating only activates when the owner comes home)
- Turn on the boiler
- Close automated windows and vents
- Temperature setting on the dial
- Heating on/off times
Activity – Micro-controller Control Application Slides
Create a copy of the Google Slides on the right hand side of this tab. Using the first slide as a template, complete the additional slides.
Note: You must be logged in to Google to make a copy of the slides document.
IPO card sorting activity
Venn diagram style sorting cards where you sort in to Sensor inputs, Preset values, outputs