MCO556 - ARM Microcontroller for Real-time Embedded Applications

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Last revision date Oct 17, 2019 12:20:31 PM
Last review date Oct 17, 2019 12:20:31 PM

Subject Title
ARM Microcontroller for Real-time Embedded Applications

Subject Description

MCO556 is the second microcontroller course offered to Computer Engineering Technology and Electronics Engineering Technology students.
The MCO556 course has been developed to meet the emerging labour market for embedded systems developers. The essential goal of this course is to lay out a foundation that supports professional style of microcontroller programming.
The MCO556 course introduces students to the practical aspects of using an ARMŽ Cortex-M4 microcontroller (MCU) and a professional, Eclipse-based Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for developing real-time embedded applications.
The course uses the Freedom FRDM-K64F Development Board, MCUXpresso IDE, MCUXpresso Config Tools (MCU configuration tools), and Software Development Kit (SDK) (programming examples) from NXP Semiconductors. The programming language is C.
The course develops the skills in programming the microcontroller General Purpose Input/ Output (GPIO), external hardware interrupts, and internal peripheral devices such as timers and timer interrupts to produce time delays, time out periods, and pulse-width modulated signals. The course covers various serial communication interfaces.
The course introduces the Real Time Operating System (RTOS) for developing multitasking embedded applications. The course presents essential multitasking synchronization methods like time-slicing, task blocking, task yielding, mutexes, semaphores, queues, event groups, software timers. Timing analysis of tasks and their adjustments will be demonstrated. The RTOS used in the course is FreeRTOS from Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The course puts emphasis on hands-on laboratory experiments and a project where students develop practical real-time embedded applications.

Credit Status

One subject credit in the Computer Engineering Technology Program and Electronics Engineering Technology Program.

Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:

Upon successful completion of this subject the student will be able to:


1. Have functional knowledge of 32-bit ARM® microcontrollers (MCUs) in terms of specifics of their architectures and configurations, their features, and how those features can be utilized in embedded systems.  

2. Develop real-time programs in C language for the ARM® Cortex-M4 microcontroller by using the professional, Eclipse-based Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

 3. Configure the microcontroller features and peripheral devices by using the MCU Configuration Tools.

4. Write and debug C programs for the microcontroller using common peripherals such as GPIO, timers, pulse width modulation (PWM), SCI and I2C serial communication interfaces

5. Understand how external and internal interrupts work, and create C language programs for interrupt-driven microcontroller applications.

6. Understand how a Real-time Operating System (RTOS) works in embedded systems to do multitasking operations.

7. Develop RTOS-based multitasking applications that utilize the task scheduler and various task synchronization methods.

8. Demonstrate timing analysis of tasks and make their adjustments

Essential Employability Skills
Communicate clearly, concisely and correctly in the written, spoken and visual form that fulfils the purpose and meets the needs of the audience.

Respond to written, spoken, or visual messages in a manner that ensures effective communication.

Execute mathematical operations accurately.

Apply a systematic approach to solve problems.

Use a variety of thinking skills to anticipate and solve problems.

Locate, select, organize, and document information using appropriate technology and information systems.

Analyze, evaluate, and apply relevant information from a variety of sources.

Show respect for diverse opinions, values, belief systems, and contributions of others.

Interact with others in groups or teams in ways that contribute to effective working relationships and the achievement of goals.

Manage the use of time and other resources to complete projects.

Take responsibility for one's own actions, decisions, and consequences.

Academic Integrity
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Please visit the Academic Integrity website to understand and learn more about how to prepare and submit work so that it supports academic integrity, and to avoid academic misconduct.

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Accommodation for Students with Disabilities
The College will provide reasonable accommodation to students with disabilities in order to promote academic success. If you require accommodation, contact the Counselling and Accessibility Services Office at ext. 22900 to initiate the process for documenting, assessing and implementing your individual accommodation needs.