16.682 | Spring 2006 | Undergraduate

Prototyping Avionics


Project Description

The final project will put to work a majority of the concepts and tools you have learned in the class. The project can be individual or in teams of two people.

The final project involves:

  1. Design of a circuit using the theory tools from the first part of class
  2. Capture of the schematic of the circuit
  3. Layout of a 2-layer PCB for the circuit
  4. Assembly of the PCB
  5. Testing
  6. Documenting the operation of the circuit and your experiences

The electronic circuit must feature as a minimum:

  • Digital control devices (digital logic gates, microcontrollers, FPGA’s, etc)
  • At least one analog circuit for input or output (op-amps, transistors, filters)
  • Power regulation. The power input can be selected from:
    • Batteries (preferred)
    • An AC transformer - you cannot work on the 120Vac part, only the low voltage part
    • An unregulated DC transformer and/or power supply

The design must be simple and adhere to the following limits:

  • A maximum of 30 parts/components (excluding bypass capacitors and pull-up/down resistors)
  • No components of more than 30 pins
  • No “ball grid array” (BGA) components
  • A maximum of 3 operating voltages

While there is no obvious/deterministic method to figure out exactly how complex the board will be, note that all project PCB’s will be limited to:

  • 2 layers (top and bottom)
  • Round holes
  • “Normal” shapes


The following must be delivered for the project:

  1. Schematic
    • Schematic - a full schematic of the project
    • Bill of materials - the list of all components, including package and ordering information
  2. Layout
    • Layout file - the CAD file with the circuit board layout
    • Layout plots - 1:1 printouts of individual layers and combined board
    • Manufacturing files - the files which will be used to manufacture the PCB
  3. Documentation
    • Circuit documentation - a document which is effectively a “data sheet” for your circuit (more details on documentation will be provided later)
    • Experience documentation - a document which describes your experience in designing, building, and testing the circuit
  4. Circuit
    • If your layout files are ready in time for manufacturing, you will turn in your actual PCB (which you can keep later) for evaluation (assembly and operation); otherwise you will turn in another previously designed circuit

Example Projects

  • Motion Control
    • Closed loop control of multiple motors
      • For multi-DOF robot arms
      • To drive 4+ wheels
  • Sensing
    • Force feedback sensor
    • Electronic “wall”
  • Communications
    • Digital wireless system integration


The proposal in Week #8 should include:

  1. A description of the project in words, stating what your system is going to do and how you plan to implement it
  2. A block diagram of the circuit design (black box design without full detail)
  3. A set of specifications that define in detail:
    • Inputs and outputs (whether electrical or physical)
    • What tests will be used to prove that it functions properly

The proposal should be typewritten.

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2006
Learning Resource Types
Problem Sets
Lecture Notes