hand held computer: an introduction - CiteSeerX


Journal of Electron Devices, Vol. 9, 2011, pp. 371-377 © JED [ISSN: 1682 -3427 ]

HAND HELD COMPUTER: AN INTRODUCTION S.A. Quadri, Othman Sidek, and Shahid Kabir Collaborative Microelectronic Design Excellence Centre (CEDEC), Universiti Sains Malaysia, Engineering Campus, 14300 Nibong Tebal, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia, Tel: +604-5995800; Fax: 604-5930920, Email: [email protected] Received 19 February 2011, accepted 9 March 2011, online 17 March 2011

Keywords: Hand held computer, compiler, embedded C. Abstract Computers have come to our assistance in our every walk of life. Although we consider the computers to be technological marvels, the desktop computer could do many things for us, but if we want computer like assistance as a mobile device, we need a compact hand held computer with processing power, keypad, display and a mini built-in printer. There was drastic achievement of computer technology in 90„s. Development of hand held device and their real time application was a remarkable land mark in the decade. The paper focus few basics about hand held device which is developed in the research lab. portable, 1. INTRODUCTION every aspect the companies or government sector‟s 1980‟s,




systems have historically relied upon manual systems for collecting and managing data. Sorting, loading and issuing bills were systematic, but required manual data entry at several stages. The personnel at the site carry large volumes of books, files and receipts that contain all the details. The whole process was very much time consuming and confusing also for the new workers. They have to work hard to understand all those details. The cumbersome process was eliminated with the advent of hand held machine [1]. Thus in order to decrease man power and eliminate manual blunders and save time, hand held computer with processing power, keypad, display and a mini built-in printer was excellent solution.



Hand held computer (HHC) is an electromechanical device with limited memory required for the specific function therefore it is quite cheaper than the PDA, Palmtop and laptop [3]. Its affordable price makes it easy to users to have it for its versatile usage. HHC are more rugged and are designed to present the user with a simple onequestion one-answer environment rather than the normal windows office automation screens. The application software is so simple that any nontechnical common person can use it. Hand held computer has made lot of impact on society





developing countries in Asia and Africa.


Digital Education Enhancement Project (DEEP) which was started in South Africa is a research and development project, focusing upon transforming the pedagogic knowledge and practice of teachers

Hawkins and his team developed the GriDPad in 1998, the first successful hand held. It was large and awkward, but it worked [2].

purpose computers

development of latest palmtops.

Despite of rapid growth and development in in


The churning

ideas for employing this technology in very small,

to the communities in which they live and work was incorporated with the use of hand held device [4]. The first phase of the DEEP project was implemented in primary schools in Egypt and

S.A. Quadri et al, Journal of Electron Devices, Vol. 9, 2011, pp. 371-377

South Africa, with 48 teachers (two per school) and

Decreases man power.

over 2000 pupils between January 2002 and March

Easy and simple to operate.

2003 participating teachers carried out and


evaluated a sequence of curriculum focused, school


based professional development activities using a


range of new technologies, including hand held computers . The majority of participants were new to the use of hand held computers [5]. The following sections discuses few advantages and some technical details of development of HHC and finally conclude with the it‟s real time application as a mobile device to issue water bills at the door step. 2. GENERAL ADVANTAGES OF HHC Hand held computer (HHC) is a portable compact-computing device. It has user interface to interact with user, it has 16-bit processor and a printer built-in. This can be carried to any field Figure 1. Hand held computer

application site. This device works by downloading the application from a desktop computer and


carried to the fields to use it. It loads master data

The primary task is to program the micro

from desktop, collects the data, prints the bills at

controller XAG3 to work as a hand held computer.

customer site and uploads the data collected from

The detailed study of internal architecture of

customer onto the desktop computer from hand

XAG3[6] and hardware interfaces[7] is essential to

held computer. As shown in figure1. It is integrated

write application programs .The micro controller

with 36 keys keypad for input, 4X20 LCD matrix

XAG3, member of Philips 80C51 family is used

screen for display and 24-column dot matrix printer for printing.

having special features like high speed, low power

With all these features and flexible

consumption and high memory capacity and

down loadable applications the embedded device

support for multitasking serial communications[8].

