Posts with «adc» label

Your Arduino SAMD21 ADC is Lying to You

One of the great things about the Arduino environment is that it covers a wide variety of hardware with a common interface. Importantly, this isn’t just about language, but also about abstracting away the gory details of the underlying silicon. The problem is, of course, that someone has to decode often cryptic datasheets to write that interface layer in the first place. In a recent blog post on omzlo.com, [Alain] explains how they found a bug in the Arduino SAMD21 analogRead() code which causes the output to be offset by between 25 mV and 57 mV. For a 12-bit ADC operating with a reference of 3.3 V, this represents a whopping error of up to 70 least-significant-bits!

Excerpt from the SAMD wiring_analog.c file in the Arduino Core repo.

While developing a shield that interfaces to 24 V systems, the development team noticed that the ADC readings on a SAMD21-based board were off by a consistent 35 mV; expanding their tests to a number of different analog pins and SAMD21 boards, they saw offsets between 25 mV and 57 mV. It seems like this offset was a known issue; Arduino actually provides code to calibrate the ADC on SAMD boards, which will “fix” the problem with software gain and offset factors, although this can reduce the range of the ADC slightly. Still, having to correct for this level of error on a microcontroller ADC in 2019 — or even 2015 when the code was written — seems really wrong.

After writing their own ADC read routine that produced errors of only between 1 mV and 5 mV (1 to 6 LSB), the team turned their attention to the Arduino code. That code disables the ADC between measurements, and when it is re-enabled for each measurement, the first result needs to be discarded. It turns out that the Arduino code doesn’t wait for the first, garbage, result to finish before starting the next one. That is enough to cause the observed offset issue.

It seems odd to us that such a bug would go unnoticed for so long, but we’ve all seen stranger things happen. There are instructions on the blog page on how to quickly test this bug. We didn’t have a SAMD21-based Arduino available for testing before press time, but if you’ve got one handy and can replicate these experiments to verify the results, definitely let us know in the comments section below.

If you don’t have an Arduino board with a SAMD21 uC, you can find out more about them here.

Hack a Day 30 Aug 16:01

Save Some Steps with this Arduino Rapid Design Board

We’re all familiar with the wide variety of Arduino development boards available these days, and we see project after project wired up on a Nano or an Uno. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course, but there comes a point where some hobbyists want to move beyond plugging wires into header sockets and build the microcontroller right into their project. That’s when one generally learns that development boards do a lot more than break the microcontroller lines out to headers, and that rolling your own design means including all that supporting circuitry.

To make that transition easier, [Sean Hodgins] has come up with a simple Arduino-compatible module that can be soldered right to a PCB. Dubbed the “HCC Mod” for the plated half-circle castellations that allows for easy soldering, the module is based on the Atmel SAMD21 microcontroller. With 16 GPIO lines, six ADCs, an onboard 3.3 V regulator, and a reset button, the module has everything needed to get started — just design a PCB with the right pad layout, solder it on, and surround it with your circuitry. Programming is done in the familiar Arduino IDE so you can get up and running quickly. [Sean] has a Kickstarter going for the modules, but he’s also releasing it as open source so you’re free to solder up your own like he does in the video below.

It’s certainly not the first dev module that can be directly soldered to a PCB, but we like the design and can see how it would simplify designs. [Sean] as shown us a lot of builds before, like this army of neural net robots, so he’ll no doubt put these modules to good use.

Detecting motion with an Arduino and two wires

Connor Nishijima has come with a unique way to detect motion using an Arduino Uno. The active media developer is polling an ADC pin with a pair of wires twisted tightly together — one plugged into A3, another plugged into ground — and generating readings whenever a large living object (like his two cats) is nearby.

“The closest I have ever come to explaining this is capacitive coupling. So what it is is the antenna is leaching a little bit of electricity off you, and you are leaching a little bit of electricity from the antenna. The differential that happens when you move around is what the Arduino is picking up.”

