MECT06018 2019 Programming Communications and Interfacing

General Details

Full Title
Programming Communications and Interfacing
Transcript Title
Programming Communications and
N/A %
Subject Area
MECT - Mechatronics
MECT - Mechatronics
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2019 - Full Academic Year 2019-20
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Ian Craig, David Mulligan
Programme Membership
SG_EMTRN_B07 201900 Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronic Engineering SG_EMTRN_C06 201900 Higher Certificate in Engineering in Mechatronic Engineering SG_EAUTI_N06 201900 Level 6 Certificate in Engineering in Automation and Instrumentation SG_EMSYS_B07 201900 Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronic Systems

On completion, the learner will be able to design and implement a program based control unit which will make decisions based on sensor input to drive actuators.  e.g. Control unit detects temperature rise and display on an LCD.  The module encourages self-directed learning and hardware development in the learner's own environment.  An Arduino kit is needed for this module (K000007 Official Arduino Kit).

The learner will be exposed to small signal interfacing, controlling actuators such as different types of motors, using an LCD display, Internet communications between devices and data transmission.


Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module the learner will/should be able to;


Recall numbering systems (decimal, binary, hexadecimal) and to convert between them


Develop data transmission programs based on a set of characters


Develop programs to control actuators based on interfacing via analog and digital methods to prescribed sensors using a variety of methods such as analog to digital conversion and pulse width modulation.


describe  how IP packets are transmitted on the internet and outline the main elements of a network and the meaning of the IP packet header attributes.


Interface application programs to a given API with the corresponding documentation to implement automation solutions  (e.g Arduino API to control actuators based on sensor information)

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Each student has a Anduino Kit to develop their own code and hardware solutions.

A set of labs based on the arduino will re-inforce the theory for each part of the course.

Module Assessment Strategies

  1. Quizzes/questions on basic knowledge of communications
  2. Lab based programming assignments
  3. Prescribed programming project which will monitor some real world attribute using a sensor and drive a real world output based on a program.  (e.g. lights are turned off and an SMS is sent to a phone or send a bluetooth message)

Repeat Assessments

The coursework assessments are worth 60%

If the coursework is not completed satisfactorily, the lecturer can give summer coursework to allow the student to repeat part of the coursework element

Indicative Syllabus

Numbering systems (10%)

  • Bases and structure of numbering systems (base 10, base 2, base 16)
  • Conversion between binary and hexadecimal
  • Conversion between decimal and (binary/hexadecimal)

Data transmission (10%)

  • How to lookup  a simple message ('Hello') in the ASCII table in hexadecimal values
  • Convert these to a binary stream a display it in a program
  • Convert the same message to UFS format.

Evaluating sensor datasheets (10%)

  • recall the main attributes of a sensor based on a datasheet 
  • Accuracy, range, span, resolution, sensitivity, hysteresis)
  • Use a datasheet to determine if a sensor is suitable for a project.

Communciations (20%)

  • Appreciation of IP packet header operation and how packets are routed from source to destination
  • NAT, DNS, PC configuration (IP address, Subnet mask, default gateway)
  • Exposure to a network monitor such as wireshark
  • Build a simple network based on Cisco Packet Tracer

Interfacing (50%)

  • To design and implement a program based control unit which will make decisions based on sensor input to drive actuators.  e.g. Control unit detects temperature rise and turns on a fan.
  • To use straightforward documentation and a given API to interface an application program to a function (read a sensor from an adruino, send a text message or a message via bluetooth, etc).


Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

Coursework & Continuous Assessment
60 %
End of Semester / Year Formal Exam
40 %

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Assignments based on subject matter Continuous Assessment Assignment 60 % OnGoing 1,2,3,4,5

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Final exam Final Exam Closed Book Exam 40 % End of Term 1,2,3,4

Module Resources

Non ISBN Literary Resources


Suitable books and articles may be given by the lecturer at tome of delivery

Journal Resources


URL Resources


Other Resources


Programming resources (will be given on module commencement)

Cisco Packet Tracer


Additional Information

As this modules is well linked to industry, prescribed projects will be based on real needs of industry to control and monitor various attributes of their environment.