HHC can be used in many applications like, on

The code for the application program is written in

spot bill issue for electricity billings at the

Embedded C language [9-11]. But we cannot get

consumer site, stock verification in grocery, ticket

the required output with simple application code,

issue for buses or railways etc.

for this the drivers of HHC have to be developed.

Few general advantages are listed down. 

It is portable.

It is scalable.

It provides mobile data collection.

It saves time.

It provides spot billings.

Elimination of manual blunders.

Thus drivers for LCD, printer, RTC, ADC and serial communication have to be developed. These drivers are like subroutines or libraries, which are called by the application programs [12-13]. These device driver programs [14] have to be executed in tasking compiler [15].

Tasking EDE compiler

generates a hex code, which has to be is burnt into


S.A. Quadri et al, Journal of Electron Devices, Vol. 9, 2011, pp. 371-377

XAG3. In this project we have developed device

The XA-G39 contains 32 Kbytes of flash program

drivers for HHC and application down loadable

memory, and provides three general purpose

program. HHC can be used in many applications

timers/counters, a watchdog timer, dual UARTs,

like, on spot bill issuing, maintaining records and


mobile data collections.

programmable output configurations. A default












serial loader program in the Boot ROM allows In-

compiled and executed on the same system but in

System Programming (ISP) of the flash memory

embedded system we have cross-compilers that are,

without the need for a loader in the flash code. User

the program is developed and compiled in one

programs may erase and reprogram the flash

system and is executed in other system.

memory at will through the use of standard routines

Tasking EDE compiler is used as a development

contained in the Boot ROM (In-application

tool for writing device drivers as well as


application programs. The code is written in

3.4. Keypad

embedded C .We are making Hex file of the

The predominant interface between human and

program which has to be downloaded into target

computers is the keypad or keyboard. The keypad


application program must guard against the following possibilities like more than one key pressed, key pressed and held or rapid key pressed

3.1. Hardware requirements Processor (Operating speed 30 MHz) Flash Memory: Random Access Memory Keypad

and released. The universal key characteristic is

16bit XA Processor (XA-G3) 56K x 8 Bit 1024Kx8 Bit.

the ability to bounce. The key contacts vibrate open and closed for a number of milliseconds when the key is hit and often when is released. The key may

Real Time Clock (RTC) Battery Interface Printer Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)

6x6alpha numeric keypad with 36 keys PCF8563 (32.768 kHz)

be debounced by using proper time delays in

NiMH battery with 6V and 1.6 AH. RJ-16 (2Nos). 24 column DOT matrix printer 4/20 Characters with backlight

3.5. RTC (Real Time Clock)








CMOS for


real-time power

consumption. A programmable clock output, interrupt output and voltage-low detectors are also provided. All address and data are transferred serially via a two-line bi-directional I2C-bus.

3.2. Software requirements

Maximum bus speed is 400 Kbits/s. The built-in Operating system

Win9x, 2000, Me, XP.


Tasking EDE Compiler.

after each written or read data byte.


Assembly, C, Embedded C.

3.6. Flash memory

word address register is incremented automatically

The flash is 5-volt-only in the system flash programmable and erasable read only memory

3.3. XA-G3 Microprocessor

(PEROM). Its 2Mb of memory is organized as

The XA-G39 is a member of Philips 80C51 XA (eXtended




262,144 bytes.



performance 16-bit single-chip micro controllers.



Manufactured with Atmel‟s volatile



S.A. Quadri et al, Journal of Electron Devices, Vol. 9, 2011, pp. 371-377

Reprogramming the flash is performed on a sector

to develop the entire product using assembly code.

basis; 256 Bytes of data are loaded into the device

With many projects, this is a feasible approach

and then simultaneously programmed. In circuit

since the amount of code that must be generated is

programming and erasing allows its use when

typically less than 8 kilobytes and is relatively

loading an updated version of your program‟s

simple in nature. The trouble with projects done

object code into memory through a serial interface.

with assembly code can is that they can be difficult to read and maintain, especially if they are not well commented. Additionally, the amount of code

3.7. EPROM The EPROM is a high speed, low power consumption



reusable from a typical assembly language project


is usually very low. Use of a higher-level language

programmable read only memory organized as

like C can directly address these issues. A program

131,072 S8 bits. It requires only one supply in the

written in C is easier to read than an assembly

range of 5V+-5% in normal read mode.

program. Since a C program possesses greater


provides an electrical chip erase function.

structure, it is easier to understand and maintain.

