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Handheld Users Guide

handheld computer

Table of Contents:
Not Approved for Life-Support Use

Mosaic’s embedded computers, software, and peripherals are intended for use in a wide range of OEM products, but they are not designed, intended or authorized for use as components in life support or medical devices. They are not designed for any application in which the failure of the product could result in personal injury, death or property damage.

Complex software often contains bugs, and electronic components fail. Where a failure may cause serious consequences, it is essential that the product designer protect life and property against such consequences by incorporating redundant backup systems or safety devices appropriate to the level of risk. The buyer agrees that protection against consequences resulting from system failure, of either hardware or software origin, is solely the buyer’s responsibility.

Many of the designations used by manufacturers and sellers to distinguish their products are claimed as trade-marks. Where those designations appear in this document, and Mosaic Industries, Inc. was aware of a trade-mark claim, the designations have been printed in caps or initial caps. For example, Microsoft, Microsoft Windows, and Visual Basic are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation.
While every precaution has been taken in the preparation of this manual, Mosaic assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions, or for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.

Published by:

Mosaic Industries, Inc.
5437 Central Ave. Suite 1
Newark, CA 94560, USA

Copyright © 2005 Mosaic Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.



This manual provides instructions for using your new handheld embedded computer platform. The Handheld packs a keypad and graphics/character display, programmable computer, up to 1 megabyte of memory, communications, analog and digital I/O, battery pack, and an expansion I/O bus into a rugged handheld enclosure. This platform is perfect for prototyping and manufacturing handheld instruments and dramatically cuts the cost of data acquisition and control from a handheld user interface. It is ideal for machine automation, industrial control, robotics, handheld data acquisition, and scientific instrumentation.

The I/O-rich Handheld hosts a 16 MHz Motorola 68HC11F1 microprocessor, 512K Flash (expand-able to 1 MB) and 128K Battery Backed RAM (expandable to 512K), and 320 bytes of EEPROM. On-board I/O includes 8 digital I/O lines with counter/timer capabilities, 8 analog inputs, a fast synchronous SPI serial interface, and dual RS232/485 ports. A real-time clock tracks the calendar and time of day and battery-backs the 128K RAM.

A convenient prototyping board allows you to integrate application-specific circuitry including sensors and actuators. The Handheld has plenty of room for your own circuitry and up to 4 I/O ex-pansion modules called WildCards™ that you can mix and match depending on your application, allowing you to have virtually any kind of I/O in a convenient handheld form factor.

WildCards implement a wide variety of communications, data acquisition and control capabilities. Available WildCards include octal 12-bit D/A and 16-bit A/D converters, a 24-bit resolution analog data acquisition subsystem, a Compact Flash card mass memory interface, fast buffered RS232/485 dual UARTs, high voltage/high current isolated I/O, and AC or DC solid state relays. You can select the WildCards that meet your needs to configure a cost-effective customized controller for your application.

The Handheld also includes a nickel-metal-hydride battery pack and self-contained charger, with plenty of power for several days of intermittent use. The battery pack may be charged overnight or while the instrument is in use. The Handheld is easily programmable in C, Forth or Assembly using any PC. Built-in programming tools include an interactive debugger, a multitasking executive, and comprehensive device-driver libraries.


Prerequisite Knowledge

The Mosaic Handheld is intended for use by experienced programmers or any technically minded person up to the challenge of real-time programming. We assume that if you’re designing a product requiring an embedded computer, you have experience in the design of the hardware and software needed to customize the Mosaic Handheld to your product, and an understanding of the basics of writing, compiling and debugging software programs. You should be comfortable programming in either the C or Forth programming languages; you can program the Mosaic Handheld in either. This manual is geared to the C programmer. If your would rather program in Forth, give us a call and we’ll send you the Forth programmers manual. We recommend the following references for novice programmers:

  • The C Programming Language, by Kernighan and Ritchie
  • C: A Reference Manual, by Harbison and Steel

Motorola’s M68HC11 Reference Manual and MC68HC11F1 Technical Data Manual are included with this documentation package as Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (*.pdf) files.


How to Use this Documentation

This manual is laid out in several parts, in an order we hope you find most useful. We have invested a lot of effort to make this documentation instructive and helpful. The available software and hard-ware functions are all described in detail, and many coded examples are presented. For those who are designing turnkeyed instruments, we have included a complete turnkeyed application program. This well documented program illustrates how to use dozens of features, including the graphical user interface, interrupts, floating point math, formatted display of calculated results, multitasking, and automatic program startup. The source code is included on your CD-ROM. This sample pro-gram can serve as a useful template for a wide variety of applications. This manual contains the following parts:

  • Part 1, Getting Started: A Quick Tour of the Mosaic Handheld, will familiarize you with the Mo-saic Handheld (Chapters 1 and 2) and its programming environment, and get you writing your first program (Chapter 3). These first two chapters guide you through the Mosaic Handheld’s hardware, explain how to establish communications with it, tell you how to install your compiler, and show you how to compile and run your first program.

    After working through the examples of Chapter 3 you will have exercised some of the key hardware and software features of your instrument. You might then leaf through the categorized list at the beginning of the C Function Glossary to get a feel for the wealth of precoded library functions avail-able for you to use.

  • Part 2, Programming the Mosaic Handheld, provides everything you need to know to master real-time programming on the Mosaic Handheld.
  • Part 3, Communications, Measurement and Control, focuses on the Handheld’s hardware re-sources – A/D, serial communications, timer-controlled I/O, real-time clock and others – and pro-vides examples for using each.
  • Part 4, Putting It All Together, introduces a real-time interactive application, and provides code you can use as a template for your application. It also discusses the nuts and bolts of product inte-gration, mounting, noise considerations and power requirements.
  • Part 5, Reference Data, contains detailed specifications, pin-outs, and schematics.

Conventions Used in This Book

The following conventions are use throughout this manual:

A/D Analog to Digital Converter
CCFL Cold Cathode Fluorescent, a display backlight that uses a small fluorescent light bulb
COP Computer Operating Properly timer
D/A or DAC Digital to Analog Converter
EEPROM Electronically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory, nonvolatile
EL Electroluminescent Display
FLASH Flash Programmable Read-Only Memory, nonvolatile and on-the-fly reprogrammable
GUI Graphical User Interface, also called an MMI (Man Machine Interface) or OI (Operator Interface)
I/O Inputs and Outputs
LCD Liquid Crystal Display
LED Light-Emitting Diode
PIA Peripheral Interface Adapter (a chip that provides 24 digital I/O signals)
PROM Programmable Read-Only Memory, nonvolatile one-time programmable
QED Quod Erat Demonstrandum, or Quick Easy Design, whichever you prefer
QED-Forth The name of the QScreen Controller’s onboard operating system and interactive resident language.
RAM Random Access Memory, volatile
RTC Real-Time Clock
RTOS Real Time Operating System
SPI Serial Peripheral Interface, a fast bidirectional synchronous serial interface
SRAM Static Random Access Memory, volatile
UART Universal Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter

Obtaining Code Examples and Example Applications

Please check our website periodically at, where we’ll be posting code examples and example applications, and providing software updates and enhancements.


For Technical Help (or just to chat) Contact Us

We have tested and verified the sample code in this user’s guide to the best of our ability, but you may find that some features have changed, or even that we have made a mistake or two. If you find an error, please call us and we’ll fix it pronto.

If you are facing a challenging software hurdle, or a hardware problem in interfacing to our products, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us. We can often help you over the hurdle and save you a lot of time. We provide free technical help to all registered, licensed users.

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