He’s calling this effect “Capacitive Turbulence,” and so far he’s only got it work on the Arduino, no luck using other boards with ADCs. You can watch him explain this magical phenomenon in more detail below!

Digital to Analog to Digital to Analog to Digital Conversion

[Andy] had the idea of turning a mixing desk into a MIDI controller. At first glance, this idea seems extremely practical – mixers are a great way to get a lot of dials and faders in a cheap, compact, and robust enclosure. Exactly how you turn a mixer into a MIDI device is what’s important. This build might not be the most efficient, but it does have the best name ever: digital to analog to digital to analog to digital conversion.

The process starts by generating a sine wave on an Arduino with some direct digital synthesis. A 480 Hz square wave is generated on an ATTiny85. Both of these signals are then fed into a 74LS08 AND gate. According to the schematic [Andy] posted, these signals are going into two different gates, with the other input of the gate pulled high. The output of the gate is then sent through a pair of resistors and combined to the ‘audio out’ signal. [Andy] says this is ‘spine-crawling’ for people who do this professionally. If anyone knows what this part of the circuit actually does, please leave a note in the comments.

The signal from the AND gates is then fed into the mixer and sent out to the analog input of another Arduino. This Arduino converts the audio coming out of the mixer to frequencies using a Fast Hartley Transform. With a binary representation of what’s happening inside the mixer, [Andy] has something that can be converted into MIDI.

[Andy] put up a demo of this circuit working. He’s connected the MIDI out to Abelton and can modify MIDI parameters using an audio mixer. Video of that below if you’re still trying to wrap your head around this one.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, digital audio hacks

Tutorial – pcDuino GPIO with Arduino IDE

Introduction

In this tutorial we’ll explain how to use the GPIO pins of the Arduino implementation in the pcDuino v2 and v3. As the v3 is now available you can use it as well, and it’s interchangeable with the v2. Although the pcDuino v2 is Arduino-compatible, there are a few differences that you need to be aware of – in order to make your projects a success and also to avoid any costly mistakes.

This tutorial builds on the knowledge from the initial review, so if pcDuino v2 is new to you please review this article before moving on. In this instalment we’ll run through the following:

  • ADC (analogue to digital)
  • Digital input and outputs
  • PWM (pulse-width modulation)
  • I2C bus
  • SPI bus

Using ADC pins

Just like an Arduino Uno or compatible, the pcDuino v2 has six ADC pins, in the expected locations:

Using the pcDuino v2’s ADC pins is quite straight forward, however you just need to remember a few things about the hardware – that the maximum input voltage on A0 and A1 is 2V – and 3.3V for A2~A5.

Although there is an AREF pin on the board, this function isn’t supported at the time of writing. From the software perspective A0 and A1’s values have a 6-bit resolution and can fall between 0 and 63 (0~2V), otherwise the others have a 12-bit resolution and thus return values between 0 and 4095 (0~3.3V). Using the ADC pins is simple, and demonstrated in the following sketch:

// pcDuino v2 ADC demonstration

#include <core.h> // for pcDuino

int a0, a1, a2, a3, a4, a5;

void setup() 
{
}

void loop() 
{
  // read all the ADCs
  a0 = analogRead(0);
  a1 = analogRead(1);
  a2 = analogRead(2);
  a3 = analogRead(3);
  a4 = analogRead(4);
  a5 = analogRead(5);
  // display ADC values to console
  printf(A0, A1,   A2,   A3,   A4,   A5\n);
  printf(%d  %d  %d  %d  %d  %d\n, a0, a1, a2, a3, a4, a5);
  printf(n);
  delay(1000);
}

… which results with the following in the console:

Digital outputs

The pcDuino v2’s implementation of digital outputs aren’t anything out of the ordinary – except that you are limited to a maximum voltage of 3.3V instead of the usual 5V. Furthermore you can only source 4mA from each pin. However if you have some 5V-only shields that you must use with your pcDuino v2 – there is a Voltage Translation board that can be used to solve the problem:

However using 3.3V for new designs shouldn’t be an issue – new sensors, ICs and so on should be 3.3V-compatible. And with the pcDuino v2 you get an extra four digital I/O pins, located next to the SPI grouping as shown below:

These are simply addressed as D14~D17. Now back for a quick demonstration with the typical LEDs. As the current sourced from each GPIO pin cannot exceed 4mA, you need to use a resistor to keep things under control. Using the LED wizard, by entering a 3.3V supply, 2.1V forward voltage for our LEDs and a 4mA current – the resistor value to use is 330Ω.

