Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Instrumentation Systems
Academic Year
Semester 1
PH15720 or FG15720; or PH15510 or FG15510
External Examiners
  • Professor Pete Vukusic (Professor - Exeter University)
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 1 Hour Lectures
Practical 22 x 3 Hour Practicals


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Labview Report  50%
Semester Assessment Assignments  50%
Supplementary Assessment 2 Hours   Repeat failed components  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Supplementary Exam  50%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Demonstrate an understanding of instrumentation systems.
2. Describe the basic characteristics of digital and analogue signals.
3. Describe different conversion methods between analogue and digital signals and vice versa.
4. Explain the operation of different types of temperature sensor.
5. Explain the operation of different types of light sensor.
6. Describe the operation of other types of sensors and transducers.
7. Analyse the operation of simple filter circuits.
8. Explain the need for filtering in analogue to digital conversion of signals.
9. Demonstrate the use of programmable systems for data acquisition.

Brief description

Measurement is an essential part of the scientific process. Instrumentation is the technology of measurement. In this module, students are taught the fundamental principles of instrumentation, to design a measurement system which takes due regard of problems such as accuracy, time response and noise of the overall system and its suitability for a particular measurement.
Modern instrumentation and data acquisition systems are invariably computer controlled, this module reflects this in its use of PC and other programmable devices to control and acquire data from sensors of various types.


What is an electronic instrumentation system? A top-down approach to system design.
Types of signal encountered by instrumentation systems.
Important terms associated with instrumentation systems.
Comparison of digital and analogue signals.
Analogue to digital conversion and vice versa - sampling and quantisation.
Types of converters and the limitations associated with them.
Physical origins of fundamental noise and its effect on instrumentation.
Examples of sensors used in instrumentation systems.
Effects of loading.
Review of AC circuits and detailed analysis of simple RC circuit.
Use of programmable systems for instrumentation.
Interfacing instrumentation systems

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Use numerical techniques to design and analyse sensor interfacing circuits.
Communication Explain the operation of code segments through the use of comment blocks
Information Technology Program a data acquisition system. Use a computer package to design a simple filter circuit.
Problem solving Evaluate different approaches to sensor interfacing. Create programs to meet a specification.
Research skills Use of datasheets and manufacturer supplied data for design. Research into facilities offered by programming languages.
Subject Specific Skills Use of programmable data acquisition and instrumentation system.
Team work Work with laboratory partner to carry out practical work.


This module is at CQFW Level 5