EE 476: Laboratory 6

Design project.


For this exercise, we want you to pick a project, then design and build it. During this period there will be no other assignments, so we expect you to spend all of your time for this course on the project. You will be expected to be in lab at the usual times and to show significant progress each week of the project. Each week in lab a one-page progress report will be due. The members of a group may be graded differentially if it becomes obvious to the staff that one person is doing the bulk of the work.

When choosing a project you will need to consider availability of hardware, time available, a monetary budget, and your programming skill. You may want to look at several of the links on the 476 home page for project ideas.


Depends on what you will build. You should talk often to your lab instructor. You can use either ASM or C or a mixture of the two. Your project will be limited to using one STK-500 development board at all times. If you need more than one cpu, you will have to build a prototype board, which will count against your budget.

Budget considerations: Your budget will include MCU(s), boards you build, power supplies, parts you order, and everything else you buy. Exceptions: any hardware you already own, or can sample, or can scrounge. If you use old hardware, you must be able to prove that you owned it before this semester.

Protoboard considerations for the Mega32:

A group in 2002 added the following thoughts.

Here are the top 10 things you can do to survive EE 476 Final Project Month:

1. If you use a chip other than the one you've been using in class all semester, read the documentation thoroughly, subtle differences are going to kill you. It's just a matter of for how long they kill you.
2. If you feel heat from your board, or smell burning: THERE IS A SHORT. Don't look for the short first. TURN OFF THE POWER!
3. If the voltages look right, and the wiring looks right, but nothing's happening, it is possible that your chip is fried, don't be afraid to ask for another chip. This would've saved me a week of pain, and a bad hit to morale.
4. If you're stuck on something, ask Bruce or the TA's. Make a reasonable attempt to solve it yourself, but don't sit there for three hours just because you cannot remember which port of the opamp is correct. Remember, we all look like we're working, so Bruce's spider sense won't kick in. You must call him, he can't call you.
5. Order parts early. Order duplicates if you can afford it.
6. If you're going to solder onto a perf board, you don't have to rip apart your breadboard. Just make another copy of the circuit.
7. You will not finish if you don't start early.
8. You probably won't finish if you don't take advantage of extended lab hours.
9. Do what you can do out of lab out of lab.
10. Seriously, pick a project you'll enjoy. These four weeks can be pain, or the most fulfilling of your Cornell Career.

A group in 2003 added this:

Know your limits. As much as we'd all love to have a final project whose bells and whistles rival Las Vegas slot machines, realize that a month is a very short time, and that dealing with the disappointment of having to scale back your project as you progress along is much better than coming to the same realization on the day of your demonstration.


You will be graded on several aspects of the project:

  1. Appropriate level of hardware/software complexity.
  2. Appropriate use of assembler and C.
  3. A project which works according to specification (which you will write).
  4. Level of effort and organization shown in lab.
  5. Ability to say within budget.
  6. A demonstration of the final project during the last regular scheduled lab period of the semester. The demonstration will include an explanation of your web page describing the project.
  7. Completeness and understandability of the final report. The report must be handed in when you do the project demo during your last regular lab period. The report which you hand in must be printed directly from a web page which you construct. Documentation must include:

The web page may optionally be submitted for inclusion on the class web page.
If you wish to do this:

  1. Put all of your web page files in one directory.
    Since the pages will be on a UNIX server, you should:
  2. ZIP the directory.
  3. email it to

Copyright Cornell University Jan 2004