ECED3901 – Design Methods II

Over Summer 2015, I’m teaching the ECED3901 Design Methods II class at Dalhousie University. This course takes students through the design of a robot to achieve some objective, see for example the press release of the 2014 course.

Course Details

Full course details are being held on the BBLearn site at Dalhousie. I’ve included some additional details here too, but the BBLearn site will be kept updated (whereas this site won’t).

YouTube Lectures

There is a YouTube playlist of lectures as they happen. Sometimes the videos don’t record correctly though, as life isn’t always fair.

Lecture topics include:

  • Basic project management
  • Legal issues releasing products (patents, FCC, etc.)
  • Motor driver design (H-Bridge, thermal)
  • Interfacing to sensors
  • Navigation (including tilt-compensated compasses, IMUs)
  • Software design

Microcontroller Board

A major portion of your labs will use the microcontroller board. If you aren’t familiar with it I highly recommend going through the ECED3204 Labs, which I’ve posted on GitHub, including a video playlist.

Interesting Books

This section includes some interesting books covering various topics that I’ve enjoyed. Some of these books are in the library, and if not I’ll try to get them added to the Dalhousie Library.

I’ve included Amazon links – some of the books are older, and you might be able to pick up used copies (such as from for far cheaper than new.

General Electronics

The Art of Electronics

This is a classic reference – I have the 1989 edition which is available in the library too. Much of the material is outdated for digital, however the analog sections (which makes up the bulk) is still highly relevant.

Encyclopedia of Electronic Components Volume 1
Encyclopedia of Electronic Components Volume 2
Encyclopedia of Electronic Components Volume 3

These three volumes are a useful reference for your robot course. They have excellent descriptions of uses of various types of components and sensors (depending on the volume).

Hot Air Rises and Heat Sinks: Everything you Know About Cooling Electronics is Wrong

An interesting book on cooling electronics – it’s written in a unique conversational tone. It’s fairly small/short, so be warned if you are spending $50 on it!


Invention Analysis and Claiming

While the main target of this book is for lawyers writing claims/specifications, it has a ton of examples of claims, what happens when they are done wrong, etc. It is a great reference for how the patent system works rather than some approximate hand-waving you find in other books.


Code Complete

This book is probably somewhat dated now (the most recent edition is 10 years old), but I had found a useful reference for generating a coding standard.

Project Management

Microsoft Project 2010: The Missing Manual

There is a 2010 and 2013 version of this book – probably best to pick whichever for the version of Microsoft Project that you have, I’ve only used the 2010 edition. But the first half of this book is generic project management stuff, so it makes a good combination of general advice along with practically how to use the software.

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