If you’re having a lazy attack and use 560Ω, the current will be around 2.5mA with acceptable results. We’ve done just that with the following demonstration sketch:

// pcDuino v2 digital output demonstration

#include <core.h> // for pcDuino

void setup() 
{
  pinMode(4, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(5, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(6, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(7, OUTPUT);  
  digitalWrite(4, LOW);  
  digitalWrite(5, LOW);
  digitalWrite(6, LOW);
  digitalWrite(7, LOW);  
}

void loop() 
{
  for (int i = 4; i < 8; i++)
  {
    digitalWrite(i, HIGH);
    delay(250);
    digitalWrite(i, LOW);
  }
}

… and the results in this video.

Digital inputs

When using the digital pins as inputs, just treat them as normal except they have a maximum input voltage of 3.3V for HIGH. Again – just keep thinking “3.3V”.

Using the I2C data bus

The I2C bus (or “two wire interface”) is a common serial data bus used for interfacing all manner of devices with a microcontroller. You can find a background on the I2C bus and Arduino tutorial here. Just like an Arduino Uno R3, the I2C bus pins are both A4 and A5 (for SCL and SDA) and can also be found up near D13, for example.

The limitations for the pcDuino v2’s version of I2C bus are few – the maximum speed is 200 kHz, it only uses 7-bit addresses and you can’t use the pcDuino in slave mode. However there are 2.2kΩ pullup resistors which can save using them with external circuitry.

We demonstrate the I2C bus by writing data to and reading it from a Microchip 24LC256 EEPROM (which is handy in itself as there isn’t any EEPROM function on the pcDuino v2). This is demonstrated with an Arduino Uno in part two of our I2C tutorials.

Connection is very easy – pins 1 to 4 of the EEPROM are connected to GND, pin 5 to SDA, pin 6 to SCL, pin 7 to GND and pin 8 to 3.3V. Finally a 0.1uF capacitor is placed across 3.3V and GND.

The sketch to read and write values to the EEPROM is simple, and apart from the #include <core.h> for the pcDuino all the other functions operate as normal.

// pcDuino I2C demonstration

#include <core.h> // for pcDuino
#include <Wire.h>   for I2C
#define chip1 0x50  device bus address for EEPROM

// always have your values in variables
unsigned int pointer = 69;  // we need this to be unsigned, as you may have an address  32767
byte d=0;  // example variable to handle data going in and out of EERPROMS

void setup()
{
  Wire.begin();  // wake up, I2C!
}

void writeData(int device, unsigned int add, byte data) 
// writes a byte of data 'data' to the chip at I2C address 'device', in memory location 'add'
{
  Wire.beginTransmission(device);
  Wire.write((int)(add  8)); // left-part of pointer address
  Wire.write((int)(add & 0xFF)); // and the right
  Wire.write(data);
  Wire.endTransmission();
  delay(10);
}

byte readData(int device, unsigned int add) 
// reads a byte of data from memory location 'add' in chip at I2C address 'device' 
{
  byte result;  // returned value
  Wire.beginTransmission(device);  // these three lines set the pointer position in the EEPROM
  Wire.write((int)(add  8));  // left-part of pointer address
  Wire.write((int)(add & 0xFF)); // and the right
  Wire.endTransmission();
  Wire.requestFrom(device,1); // now get the byte of data...
  result = Wire.read();
  return result;  // and return it as a result of the function readData
}

void loop()
{
  printf(Writing data...\n);
  for (int a=0; a10; a++)
  {
    writeData(chip1,a,a);
  }
  printf(Reading data...\n);
  for (int a=0; a10; a++)
  {
    d=readData(chip1,a);    
    printf(Pointer %d holds %d.\n,a,d);
  }
}

… which results with the following output in the console:

As you now know, using I2C isn’t hard at all. A lot of beginners shy away from it – or run screaming for the nearest library for their part. You don’t need libraries – spend a little time now learning about I2C and you’re set for life.

