In Circuit Debugger (ICD)

The creation and revision of embedded electronic systems is a discipline-specific skill that, like any other skill, requires continued practice with specialist equipment to achieve competence. The challenge faced by the University of the West Indies (UWI) Dept. of Electrical and Computer Engineering (DECE) was an inability to provide equipment for individual students to practice embedded electronic systems skills in their own time due to costs. The Microprocessors laboratory at the DECE UWI supports practical exercises for student instruction in embedded electronics. One key piece of laboratory equipment is the Microchip In Circuit Debugger (ICD). ICD units are subject to high demand. Prior to 2011/12, a cohort of approximately one hundred students was restricted to utilising ICD units during scheduled sessions within the 25-seat lab. The loss of five ICD units annually to irreparable damage, caused by improper student use, further exacerbated availability. The recurring cost of replacing equipment was significant not only because of the cost of the ICD units, but also because of the expense and delay associated with extra-regional sourcing of equipment. The low cost In Circuit Debugger (ICD) was conceived as a modification of the existing open source design to reduce device cost, increase robustness and allow for the repair of the units on site. The product design was also tailored to allow for its use in instructing students in product design and electronics manufacture. The final product was priced at 20% the cost of the commercial unit and the total design cycle was four (4) months.   fasove_icd1