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

Introduction
An Overview of the Universal Serial Bus (USB)
Designing the System
  Make/Buy
  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
About Datakey
Conclusion
Glossary
References

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