Frequency Synthesizer

The Electrical Engineering Department at Northern Arizona University (NAU, where I am a student) provides a senior level capstone design course for students. The senior students are grouped into teams and work with sponsors to complete an advanced engineering project. Our senior capstone design team is working with our sponsor, Wulfsberg Electronics, and we will be designing and implementing a frequency synthesizer for them. Wulfsberg Electronics is designing a new communication radio product that will utilize newer and smaller parts than those currently being used, and our project will be a part of their new product.

Currently, two members of our group are working on the VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) and other analog portions of the design; and the other two team members (including me) are working on the MCU (microcontroller) that will interface the frequency synthesizer and HyperTerminal for controlling the frequency output. The MCU will connect directly to two things: [1] a PLL chip (phase-locked loop) that allows fractional division of an external clock, locking on a specified frequency; and [2] an MAX-232 chip for serial communication with HyperTerminal, so that a person can set and read the frequency.

We are keeping a separate website for the project that is hosted on the NAU servers, but I have copied the web pages over to my website here: mike-thomson.com/school/Wulfsberg/. Check there for details and updates to the project. However, I will soon be posting on this blog how we built the programmer for the Atmel MCU we used, what problems to avoid, and what software IDE is free and will work.

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