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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2016 - 2017

Module Title Embedded Systems
Module Code EE202
School School of Electronic Engineering

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr Robert SadleirOffice NumberS359
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

An embedded system is a special purpose computer system that is designed to carry out a specific task. This module will introduce the student to embedded systems, focusing in particular on microcontroller based embedded systems. The ultimate aim of the module is to provide the student with the hardware and software skills necessary to create microcontroller based embedded systems for use in real world applications.

Learning Outcomes

1. Describe the operation of a known microcontroller, or a previously unseen microcontroller from the same family, based on an evaluation of the relevant datasheet.
2. Design bespoke, microcontroller based, embedded systems hardware.
3. Develop custom software and algorithms for use in microcontroller based embedded systems.
4. Use optimisation techniques such as lookup tables in order to create more efficient programs.
5. Write hybrid microcontroller programs that combine the benefits of using a high-level language with benefits associated with using assembly language.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Module lectures
Laboratory15Module labs
Tutorial11Module tutorials
Independent Study75Preparation time for the lab exercises and the terminal exam
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Introduction to embedded systems
Definition of an embedded system, architecture of embedded systems, overview of software development tools used for embedded systems software design.

Introduction to microcontrollers
Microcontroller architecture, program counter, pipeline, instruction decoder, file address register, file data register, arithmetic logic unit, status register, working register, program store, data store, instructions, assembly, addressing modes.

The PIC16F84A microcontroller
Features, internal architecture, the fetch unit, the execute unit, the data store, special function registers, general purpose registers, data input/output, EEPROM, timer.

Addressing modes and the instruction set
Inherent addressing, literal addressing, absolute addressing, file direct addressing, file indirect addressing, bit addressing, movement instructions, arithmetic instructions, clearing/setting instructions, logical and shifting instructions, program counter instructions.

Programming examples
Arithmetic operations, code conversion.

The stack, the call instruction, subroutine guidelines, lookup tables.

Polling, interrupt sources, interrupt operation, servicing interrupts, interrupt control.

High-level language
Compilation, variables, data types, hybrid C and assembly, handling interrupts

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment25% Examination Weight75%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • R. Sadleir: 2008, EE202 Embedded systems course notes,
  • T. Wilmshurst: 2009, Designing embedded systems with PIC microcontrollers, Second, Newnes,
  • S. Katzen: 2007, The Quintessential PIC Microcontroller, Second, Springer,
  • J. Morton: 2005, The PIC Microcontroller: Your Personal Introductory Course, Third, Newnes,
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