2018-2019 ICS3U Engineering Tasks


Legacy PCB/Appliance. ACES' graduates continue to contribute to our program through their former achievements. PB machines, Schaffer Traffic Lights, Morland Bargraphs, Reed MatrixMadeEZs, Logush nRFBreakouts, and the Raymond RTCs were all simple but brilliantly conceived devices that are instrumental in support our current learning. Take a look through our online archive of ACES PCBs for inspiration.

To further strengthen your printed circuit board design skills and to give you an opportunity to leave your mark on RSGC's ACES program, you are tasked with the challenge of imagining and designing a board that YOU feel would have made YOUR study of electronics a richer (and time-efficient) experience. The best projects are simple, replace a single task you do over and over, and can be put together with a few handy parts.

A few notable considerations to inspire your own creation in include the following,


Part 1 (due Monday April 1 @ midnight)

  1. Think deeply about a simple PCB/Appliance that would have made a previous project you undertook either easier, or richer.
  2. Launch EAGLE and create a project in which you design a schematic board files to facilitate your design. Research readily available components from Digikey or other common suppliers.
  3. Run the CAM processor and create a ZIP file of your project.
  4. Upload your ZIP file to DirtyPCBs and PLACE AN ORDER for a ProtoPack (±10) to be delivered to YOUR home.
  5. Attach your .sch, .brd, and .zip files to an email to handin under the Subject Line: Legacy PCB/Appliance

Part 2. (due Saturday May 4)

  1. While you're waiting for your ProtoPack to arrive in 10-14 days, you are to ORDER your parts.
  2. When the PCBs arrive start soldering and testing. Unforeseen, misunderstandings and oversights will need have workarounds developed (there isn't enough time to go back to China for Version 2).
  3. Using the media and resources gathered in the process of creating your board, undertake a comprehensive ER summary (with video, of course) and submit it on Saturday May 4, under the Subject Line: Legacy PCB/Appliance, by midnight.
  4. Bring one or more soldered and tested samples to class on Monday May 6 for a quick presentation and leave one with me.

I will take one or more of the best creations and adapt them for use in next year's courses. Good luck.

Project 6. ACES Rover. This will one of the most demanding projects our ACES program will present you with. What you do with the opportunity (like all others) is completely up to you. You can sit back and let your team members carry you through to the final report or you can hold your head high in March knowing that the success of your group was due in no small measure to the skill and dedication you poured into it over two months.

Project Description: DesignEngineeringProject.docx

In Class Development Sessions:

  1. Monday January 14 Day 4 11:30-12:50: General Discussion on Design and Agreement on Gantt Chart (Teams Leaders submit)
  2. Tuesday January 22 Day 2 9:30-10:50: Concept video, component orders to Mr. D., sensor testing, course assembly (NW)
  3. Monday January 28 Day 6 1:30-2:50: First chassis iterations should be coming off the printer this week. Battery Considerations below.
  4. Tuesday February 5 Day 4 11:30-12:50:
  5. Monday February 11 Day 8 8:15-9:30:
  6. Monday February 25 Day 8 8:15-9:30:

Battery Considerations

  1. Seb Atkinson (ACES '21) works in a hobby shop in Mississauga (Big Boys with Cool Toys). He offers these recommendations for lipo batteries (don't buy a charger, we have them)
  2. For rechargeble AAs, 8 Eneloop Pros are a good solution. Don't forget to pick up a charger as well. Save the receipts.

Four Deadlines

  1. Thursday January 10. (in class) Team Names, Coordinator and Members (ID'd) to Mr. D'Arcy (Sent questions after class as requested ?: Goofballs, 11:59ers, Pros, ACES of )
  2. Tuesday February 5. Concept Video (Design Member). Link to handin by midnight
  3. Tuesday March 5. Qualifying Day. In class trials with time and penalties
  4. Thursday March 7. Rover Competition. Day 8, Per 1). Category and Competition Evaluations.

Weekly Gantt Charts

If we hope to bring this project to a successful conclusion, leaders must maintain and file their team's updated Gantt Chart, weekly.