Using the SPI data bus

Again we have some SPI tutorials for Arduino, so check them out first if the concept is new to you. Writing to an SPI device with the pcDuino v2 isn’t tricky at all, you have the 3.3V hardware limitation and the SPI pins are in the same location (D10~D13) or in a separate group on the board:

Furthermore the maximum SPI speed is 12 MHz and the pcDuino v2’s  implementation of SPI can only work as a master. However in the sketch there are a few differences to note. To demonstrate this we’ll control a Microchip MCP4162 digital rheostat via SPI to control the brightness of an LED. Here is the circuit:

And now for the sketch. Take note of the fourth line in void setup() –  this is used to set the SPI bus speed to 12 MHz. You can also reduce the speed with other multipliers such as 32, 64 and 128 to slow it down even further. The other point to note is the use of SPI.transfer(). With the pcDuino v2 there are two parameters – the first is the data to send to the SPI device, and the second is either

SPI_CONTINUE

if there is another byte of data following immediately, or

SPI_LAST

if that is the last byte for that immediate transfer. You can see this use of the paramters within the function setValue() in the demonstration sketch below.

// pcDuino SPI demonstration

#include <core.h>  // for pcDuino
#include <SPI.h>
int ss = 10;
int del = 1000;

void setup()
{
  SPI.begin();
  SPI.setDataMode(SPI_MODE3);
  SPI.setBitOrder(MSBFIRST);
  SPI.setClockDivider(SPI_CLOCK_DIV16);
  pinMode(ss, OUTPUT);
  digitalWrite(ss, HIGH);
}

void setValue(int value)
{
  digitalWrite(ss, LOW);
  SPI.transfer(0, SPI_CONTINUE);
  SPI.transfer(value, SPI_LAST);
  digitalWrite(ss, HIGH);
}

void loop()
{
  setValue(255);
  delay(del);
  setValue(223);
  delay(del);
  setValue(191);
  delay(del);
  setValue(159);
  delay(del);
  setValue(127);
  delay(del);
  setValue(95);
  delay(del);
  setValue(63);
  delay(del);
  setValue(31);
  delay(del);
  setValue(0);
  delay(del);
}

When using the SPI bus, relevant data will appear in the console, for example:

And finally the demonstration video to show you it really works – you can see the output voltage from the rheostat and the matching LED brightness.

Receiving data from the SPI bus is equally as simple, however at the time of writing we don’t have an SPI device to demonstrate this, so please refer the SPI part of the pcDuino guide. Finally, you can’t use PWM on D10 or D11 when using the SPI bus in your sketch.

Pulse-width modulation

You can simulate analogue output using PWM with a pcDuino v2 – however there are two types of PWM pins available. The first is found on digital pins D3, D9, D10 and D11 – they are simulated PWM – and have a low range of zero to twenty at 5 Hz. There are two hardware PWM pins – D5 and D6, which  run at 520Hz and have the full range of 0~255 available in analogWrite(). Once again – they output 3.3V. Furthermore, you can’t use pinMode() functions or the SPI bus if using D10 and/or D11 for PWM.

Conclusion

Now you should have an understanding of the features and limitations of using GPIO pins with your pcDuino v2 Arduino sketches. And finally a plug for my own store – tronixlabs.com – offering a growing range and Australia’s best value for supported hobbyist electronics from adafruit, DFRobot, Freetronics, Seeed Studio and much more.

