module specification

CT6055 - Data Aquisition and Interfacing (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Data Aquisition and Interfacing
Module level Honours (06)
Credit rating for module 15
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 150
45 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
105 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 50%   Coursework (2000 words)
Unseen Examination 50%   Unseen Examination
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Spring semester North Tuesday Afternoon

Module summary

This module reviews a selection of sensors and transducers and the signal conditioning necessary for including these in a data acquisition system. It provides a good grounding on analogue to digital and digital to analogue conversion principles and their practical applications.

Examples of a selection of output drivers and devices are also provided.

Module aims

The aims of this module are:

1. To examine a selection of sensors and suitable signal conditioning for these devices;
2. To investigate analogue to digital and digital to analogue converters associated concepts;
3. To allow students to have hands-on experience with data acquisition and interfacing
4. To investigate a selection of output drivers and devices.


Sensors and transducers, signal conditioning, dynamic range, calibration, bandwidth, processor throughput, sample rate and aliasing, types and principles of analogue to digital and digital to analogue converters, ADC specifications, resolution, accuracy, linearity, offset and quantization errors, time-based measurements and jitter, microprocessor interfacing, serial interfaces, multi-channel ADC’s, internal microcontroller ADC’s, Codecs, line drivers and receivers, high power output drivers and devices.

Learning and teaching

The theoretical components of the module are delivered through a series of lectures supported by directed independent learning. The practical aspects are covered in a laboratory programme that requires students to work through a series of exercises, where the scheme of work is designed to encourage co-operative working. The case study integrates theory and practice in a realistic design exercise.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:

1. Describe elements of signal conditioning necessary for a number of sensors;
2. Explain the operation of analogue to digital and digital to analogue converters;
3. Evaluate and select appropriate techniques and devices for realising a data acquisition 
4. Describe the function of output drivers and devices.

Assessment strategy

The assessment of the laboratory work is carried out through one or more instruments (e.g. logbook/lab report, practical/MCT tests, interactive viva etc.) depending on the class size and resources, which is announced at the beginning of the module.

Case study (summative): The case study involves the development of a data acquisition system starting from the initial requirements and culminates in a technical report. Laboratory work and case study report forms the coursework mark which is 50% of the module mark. [Learning outcomes 1 to 3]

Closed book end of module exam (summative): An unseen, closed book exam/test is the third summative assessment instrument and forms the remaining 50%. [Learning outcomes 2 to 4]


Core Text:
Park J., Mackay S., (2003), “Practical Data Acquisition for Instrumentation and Control Systems”, Newnes.

Recommended for further reading:
1. James K., (2007), “PC Interfacing and Data Acquisition”, Newness.
2. Wilson J.S., Ball S., Huddleston C., Ramsden E., (2008), “Test and Measurement: Know it all (Newness Know It All)”, Newnes.
3. Lipiansky E., (2012), “Embedded Systems Hardware for Software Engineers, A practical guide to Hardware Fundamentals”, McGraw-Hill Professional
4. Fischer-Cripps T., (2002), “Newnes Interfacing Companion: Computers, Transducers, Instrumentation and Signal Processing”,  Newnes
5. Mathivanan N., (2004), “Microprocessors PC Hardware and Interfacing”, Prentice-Hall.
6. Derenzo S. E., (2003), ”Practical Interfacing in the Laboratory: Using a PC for Instrumentation, Data Analysis and Control”, Cambridge University Press.
7.  Allwork J. (2010),  “Visual Studio C# 2010 Programming & PC Interfacing”, Elektor Electronics Publishing.
8.  Katupitiya J., Bentley K., (2006), “Interfacing with C++: Programming Real-World Applications”,  Springer