  On Time   Late   No Show

Team 01 19 01 26 02 02 02 09 02 16 02 23 03 02 Total
Red Army           ? ? 3/5
SS Goofballs           ? ? 2/5
11:59ers           ? ? 4.5/5
Pros           ? ? 4/5
Dregnauts           ? ? 3.5/5
ACES of           ? ? 2/5

Supplied Materials (that need to be returned)

  1. Generic HC-SR04 Sonar Sensor (1/student)
  2. Sharp GP2Y0A41SK0F IR Distance Sensor (1/team)

Analog Devices: 'Drive 360' Autonomous Driving Sensing Products


Design Engineering Project: ACES ROVER
NAME LEADER Design Hardware Software Design Hardware Software Time RANK Score**
Red Army Pyper Pyper Macdonald Mazzuca 5 9 4   1 16
SS Goofballs McFarlane Kingsley McFarlane Wilkinson 7 7 4   2 15
11:59ers Watson McCutcheon Parker Watson 5 9 4   3 14
Pros* Fatola Vassos Fatola Rigby 6 7 5   4 13
Dregnauts* Carson Barkway Dreger Carson 6 6 6   5 12
ACES of ♠* Peterson Dolgin Lank Peterson 6 7 5   6 11

* Fits Original Criteria, ** Score out of 15

ACE 1 2 3
Barkway, D.
Carson, R.
Dolgin, J.
Dreger, B.
Fatola, F.
Kingsley, Z.
Lank, J.
Macdonald, C.
Mazzuca, L.
McCutcheon, M.
McFarlane, O.
Parker, J.
Peterson, S.
Pyper, E.
Rigby, A.
Vassos, N.
Watson, L.
Wilkinson, F.
Woollcombe, N.
Course Designer


Project 5. Design Sessions. Your final ER prior to Christmas is to include a comprehesive review of your introductions to EAGLE and ViaCAD. Under Heading 2 styles (either EAGLE of ViaCAD) in the order you explored each application, document your three design classes within the section subheadings: Purpose, Procedure, Media and Reflection. You are NOT required to make a video for this Report, but the text and graphic support will be, as I mentioned, comprehensive. Here are the design projects each group was asked to develop,

Session 1
7-Segment Tester HC-SR04 Mounting Bracket
Session 2
H-Bridge Motor Shield Stepper Motor Mount


Project 4. MatrixMadeEZ. For his PCB project in Grade 11, Hugo R. (ACES '19) imagined, designed, and developed a handy PCB that future Grade 11s could exploit to hone their LED matrix software animation skills. We're going to incorporate Hugo's terrific little device into an ambitious standalone project. To assist with your time-management pursuits, I'm strongly suggesting you discipline yourself to stick to the timeline below to enable a successful conclusion two weeks from now, on Saturday November 17.


  1. By Tuesday November 6. Before you head home on Tuesday, you've demonstrated that you've worked through the concepts introduced last class (Friday November 2) to the point that the standalone breadboard version of the ATmega328p I gave you can be flashed with the Blink sketch. This is accomplished with the help of your Sparkfun Pocket Programmer and the ACES ISP Breakout Board and cable I distributed. Bring your working system to my desk and I'll give you a PCB and 6-pin right angle header. The other parts can be found in your kits. Note: Be sure to orient your Matrix the correct way as it is virtually impossible to repair if it isn't.
  2. By Thursday November 8. You ARRIVE to our Period 3 class with your MatrixMadeEZ board soldered up and wired either to your Arduino or your standalone. Silk screenong on Hugo's board tell you how to solder it. I'll have mine ready to go and the lesson will introduce you to simple matrix PoV/animation techniques.
  3. The project requires that you develop some form of creative PoV animation involving more parts (sensors, ICs, etc) from your kit, functioning on your standalone Arduino and reflashable on the fly as evidenced in your video. The more unique it is, the better your mark.
  4. You'll appreciate the luxury of a four-day weekend to experiment if you maneuver yourself into that position by the time we break Thursday afternoon. Wise 11s are in the DES after school Tuesday and Thursday keeping up with their peers.
  5. By Wednesday November 14. As has seemingly become the norm, we only meet ONCE in the second week of this projects duration, on the Wednesday. Note: Parent-Teacher interviews are scheduled for Thursday the 15th and Friday the 16th so the DES is not available.
  6. Ambitious and organized ACES will consider pushing their creativity into possible areas such as 3D printing, soldering their standalone Arduino onto a (stackable?) PermaProto board(s), a deluxe ACES Knight Light using an LDR to control the MatrixMadeEZ's dimming feature (DM Pin) or digging deeper into the incredible ICs their kits or in the tipout bins at the back of the DES.

