Unit 6: Micro-controllers - BTEC National Engineering additional FAQs
In this update you will find useful frequently asked questions about unit 6 - micro-controllers, hardware and software requirements and suitability.
The questions below have been compiled by Matrix Technology Solutions.
Pearson does not endorse any one proprietary product (hardware or software) over any other one and centres should choose an appropriate software and hardware solution from those that are outlined in the specification.
Can learners use Flowcode and E-blocks2 for the Pearson set assessment of Unit 6 Microcontroller Systems for Engineers?
Pearson has stated that both Flowcode and E-blocks are appropriate software and hardware solutions (respectively) for the Pearson set external assessment for Unit 6. There are also other hardware and software solutions available for Unit 6, as listed in the unit specification.
Flowcode is a general microcontroller Integrated Development Environment (IDE), which can be used with a wide range of hardware platforms and different types of microcontroller, including PIC and Arduino. Flowcode can also be used with 3rd party development boards and can be used with microcontrollers on breadboards and individual electronic components (e.g. Light Emitting Diodes [LEDs]) or user-designed Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs).
Both Arduino and PIC hardware families listed in Unit 6 are available in the E-blocks and E-blocks2 range.
Flowcode can also be used together with E-blocks or they can be used independently with other approved hardware and software solutions.
Can my learners use a copy of Flowcode at home on their own laptop/PC?
If you have bought academic Flowcode licence for your centre (educational institution), then learners will be eligible to use Flowcode at home without charge.
To gain access to Flowcode at home centres will need to send Matrix Technology Solutions an Excel spreadsheet containing the following learner details: first name (column A), second name (column B) and email address (column C). The licence activation code will automatically be sent to the learner’s personal email account.
I do not have a microcontroller or electronics background or experience. How should I approach unit 6 Microcontroller Systems for Engineers?
If you have limited experience in using microcontrollers and/or computer programming, then a flowchart programming solution, such as Flowcode, may be a suitable option for you and your learners.
Flowcode is an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) software, which allows learners/users to write computer programs using flowcharts. Flowcode currently has many academic and professional users. The software is used by some professional users for rapid prototyping or for product development work when the engineering team is small and if they lack specialist embedded engineering skills.
I have a learner who has used the ‘C’ programming language before, how can this be incorporated into Flowcode?
Flowcode allows users to program using flowcharts and also allows more advanced users to program in ‘C’. As inputting ‘C code’, and switching between flowchart and ‘C code’ mode is easy, this approach can help a beginner become a more experienced computer programmer.