ENCE461-19S1 (C) Semester One 2019

Embedded Systems 2

15 points
18 Feb 2019 - 23 Jun 2019


An advanced course on computer, microprocessor, and digital signal processor systems and their implementation. Practical issues in advanced digital hardware design.

So you want to build an embedded system? And you want to make the hardware reliable? Oh, and you want to be able to meet electromagnetic compatibility regulations so you can sell it without affecting someone's pacemaker or an aircraft's fly-by-wire system? Unfortunately, as a consequence of improved integrated circuit technology, embedded systems hardware continually gets smaller, faster, and more complicated.  Due to the fast switching speeds of output signals we need to consider them as analogue signals and cannot neglect the parasitic components not shown on a schematic.  We also need to understand the advanced peripherals of modern microcontrollers and consider voltage levels, timing requirements, and how to make a multi-layer printed circuit board to make them work reliably.

The focus of this course is the hardware interfacing aspects of embedded systems. It is based around the Wacky Racers project where groups of six students build remotely controlled vehicles using surface mount technology. The course is structured in two sections: (1) electrical characteristics of digital devices and signal integrity and (2) advanced microcontroller peripherals, hardware and software aspects.

Learning Outcomes

  • At the end of this course, the student will be able to:
  • Understand and analyse the electrical characteristics of CMOS devices
  • Understand signal integrity and electromagnetic compatibility considerations for embedded  systems
  • Understand peripherals and how to program and interface them for microcontroller systems
  • Understand heterogeneous and high-performance embedded systems
  • Design, build, program, and debug a microcontroller-based embedded system using multilayer printed circuit boards




Timetable 2019

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 14:00 - 15:00 Ernest Rutherford 140 18 Feb - 7 Apr
29 Apr - 2 Jun
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Thursday 11:00 - 12:00 A5 Lecture Theatre 18 Feb - 7 Apr
29 Apr - 2 Jun
Lecture C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Wednesday 11:00 - 12:00 Ernest Rutherford 140 18 Feb - 7 Apr
29 Apr - 2 Jun
Lab A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 11:00 - 13:00 Elec 204 ESL Lab (19/2-26/2, 12/3-2/4, 30/4-28/5)
Meremere 526 (5/3)
18 Feb - 7 Apr
29 Apr - 2 Jun

Course Coordinator

Steve Weddell


Michael Hayes (Elec)


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Board Inspection 15%
Functional Assessment 10%
Individual Critique 10%
Competition 5%
Multiple Small Assessments 10%
Final Exam 50%


Recommended Reading

Johnson, Howard W. , Graham, Martin; High-speed digital design : a handbook of black magic; Prentice Hall, 1993.

Patterson, David A. , Hennessy, John L; Computer organization and design : the hardware/software interface; 5th edition ;

Valvano, Jonathan W; Embedded systems : introduction to the arm® cortex(TM)-M3; 2nd ed; [s.n.], 2012.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,080.00

International fee $5,250.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Electrical and Computer Engineering.

All ENCE461 Occurrences

  • ENCE461-19S1 (C) Semester One 2019