Parts List for Hugo R.'s MatrixMadeEZ PCB,

The 6-pin right-angle male header will allow your device to be mounted vertically in your breadboard, driven by your standalone Arduino. Make Hugo proud.

Project 3. Shift Register - Bargraph. When Tim Morland (ACES '18, Queen's Eng '22) was in Grade 11, he designed the adjacent output PCB based on the 595 Shift Register and a bargraph. Your toolkit contains the SN74HC595 IC, a 16-pin IC Socket, and a 10-LED red bargraph. The remaining parts, a 5-pin right angle male header, 330Ω 8-pin bussed resistor network, and Tim's PCB, will be provided to you.

You are asked to create a unique and interesting prototype that employs Tim's Shift Register-Bargraph output device.

In addition, just as James Lank dipped into his toolbox and incorporated the LCD screen into his previous ASCII & Buttons project because he was intrigued to discover its potential, each of you is required to do the same. Identify a part you have never previously used and combine it with this Shift Register-Bargraph output device in a meaningful way.

Finally, one shortcoming of this device is that there are 10 LEDs in the bargraph but only 8 outputs provided by the onboard '595 shift register. It's kind of like a packs of hot dogs are sold in dozens but the buns, in packs of eight. This is not good but it clearly presents an opportunity for the creative amongst you.

Your mark will be based largely on how creative and how DIFFERENT yours is from everyone else's and how potentially USEFUL your application could be. Give it some deep thought and push yourself hard your efforts could possibly form the basis for a future ISP. I'm looking for trailblazers this weekend, not followers.

Again, for the engineering and for the unique design and creativity.

Project 2. ASCII & Buttons. Time to let the horses run. We've reviewed the Arduino's recognition of the ASCII characters and it's ability to read (properly conditioned) button input. For your second project I want your imagination to take center stage in the pursuit of a creative application involving button presses, ASCII characters, some form of manipulation/processing of the two, and its display.

The -rating of this project is based on for the engineering and for the unique creativity your project will project (how's that for phrasing!). Standard ER sections apply with heightenend awareness of the video constraints now in effect (no music, stable camera and components, no spelling errors in the video titling, and not too many Persian carpet backgrounds)

Project 1. Traffic Light Assembly and Testing. Make the following updates to your ER,

  1. Add ICS3U to your title page after TEL3M
  2. Insert a Next Page Section Break at the end of your Grade 10 reports
  3. Insert a full divider page with ICS3U, in large font, centered on the page. Add another blank page, following.
  4. Adjust the new header to reflect the new ICS3U course code, but continue the page numbering in the footer.
  5. Begin this year's submissions with a report entitled, Project n. Traffic Light Assembly and Testing. For n you may continue the project numbering from last year or start again, your call.
  6. Be sure to update your ToC prior to submission.

Since many of you will be pursuing your driver's license in the near future, the focus of this first summary is the design, careful soldering, programming and thorough testing of a Traffic Light. For the assembly aspect of this project you will solder one each of a green, yellow, and red LEDs onto the section of stripboard you have been provided with. NOTE: The stripboard only has three strips. The placement and orientation of the LEDS is tricky and you must give it some DEEP THOUGHT if you're going to be able to program it so it operates correctly. Take care as there are NO replacement parts. A three-pin right-angle header, soldered at one end, will enable your device to be inserted directly into your Arduino's female port pins (see photo) Be sure to document your soldering of the device through media acquisition that you can include in your report. For the testing aspect, you will include media as well as a simple sketch based on our discussions in class. The fully documented sketch should cycle through the LEDs continuously with the green and red remaining on for 3 s and the yellow, 1 s.

In your report, include the sections Purpose, Reference, Procedure, Code, Media, and Reflection Heading 2 (or 3) style. A full Parts Table should appear right-aligned within the Procedure section.

Stripboard Example