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How to Interface a USB Flash Drive to a Microcontroller

How to Design an Embedded System with USB Flash Drive Support

White Paper on How to Interface a USB Flash Drive with a MicrocontrollerThe removable USB flash drive is a key technology in the embedded computing world.  Among other things, it can be used to store and transfer logged data, back up a device’s settings, or be a vehicle to update a deployed device’s firmware.  When you need to transfer data from a microcontroller-based embedded system to a PC (or vice versa), using a portable memory device, like a USB flash drive, is a convenient method, especially when transferring data over a network is not possible or desirable.

Although USB flash drives are easy to use, designing an microcontroller-based embedded system that supports the use of these devices can be a challenging task, especially when you don't know what you don't know.  This 17-page white paper provides embedded systems designers with the key concepts and considerations needed to successfully incorporate a USB host into a microcontroller-based embedded design, such that USB flash drives can be used for a host of applications.

Table of Contents

An Overview of the Universal Serial Bus (USB)
Designing the System
  Compliance Testing
  Implementation Overview
  USB Host Controller Choices
  USB Software Support
Designing Custom USB Hardware
  USB Connectors
  Power Supplies
  Resets & Brownout
  Electromagnetic Interference (EMI)
  Controlled Impedance
Example Host Controller Solutions
  Example Bolt-On Host Controller
  Example Built-In Host Controller
Implementing the Embedded Firmware
  The USB Flash Drive File System
  Handling Surprise Removal and Power Loss
  File System Licensing
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