3.8. RAM

Because of its modularity, a C program can better

1MB of external RAM (data) is used. RD (read)

lend itself to reuse of code from project to project.

and WR (write) signals are needed during external

The division of code into functions will force better

RAM accesses.

structure of the software and lead to functions that

The low mode enables write

option whereas high mode enables read option.

can be taken from one project and used in another,

3.9. Printer

thus reducing overall development time. A high

The printer used here is 24-line dot matrix

order language such as C allows a developer to

printer. It consists of a motor, main solenoid (home

write code, which resembles a human's thought,

position) and seven printer solenoids. The motor is

process more closely than does the equivalent

used for the movement of the printer head, which

assembly code. The developer can focus more time

must be enabled initially. Main solenoid must also

on designing the algorithms of the system rather

be enabled whenever the printing starts. Initially

than having to concentrate on their individual

the printer head must be brought to home position


.A printer head has 7 print wires (solenoids)

development time and lower debugging time since

arranged in a vertical column and electromagnetic

the code is more understandable. By using a

mechanism able to shoot the wires.

language like C, the programmer does not have to

3.10. Power supply

be intimately familiar with the architecture of the





NiMH battery is used as the power supply for the

processor. This means that someone new to a given

HHC. When the battery is fully charged it contains

processor can also be able to develop a project and

6v. We will get the low battery indication at 5.3

make it run, since the internals and organization of

Volts. When it reaches 4.8 V it will stop working

the target processor do not have to be learned.

and we have to charge it completely.

Additionally, code developed in C will be more

3.11. Software platform to program micro

portable to other systems than code developed in













compilers available, which support ANSI C.

embedded system with the 8051, it is very common



S.A. Quadri et al, Journal of Electron Devices, Vol. 9, 2011, pp. 371-377

offers a number of simulators and target hardware

3.12. Embedded C The C programming language was designed for

debuggers. The generic name of the debugger

computers, though, and not embedded systems. It

product is Cross View Pro.

does not support direct access to registers, nor does EDE is an integrated software development

it allow for the reading and setting of single bits,

platform that compiles a powerful editor, project

two very important requirements for 8051 software. In





manager with a make facility. EDE supports all


TASKING tools for all targets and is at the same

accustomed to writing programs that will be

time designed to be open and extensible (i.e.

executed by an operating system, which provides

integrate with third party tools). EDE integration

system calls, the program may use to access the

helps to develop your embedded application by

hardware. However, much code for the 8051 is

providing the user friendly features.

written for direct use on the processor, without an

3.14. Downloading code to target processor

operating system. To support this, the Keil/Tasking

The final step in development environment is to

Compiler has added several extensions to the C

down load the Hex code to the target device, which

language to replace what might have normally been

comprises of development processor and target

implemented in a system call, such as the

processor. The development processor is nothing

connecting of interrupt handlers.

but the processor on which we write and debug our

Associated Compiler Experts (ACE) announced

programs. This can be an ordinary PC loaded with

that C language extensions have been officially

a tasking compiler (TC) on which we can develop a

adopted and approved as part of the industry

C-program and convert it into an output format,

specification by the ISO technical committee. The

which the micro controller can understand.

resulting efforts can be found in technical Report


shown in the figure 2 the various C files are

18037[16], extensions for programming language

compiled/assembled and linked to generate an

C to support embedded processors. The Embedded

Obj/Hex file, which is downloaded to the target

C technical report specifies a range of extensions to

processor using a device programmer. The Cross-

the ISO/IEC 9899:1999 C language specification,

compiler is used here assembles or compiles code

also known as ISO C99 usually known as

on development processor (PC) for use on target

Embedded C.

processor (here on HHC). The code runs in a real 3.13. Tasking EDE compiler

time environment.

