ECE 495C - Digital Systems Senior Project

Lecture Hours: 2 Lab Hours: 6 Credits: 4

Counts as:

Experimental Course Offered: Fall 2007

Catalog Description:
A structured approach to the development and integration of embedded microcontroller hardware and software that provides senior-level students with significant design experience applying microcontrollers to a wide range of embedded systems (e.g., instrumentation, process control, telecommunications, intelligent devices, etc.). The primary objective is to provide practical experience developing integrated hardware and software for embedded microcontroller systems in an environment that models one which students will most likely encounter in industry.

Supplementary Information:
Lab Outline:
Due to the open-ended nature of the design project, as well as the variety of design projects that may be chosen, all of the laboratory work will be completed on an "open shop" basis (i.e., laboratory facilities available 24/7 with consultant on duty at scheduled times each week). Lab use will therefore be on an arrange-hour basis.
Examples of lab activities associated with completing the semester-long design project include:

  • Learning how to use various CAD/CAE tools: schematic capture and PCB layout software.
  • Learning how to use various hardware/software development tools: target microcontroller assembler, complier, linker; target microcontroller debug monitor; target microcontroller evaluation board; logic analyzer (timing and state analysis); in-circuit flash programmer.
  • Designing and testing target microcontroller system hardware and interface circuitry.
  • Designing and testing application software for target microcontroller system hardware.
  • Integrating system hardware and software along with packaging the final product.
  • Demonstrating the final product.

Nature of Design Experience:
Through completing the open-ended (semester-long) design project, the written technical reports, and the project summary video presentation, students will: (a) enhance their written and oral technical communication skills, (b) enhance their teamwork skills, (c) enhance their digital system design skills, and (d) enhance their hardware/software integration skills.

Course Web Site URL: ECE 477/495C

Course E-mail Address:

Required Text(s): None.

Recommended Text(s): None.

Learning Outcomes:

A student who successfully fulfills the course requirements will have demonstrated:
  1. an ability to apply knowledge obtained in earlier coursework and to obtain new knowledge necessary to design and test a microcontroller-based digital system. [a,b,c,e,I,j,k]
  2. an understanding of the engineering design process. [b,c,e,f,h]
  3. an ability to function on a multidisciplinary team. [d,h,j]
  4. an awareness of professional and ethical responsibility. [f,h,j]
  5. an ability to communicate effectively, in both oral and written form. [g]

Lecture Outline:

Week Topics
1 Tue: course and project overview, team formation<br> Wed: project proposal guidelines and documentation requirements<br> Thu: digital system design considerations<br>
2 Tue: printed circuit board layout basics<br> Wed: real-world design constraints<br> Thu: product packaging considerations<br>
3 Tue: survey of alternative microcontrollers for embedded applications<br> Wed: embedded system interfacing: switching D.C. loads, optical isolation<br> Thu: embedded system interfacing: keypads, RPGs, PWM, etc.<br>
4 Tue: embedded system interfacing: position control, steppers, AC. Loads<br> Wed: power supply design: basic considerations, linear regulators<br> Thu: power supply design: switching regulators, DC-DC converters<br>
5 Tue: passive component selection guidelines<br> Wed: patent infringement liability<br> Thu: design for reliability, maintainability, and safety<br>
6 Tue: failure mode and risk analysis<br> Wed: board assembly and soldering techniques<br> Thu: embedded software development<br>
7 Tue: interactive broken board debugging<br> Wed: ethical/social/political/environmental considerations<br> Thu: overview of design review requirements<br>
8 Tu/W/Th: (no lecture meetings - formal design reviews individually scheduled)<br>
9 Tue: design review wrap-up<br> W/Th: (time off to compensate for midterm peer review responsibilities)<br>
10 Tue: overview of requirements for next two reports due<br> W/Th: technical communication skills practicum<br>
11 Tu/W/Th: technical communication skills practicum<br>
12 Tue: overview of requirements for next two reports due<br> W/Th: technical communication skills practicum<br>
13 Tu/W/Th: technical communication skills practicum<br>
14 Tue: overview of requirements for final materials due<br> W/Th: (time off to compensate for final peer review responsibilities)<br>
15 Tu/W/Th: project-specific success criteria demonstrations<br>
16 (final video presentations individually scheduled)<br>

Engineering Design Content:


Engineering Design Consideration(s):