For learning microprocessor instruction sets; is it best to begin with motorola 6800?

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by omurray, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. omurray

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 30, 2014

    Sadly, the electronics engineering technology department at the small town community college I am at uses old motorola 8-bit training stations from labvolt. I peeked at the projects manual for one of the trainers and I don't yet understand it but the projects seemed to teach the instruction set and the organization of the processor. Would this teach me classic underpinnings/pricipals that I could draw upon to understand modern 32-bit processors? There is a ray of hope shining through the glass: One of the more caring instructors finally obtained manuals for 32-bit Intel 80386 trainers (labvolt). If I want to learn principals of microprocessors; should I go with the old 8-bit...after all this is near the introduction of the information age. *Or* would it be best to work with the 32-bit processor...for learning basics that could lead to FPGAs...or automation applications?


  2. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    You have to crawl before you can run. Start with the Motorola 8 bit lab kit. Everything you need to know about the basic controller operations will be there in a much easier to understand instruction set. Intel is a horrible architecture for a beginner.
  3. DickCappels


    Aug 21, 2008
    What you learn will transfer very easily to other families and there is little in the way of "weird trickery" in Motorla CPUs that will lead you to habits that you can't sustain with modern controllers. Besides, when you jump to 32 bit controllers, you will probably be more concerned with the compiler than the native instruction set. The understanding you get with 8 bit systems will serve you well there too.
  4. Little Ghostman


    Jan 1, 2014
    I thought Motorola had been taken over by Freescale? most the product line killed off, IIRC microchip offer a couple of replacement parts for some the legacy stuff, maybe 8051 would be better? there are plenty of companies breathing life into the 8051 and stepping up to arm is easy enough.
  5. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    Motorola still exists. The Motorola Semiconductor Division was renamed to Freescale Semiconductor.

    While the MC6800 is obsolete there is nothing wrong with learning machine code and assembler language instruction on the 6800.

    The architecture and instruction set of the MC6800 is very basic and a good starting point into learning about microcontrollers. The knowledge gained transfers very well to more modern processors.

    For an excellent pdf document on learning about microcontrollers see:

    Understanding Small Microcontrollers
  6. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
    Expierence begins from where you start. Since you are on the starting line it really does not matter what you learn, the basic principles will carry over to other processors.

    Each product line has a completely different instruction set for the others. That's life.

    I seriously cannot even guess how many assembly or programming languages I have learned over my career, but I am sure you can add two if you count high school and about 6 more for college alone, and I was not a CS major.
  7. Art

    Distinguished Member

    Sep 10, 2007
    If you want to punish yourself with such limited resource,
    then if you stick it out with that it would probably help later.
    It would be like Christmas to pick up a new micro.
  8. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
    You can pick up a microcontroller kit for very little money. Anyway the 6800 kit will be much better than nothing if it still works that is. Remember that many microcontrollers are based on a 8 bit core. So if you learn about and understand the concept of 8 bit microprocessors this will for sure not be wasted then jumping into the world of microcontrollers
  9. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    The MSP430G2553 LaunchPad is an inexpensive way to get started.
    The MC6800 core is a good starting point to many modern Freescale, TI and Atmel AVR microcontrollers.
  10. KeepItSimpleStupid

    Well-Known Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    The MSP430 the documentation is not concise and is all over the map. TI doesn't know how to organize a "family of chips".

    NXP has HUGE pdf's for documentation.
    albsure likes this.
  11. albsure

    New Member

    Apr 1, 2012
    Hi all,
    First, the goal of any class is to impress the instructor and PASS. Learning anything useful is optional.

    Ideally, the process yields something of use in the contemporary business world. For this, I recommend to also look at ARM's resources (ARM University) which are available and in use for several years. The mbed community is vast and supportive ( of teaching microcontrollers for modern applications. In fact, programmers seldom get to the instruction set level especially with ARM as the focus is on higher level C/C++ programming.
    As a 1993 Computer Science graduate, I can't remember one time when I could attribute solving a problem to the Motorola 68000 Computer Architecture class we took...
  12. MrChips


    Oct 2, 2009
    I'm glad you're not in my class.
    absf and nsaspook like this.
  13. KeepItSimpleStupid

    Well-Known Member

    Mar 4, 2014
    albsure is 100% correct. I'll add "A piece of paper as quickly as possible". That's how I ended up with a 4.0 GPA. I got out of classes by petitioning and then managed to take two classes as a ghost. One professor, pretty much said "If you have better things to do, don't bother coming to class."

    When I used the other method, I failed miserably. Spit back what the teacher wants to see. This is identical in the workplace. Spit out what the boss wants,

    I then went back to the school I failed miserably and eventually graduated from there while on a "leave of absence" from the school I graduated from.
  14. Brownout

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 10, 2012
    I actually went to college to learn... and was able to do just that. BTW, my first processor was Z80, and I was never held back because of it. The principles have always transferred.
    absf likes this.
  15. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    I went to collage to learn, get a paper to hang on the wall and to collect my Vietnam era GI bill money before time ran out. :D

    The Z80 family was a fine line of machines that were much better integrated than the Intel 8080 8085 of the same era. The TLCS-870 has a Z80 like instruction set.

    It's also pretty easy to emulate a virtual Z80 machine on a PIC32 class processor.
    absf likes this.
  16. nigelwright7557

    Senior Member

    May 10, 2008
    If you want a cheap starter kit then get a £20 pickit3 off ebay.
    You can then change output pins to do things.
    The dev software is free.

    Personally I hate PIC's but they do provide a very cheap alternative.