Credit points: 15

Subject outline

This subject covers fundamental digital design using microcontrollers. An MSP430 microcontroller is used in the laboratories as an example of low-power, 16 bit microcontroller which will be programmed by students. Topics for the subject include: microprocessor architectures, assembly language, Embedded C, interfacing (both digital and analog), serial communications and memory. The course includes problem classes and laboratories which allow the students to develop and debug software in assembly and Embedded C on their own microcontroller boards.

SchoolSchool Engineering&Mathematical Sciences

Credit points15

Subject Co-ordinatorRobert Ross

Available to Study Abroad StudentsYes

Subject year levelYear Level 2 - UG

Exchange StudentsYes

Subject particulars

Subject rules

Prerequisites ELE1IEL


Incompatible subjectsN/A

Equivalent subjectsN/A

Special conditionsN/A


Resource TypeTitleResource RequirementAuthor and YearPublisher
ReadingsDigital systems, principles and applications,RecommendedTocci, R. J.7TH EDN, PRENTICE HALL 1998.

Graduate capabilities & intended learning outcomes

01. Develop software flow diagrams from a list of non-technical problem requirements

8 Laboratory classes and tutorials where students need to do this to solve complex problems. Modelled as worked examples in Lectures

02. Design and construct circuits where microcontrollers are interfaced with simple input and output devices.

In 2 laboratory classes students design and then construct their own microcontroller circuits. 2 Assignments have sections requiring students to perform interfacing and design microcontroller circuits. 2 Tutorials require students to solve specific problems by designing microcontroller circuits. Throughout 4 lectures with worked examples students are taught how to interface and design microcontroller circuits

03. Develop firmware to solve engineering problems using both C and assembly language whilst using an industry standard IDE for code debugging.

In 10 laboratory classes students are required to develop firmware to solve specific problems for microcontrollers. Students practice writing code in tutorials and lectures through dozens of worked and tutor assisted examples.

04. Implement designs which include Digital-to-Analog converters (DACs) and Analog-to-Digital (ADCs) converters.

Over 4 laboratory classes students implement designs using ADC's and DAC's to create solutions to specific problems. Through 2 tutorials students perform calculations based around using Analog interfacing. 3 lectures cover the theory and implementation of ADC and DAC's.

05. Search through data sheets to identify and use relevant information to solve engineering problems.

To complete several labs students are directed to segments of the datasheets and lecture notes to search for information to solve problems. 3 assignment questions require students to search for and record specific information from data sheets. The lectures provide an overview of how to use datasheets, with excerpts in 50% of the lectures and references to specific sections of the datasheets.

06. Explain key architectural elements of microcontrollers (eg. Analog to Digital converters, external timers, external memory)

Through 5 assignments students answer theoretical concepts relating to the architecture and key elements of microcontrollers. Through the lectures students are taught all the theory behind microcontroller architectures.

07. Professionally describe solutions to microcontroller problems both verbally and in written form

Each of the 11 laboratory classes includes a verbal defence, where the demonstrator asks each student to explain in detail one of their questions (10-15% of the laboratory marks). Each of the 6 assignments includes a 10%-15% mark relating to students written expression and clarity.

Subject options

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Start date between: and    Key dates

Melbourne, 2018, Semester 1, Day


Online enrolmentNo

Maximum enrolment sizeN/A

Enrolment information

Subject Instance Co-ordinatorRobert Ross

Class requirements

Laboratory Class Week: 10 - 12
One 3.0 hours laboratory class per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 12 and delivered via face-to-face.

Lecture Week: 10 - 22
Two 1.0 hours lecture per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via face-to-face.

Tutorial Week: 10 - 22
One 1.0 hours tutorial per week on weekdays during the day from week 10 to week 22 and delivered via face-to-face.


Assessment elementComments% ILO*
Ten in-class quizzes (100 word equivalent)10 03, 06
Five assignments (900 word equivalent)10 02, 07, 05, 06
Laboratory work (approx 1,500 word equivalent)30 05, 04, 03, 02, 07, 01
One 2-hour written examination50 07, 03, 06, 02