TRON06055 2020 Data Communications

General Details

Full Title
Data Communications
Transcript Title
Data Communications
N/A %
Subject Area
TRON - Electronics
COEL - Computing & Electronic Eng
06 - NFQ Level 6
05 - 05 Credits
Start Term
2020 - Full Academic Year 2020-21
End Term
9999 - The End of Time
Ian Craig, Fergal Henry
Programme Membership
SG_EELEC_H08 202000 Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Electronics and Self Driving Technologies

This module introduces students to the basic principles of serial communications. Following on from this, students learn how to establish a communications link between a microcontroller and external devices using UART, I2C, SPI and CAN protocols.

Learning Outcomes

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


Compare and contrast asynchronous and synchronous serial data transmission.


Employ error detection and correction techniques for reliable data transmission.


Analyse serial transmission signals on a transmission line.


Perform hardware interfacing of a microcontroller to a peripheral device using an appropriate serial protocol.


Perform software interfacing of a microcontroller to a peripheral device using an appropriate serial protocol.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Theory lectures will be delivered each week.

Weekly laboratory work will be related to the theory covered in lectures. The lab assignments will involve hardware interfacing and writing software for UART/I2C/SPI/CAN mini projects.

Module Assessment Strategies

The lab assignments and ongoing quizzes will determine if students have grasped the key concepts from the lectures. 

A mid-term exam will take place to monitor students’ progress. This should also prepare students for the final written exam, which carries the majority of marks for the module. 

The final written exam takes place at the end of the semester.

Repeat Assessments

A repeat written final exam will be set for Autumn each year.

Indicative Syllabus

Introduction to Serial Communications: Data Representation. ASCII. Signals. Timing. Asynchronous/Synchronous Transmission. Protocol Efficiency. Parity Checking. Cyclic Redundancy Checking.

Universal Asynchronous Reception and Transmission (UART): Capabilities and characteristics. Start bit. Stop bit. Baud rate. Parity bit. Synchronization and sampling.

I2C:  I2C bus. Master and slave. I2C communication and timing diagrams. I2C v UART and SPI.

Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI): Capabilities and characteristics. Master-slave configuration. Clock polarity and phase. SPI timing diagrams.

Controller Area Network (CAN): Overview. Characteristics of CAN. Benefits of CAN. Message frames. Bus arbitration. Data Transfer. Error Detection. Physical Layer.

Coursework & Assessment Breakdown

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

Coursework Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Written Exam Continuous Assessment Closed Book Exam 10 % Week 7 1,2,3
2 Quizzes Continuous Assessment Open Book Exam 10 % OnGoing 1,2,3,4,5
3 Practical Work Practical Practical Evaluation 20 % OnGoing 4,5

End of Semester / Year Assessment

Title Type Form Percent Week Learning Outcomes Assessed
1 Written Exam Final Exam Closed Book Exam 60 % End of Semester 1,2,3,4,5

Full Time Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Lecture Theatre Lecture 2 Weekly 2.00
Laboratory Practical Engineering Laboratory Laboratory Practical 2 Weekly 2.00
Independent Learning Not Specified Independent Learning 3 Weekly 3.00
Total Full Time Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 4.00 Hours

Online Learning Mode Workload

Type Location Description Hours Frequency Avg Workload
Lecture Online Lecture 1 Weekly 1.00
Laboratory Practical Online Laboratory Practical 1 Weekly 1.00
Independent Learning Not Specified Independent Learning 5 Weekly 5.00
Total Online Learning Average Weekly Learner Contact Time 2.00 Hours

Required & Recommended Book List

Required Reading
2005-10-17 Local Area Networks Elst Cengage Learning EMEA
ISBN 1844804313 ISBN-13 9781844804313
Required Reading
2019-11-19 Exploring Arduino John Wiley & Sons
ISBN 9781119405375 ISBN-13 1119405378

The bestselling beginner Arduino guide, updated with new projects! Exploring Arduino makes electrical engineering and embedded software accessible. Learn step by step everything you need to know about electrical engineering, programming, and human-computer interaction through a series of increasingly complex projects. Arduino guru Jeremy Blum walks you through each build, providing code snippets and schematics that will remain useful for future projects. Projects are accompanied by downloadable source code, tips and tricks, and video tutorials to help you master Arduino. You'll gain the skills you need to develop your own microcontroller projects! This new 2nd edition has been updated to cover the rapidly-expanding Arduino ecosystem, and includes new full-color graphics for easier reference. Servo motors and stepper motors are covered in richer detail, and you'll find more excerpts about technical details behind the topics covered in the book. Wireless connectivity and the Internet-of-Things are now more prominently featured in the advanced projects to reflect Arduino's growing capabilities. You'll learn how Arduino compares to its competition, and how to determine which board is right for your project. If you're ready to start creating, this book is your ultimate guide! Get up to date on the evolving Arduino hardware, software, and capabilities Build projects that interface with other deviceswirelessly! Learn the basics of electrical engineering and programming Access downloadable materials and source code for every project Whether you're a first-timer just starting out in electronics, or a pro looking to mock-up more complex builds, Arduino is a fantastic tool for building a variety of devices. This book offers a comprehensive tour of the hardware itself, plus in-depth introduction to the various peripherals, tools, and techniques used to turn your little Arduino device into something useful, artistic, and educational. Exploring Arduino is your roadmap to adventurestart your journey today!

Required Reading
2005-01-01 A Comprehensible Guide to Controller Area Network Copperhill Media
ISBN 9780976511601 ISBN-13 0976511606

A Comprehensible Guide to Controller Area Network by Wilfred Voss represents the most thoroughly researched and most complete work on CAN available in the marketplace. It includes:A Brief History of CAN, Main Characteristics, Message Frame Architecture, Message Broadcasting, Bus Arbitration, Error Detection & Fault Confinement, CAN Physical Layer, and more?

Required Reading
2014-03 Controller Area Network Prototyping with Arduino
ISBN 1938581164 ISBN-13 9781938581168

While the Arduino is not widely considered an industrial-strength solution, it provides, due to its low price and ease of programming, the perfect prototyping platform for all kinds of Controller Area Network (CAN) applications. This book, written by a leading expert on CAN technologies, guides the reader through the process of acquiring all necessary hardware and software components, the implementation of the CAN driver, and the implementation of programs (Arduino Sketches) to read, send, process, and display data from and to a CAN network. The collection of programming examples cumulates into a full-fledged USB-to-CAN Gateway communicating with a Windows/Linux PC. This book will enable you to achieve CAN functionality literally within only a few hours. The topics include: Introduction to Controller Area Network Prototyping Hardware and its Variants Arduino CAN Shields CAN Driver Implementation and Library Functions Simple CAN Test Programs CAN Network Monitoring, Simulation, and Diagnostics Program CAN Data Display via Windows/Linux GUI About the Author Wilfried Voss is the author of the "Comprehensible Guide" series of technical literature covering topics like Controller Area Network (CAN), SAE J1939, Industrial Ethernet, and Servo Motor Sizing. Mr. Voss has worked in the CAN industry since 1997 and before that was a motion control engineer in the paper manufacturing industry. He has a master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Wuppertal in Germany. During the past years, Mr. Voss conducted numerous seminars on industrial fieldbus systems such as CAN, CANopen, SAE J1939, Industrial Ethernet, and more during various Real Time Embedded And Computing Conferences (RTECC), ISA (Instrumentation, Systems, and Automation Society) conferences and various other events all over the United States and Canada."

Module Resources