Back to main page

Also see the Product comparison chart

Question #1:  Why should I select the HCS12 / 9S12 family?


  1. Freescale has dominated university programs since the 1980s. Many professors have taught 6800, 68HC11 and 68HC12 courses so it's easier to migrate to the HCS12 / 9S12 than to other microcontroller families.  Programs written for those processors will run on the HCS12 / 9S12 without any modifications or with only minor changes in register and memory addresses.

  2. HCS12 / 9S12 microcontrollers that are used in EVBplus trainers are powerful 16-bit CPUs at 24MHz bus speed with 256K flash, 12K RAM, 4K EEPROM, and great on-chip hardware resources including PWM, ADC, SCI, SPI, I2C, CAN,  and TIMERs. If you choose a controller with a small memory size, your students may encounter problems pertaining to memory usage and they have to pay close attention on memory usage and stack overflow every time they modify their code. Instead of learning microcontroller architecture and programming, your students may have to struggle for fitting their program code into the small memory size. A small low cost controller with a tiny amount of memory and I/O is beautiful in a commercial design, like a garage door opener or a microwave oven, but will limit what your students can learn in the class and particularly penalize some students whose bright ideas can be killed and potentials cannot be fulfilled. If we all are building very simple applications in the classroom, all controllers might seem equal in the final result, but when the demand increases for on-chip memory size and I/O resources in a more advanced course, the HCS12 family will truly stand out from the crowd. You will really appreciate the potential of the HCS12 / 9S12 family.

  3. HCS12 / 9S12 microcontrollers come with a clearly defined, powerful instruction set that is easy to understand, easy to use and easy to memorize. No other controllers come even close and nothing better than starting with a well organized instruction set for a freshman to learn embedded programming.

    re are many microcontrollers with different architectures available to be chosen from, but however the goal in the class is to understand how microcontrollers work and build some applications using them in a short period of time. The easiest to use microcontroller is of upmost importance, and price and physical size of a microcontroller really is unimportant.

  4. Freescale offers the best debugging tools for execution monitoring and source-level debugging at no charge, drastically decreasing development time. That really sets the HCS12 family apart from others controllers. The HCS12 / 9S12 chip comes in a large 112-pin LQFP package and while it may cost more than some of the other small microcontrollers, coupled with the savings from rapid development, the total system cost is very cost effective.  Freescale's D-Bug12 monitor and industrial grade Code Warrior licenses are free and are much easier to use than any other ASCII-based debuggers and development environments available.


Question #2:  Why should I select a EVBplus trainer?


  1. EVBplus trainers are high-quality products with great features at a reasonable price.

  2. EVBplus trainers are popular in universities and textbooks for EVBplus trainers are easy to find.

  3. Course material such as lab manuals, lab assignments and sample programs for EVBplus trainers are available on many university web sites. If you are thinking about starting a new HCS12 course,  these sites offer sample programs in course materials and lab assignments that will save you a lot of time.

  4. Excellent, quick technical support is available via phone or email.  During business hours, you can talk to a real person over the phone, not an answering machine.  With EVBplus, you will get answers immediately without having to wait days or weeks.

  5. We provide our trainers to many universities and students, so we keep many trainers in stock for quick delivery. EVBplus trainers are developed and made in the USA.

  6. EVBplus trainers are highly reusable. Many trainers with limited functionality designed for a simple course  are often put in closets after the course is over, but with many hardware features available on EVBplus trainers quite a few students will continue to use them on the job or in the field after completing training.

  7. EVBplus provides a one-year limited warranty and a 30-day money back guarantee for all products.


Question #3:  Which EVBplus trainer should I select?


There are typically two different teaching styles among professors.  Some professors prefer (1) all-in-one boards while others prefer (2) minimal systems that allow students to easily add hardware on solderless breadboards. We have trainers that are perfect for either approach:

  1. If your students cannot construct all hardware circuitry for different lab assignments due to time constraints in a short course or the focus of the course is embedded software development, then we recommend our Dragon12 Plus-USB  or MiniDragon-Plus3 board to teach embedded systems. All hardware components are already on the board when a course starts and there will be no time wasted on debugging any unproven hardware circuitry.

    If embedded systems is taught in more than one class, the Dragon12-Plus-USB board supports both a simple introduction to embedded systems as well as a more sophisticated embedded systems lab including CAN, I2C, SPI, DAC, motors and servos.  In the simple introductory course, your students can still build simple application circuits on the breadboard included with the Dragon12-Plus-USB board.  More advanced courses can take advantage of the Dragon12-Plus-USB' additional hardware features.

    Students can also use an all-in-one board for senior design projects.  The on-board versatile hardware peripherals are helpful in quickly and efficiently developing advanced projects. This is one advantage of selecting an all-in-one trainer. There are several examples where students have used EVBplus's training boards in the field while taking an embedded course. OIT student A. Raydt Vaz, for example, created an Instrument Validator to validate a manufacturing process and improve productivity for his employer.  You can see his project at the end of the page at: His employer has already received a great return on investment from his education before he even finished the course -- they'll be approving his next tuition reimbursement request!

  2. If hands-on experience is a high priority in your course and your student will have enough time for constructing all required hardware circuitry during the semester then we recommend our ThunderBird12 or Dragonfly12-Plus DIP module with our RoadRunner USB+POWER stick.  This is a 'STAMP' type minimal system that allows students to easily add hardware on a solderless breadboard.  It costs less than an all-in-one board and there are few I/O devices on the module itself. Rather, the students are responsible for designing, implementing and testing all external hardware devices connected to the module on a solderless breadboard.  This minimal system allows students to experience the hardware in a real and physical sense. Students gain hands-on experience and learn how to debug hardware failures while debugging their software. 

    Students can also use the minimal system for senior design projects in which a small physical size is required. This is one advantage of selecting a minimal system.

    Our new minimal system can be powered from a USB port and it eliminates a clumsy DB9 RS232 cable, a USB to RS232 adapter and a bulky AC adapter.  The cost of the RoadRunner is even lower than some USB to RS232 adapters on the market.

    Below is the comparison of our new Dragonfly12-plus with a RoadRunner stick to our old Dragonfly12 prototype system using a docking board.

     Our new USB based Dragonfly12-Plus
     prototype system

    Our old Dragonfly12 prototype system

    Our minimal system can be expanded by adding low cost plug-in modules and those modules can be bought in a kit form that students can gain hand-on experiences further by assembling the kits. Those plug-in modules are highly reusable and most likely will be used by students again in their future projects.

     Plug-in I/O module

      Our new Dragonfly12-Plus prototype system with an I/O module


Question #4:  Which board should I select if I want to start a robot course?


We have developed a new product, the new MiniDragon-Plus3 multipurpose trainer, offering a combination of a Robot controller and a versatile trainer board. 

If you are going to teach a robot course the MiniDragon-Plus3 is a good choice. Not only it can be used for a real robot competitions, but also it can be a general trainer and your students can create many amazing projects that require a small board.