Embedded Systems

Embedded Systems

Remote Monitoring and Control Systems


remote monitoring and control system - wiring diagram

Wiring Diagram

This module details the process of designing and implementing a system that can remotely monitor and control environmental conditions. It provides the foundation for intelligently automating tasks that would be needed in a greenhouse such as humidity & temperature control. Participants will go through the process of remotely connecting to an embedded system, programming it to collect data and perform tasks through feedback control, and configure it to wirelessly transmit data and commands without the need to be physically present. By the end of the module, students are trained in operating and managing simple remote monitoring systems for both long and short-term projects.

About the Module

This module has been split into three 3-hour workshops. The lab manual is available for viewing and download to the right; in it you will find the details of each day with instructions and important terminology, as well as the equipment list with links for purchase if you would like to attempt these tutorials at home. Each workshop has its own prelab that must be completed before attending the relevant session. You'll be directed to online content and resources designed to give a basic understanding of what you'll be working on for that day, such as circuit simulation tools or an illustration of the different networking protocols. A key component of the prelabs is the use of a lab notebook. Make sure to bring the notebook with any questions you may have on the relevant prelab content to each session; it is important that you understand these concepts. Each day of the module will cover a different topic and will contain a postlab that must be completed on your own time before attending the next session.

Learning Outcomes: By the end of this module, students will have demonstrated familiarity and ability in:

  • Good laboratory Environment, Health and Safety practice
  • Appropriate selection and use of microcontrollers (Arduino UNO) vs single board computers (Raspberry Pi)
  • Basic control structures, Types, and Boolean Operators for general programming
  • Arduino IDE, XCTU programming environments
  • Analysis, design and testing of circuit diagrams and circuits
  • General understanding of communication and networking protocols, both wired and wireless
  • Appropriate selection of electronic components and the use of data sheets
  • Application of tools for project management (engineering notebook)

The example use-case used throughout this Introductory Module is a connected greenhouse. By the end of the three sessions, you will have a foundation for wirelessly transmitting and receiving data regarding lighting and temperature, selecting electronic components, and remotely monitoring and controlling embedded systems.

Session 1: Introduction to IoT Hardware and Software

In this workshop, you will learn introductory programming and basic electronic circuitry while utilizing an Arduino UNO microcontroller for temperature and light sensing. We will discuss different electronic components, explore the microcontroller hardware, and write basic control structures to perform indicator tasks. Students will gain a basic understanding of electric circuits and circuit design, and be able to test and calibrate their systems. This session assumes little to no previous experience, and can be skipped by demonstrating the circuit to S-lab staff.

Session 2: Wireless Communication

This session introduces students to the use of short range wireless communication to connect discrete embedded systems. Participants will learn the simplest form of wirelessly transmitting data using Xbee radios in point to point configuration. By the end of this module, you will be able to wirelessly communicate sensor data to a host computer for processing and display.

Session 3: Multipoint Networking with API Mode

In this final session, you will setup a more robust network with multiple sensor nodes in a star topology. Using API mode for data transmission, we will configure our XBees to automatically recognize other nodes within the network and also function in low power mode. By the end of the module, you will be able to deploy your sensor circuits for wireless control of your solar lantern or another LED based device.


The module will take place in the S-Lab's main facility in the Thimann Labs room 372. Please sign in with the lab manager upon arrival.

Workshops are grouped as one module, available for sign-up to the right. You may not sign up for individual workshops or split between multiple sessions. Plan to attend all three workshops in your module.

Before attending your workshop, please review the manual and complete the online training. You are required to complete the EH&S Lab Safety Fundamentals and the EH&S Electrical Safety in Research courses through the UC Learning website before beginning any work in the lab.

Note: if you would like to use your own computer for this workshop, you must complete the "Set up" section in the lab manual before attending the first session.