The TASKING EDE (cross compiler) differs from a native program development; a native program development is often used to develop applications for systems where the target and the host system are one. Therefore, it is possible to run a compiled application directly from the interactive development





environment this is no longer true. Of course you can still compile a module and make it compile error free. However, to run an application, a

Figure 2. Downloading code to target processor

simulator or target hardware is required. TASKING


S.A. Quadri et al, Journal of Electron Devices, Vol. 9, 2011, pp. 371-377

question one-answer environment rather than the 4. APPLICATION DESCRIPTION

normal windows office automation screens. The

4.1. HHC used for water billing

application software is so simple that any common

The real time application developed in our

person could use it. Though it lacks many advance

project is spot water billing at the doorstep using

features like internet connectivity but its simplicity

HHC. A simple receipt at customer door step is

compliments it to become a versatile real time data

shown in the figure 3.

collecting machine. REFERENCES [1] Eric G. Swedin and David L Ferro, “Computers: The Life Story of a Technology”, Johns Hopkins press, Baltimore, Page 21- 31, (2005). [2] Leigh Estabrooks, Inventor Archive, (2005), http://web.mit.edu/invent/iow/hawkinsj.html [3] Harry Henderson, “Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology”, Facts on File publishers, New York (2003). [4] Jenny Leach, Tom Power, Rhodri Thomas, Xolisa Fadani and Andile M, 4D Technologies: appropriating handheld computers to serve the needs of teachers and learners in rural African settings, In the proceedings of 4th World conference on Mobile Learning Cape Town, South Africa, pages 1-17, (2005). [5] Leach, J. and Moon, B. “Globalization, digital societies and school reform: realising the potential of new technologies to enhance the knowledge, understanding and dignity of teachers”, 2nd European Conference on Information Technologies in Education and Citizenship, Barcelona. (2002). [6] Architecture of XA-G3 – Phillips Manual (http://www.datasheetarchive.com/XA-SCCdatasheet.html) [7] B.V.Gaonkar, “Interfacing with Microprocessors”, Wiley Eastern Ltd, (1993). [8] Muhammad Ali Mazidi and Janice Gillispie Mazidi, “8051 Microcontroller and Embedded Systems”, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, (2000). [9] Yashwant Kanitkar, “Programming with „C‟”, 4th edition, BPB publications, New Delhi, India, (2000). [10] Balaguruswamy, “Programming in ANSI C”, 2nd Edition, McGraw-Hill Education, New Delhi, India (1994). [11] David E Simons, “An embedded software primer”, Addison-Wesley Professional, Boston, US, (1999).

Figure 3. Bill print out 5. CONCLUSION The results of technology will be fruitful only when it reaches common man. The paper discussed the development of hand held device to collect water bills at spot. Hand held computer (HHC) is such a device that any non technical person can easily handle it. With limited memory required for the specific function it is quite cheaper.


affordable price makes it easy to users to have it for its versatile usage. HHC are more rugged and are designed to present the user with a simple one-


S.A. Quadri et al, Journal of Electron Devices, Vol. 9, 2011, pp. 371-377 [12] John catsoulis, “Designing embedded hardware”, O'Reilly media, Inc, Sebastopol, CA, (2002). [13] Art Baker and Jerry Lozano, “The Windows 2000 Device Driver Book: A Guide for Programmers”, 2 nd edition, prentice hall New Jersey, (2000). [14] Chris Cant, “Writing Windows WDM Device Drivers”, CMP Books, Kansas, USA, (1999). [15] Tasking EDE Manual, http://www.tasking.com/products/8051.htm [16] Wg Iso Iec, Report ISO/IEC WDTR 18037, http://www.openstd.org/jtc1/sc22/wg14/www/docs/n936.pdf



hand held computer: an introduction - CiteSeerX

Journal of Electron Devices, Vol. 9, 2011, pp. 371-377 © JED [ISSN: 1682 -3427 ] HAND HELD COMPUTER: AN INTRODUCTION S.A. Quadri, Othman Sidek, and S...

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