Have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitterGoogle+, subscribe  for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column, or join our forum – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website.

The post Tutorial – pcDuino GPIO with Arduino IDE appeared first on tronixstuff.

Tronixstuff 29 Jan 04:12
adc  arduino  gpio  i2c  input  output  pcduino  pwm  review  spi  tronixlabs  tronixstuff  tutorial  

Arduino Tutorials – Chapter 22 – the AREF pin

Learn how to measure smaller voltages with greater accuracy using your Arduino.

This is chapter twenty-two of our huge Arduino tutorial seriesUpdated 12/12/2013

In this chapter we’ll look at how you can measure smaller voltages with greater accuracy using the analogue input pins on your Arduino or compatible board in conjunction with the AREF pin. However first we’ll do some revision to get you up to speed. Please read this post entirely before working with AREF the first time.

Revision

You may recall from the first few chapters in our tutorial series that we used the analogRead() function to measure the voltage of an electrical current from sensors and so on using one of the analogue input pins. The value returned from analogRead() would be between zero an 1023, with zero representing zero volts and 1023 representing the operating voltage of the Arduino board in use.

And when we say the operating voltage – this is the voltage available to the Arduino after the power supply circuitry. For example, if you have a typical Arduino Uno board and run it from the USB socket – sure, there is 5V available to the board from the USB socket on your computer or hub – but the voltage is reduced slightly as the current winds around the circuit to the microcontroller – or the USB source just isn’t up to scratch.

This can easily be demonstrated by connecting an Arduino Uno to USB and putting a multimeter set to measure voltage across the 5V and GND pins. Some boards will return as low as 4.8 V, some higher but still below 5V. So if you’re gunning for accuracy, power your board from an external power supply via the DC socket or Vin pin – such as 9V DC. Then after that goes through the power regulator circuit you’ll have a nice 5V, for example:

This is important as the accuracy of any analogRead() values will be affected by not having a true 5 V. If you don’t have any option, you can use some maths in your sketch to compensate for the drop in voltage. For example, if your voltage is 4.8V – the analogRead() range of 0~1023 will relate to 0~4.8V and not 0~5V. This may sound trivial, however if you’re using a sensor that returns a value as a voltage (e.g. the TMP36 temperature sensor) – the calculated value will be wrong. So in the interests of accuracy, use an external power supply.

Why does analogRead() return a value between 0 and 1023?

This is due to the resolution of the ADC. The resolution (for this article) is the degree to which something can be represented numerically. The higher the resolution, the greater accuracy with which something can be represented. We measure resolution in the terms of the number of bits of resolution.

For example, a 1-bit resolution would only allow two (two to the power of one) values – zero and one. A 2-bit resolution would allow four (two to the power of two) values – zero, one, two and three. If we tried to measure  a five volt range with a two-bit resolution, and the measured voltage was four volts, our ADC would return a numerical value of 3 – as four volts falls between 3.75 and 5V. It is easier to imagine this with the following image:

 So with our example ADC with 2-bit resolution, it can only represent the voltage with four possible resulting values. If the input voltage falls between 0 and 1.25, the ADC returns numerical 0; if the voltage falls between 1.25 and 2.5, the ADC returns a numerical value of 1. And so on. With our Arduino’s ADC range of 0~1023 – we have 1024 possible values – or 2 to the power of 10. So our Arduinos have an ADC with a 10-bit resolution.

So what is AREF? 

To cut a long story short, when your Arduino takes an analogue reading, it compares the voltage measured at the analogue pin being used against what is known as the reference voltage. In normal analogRead use, the reference voltage is the operating voltage of the board. For the more popular Arduino boards such as the Uno, Mega, Duemilanove and Leonardo/Yún boards, the operating voltage of 5V. If you have an Arduino Due board, the operating voltage is 3.3V. If you have something else – check the Arduino product page or ask your board supplier.

So if you have a reference voltage of 5V, each unit returned by analogRead() is valued at 0.00488 V. (This is calculated by dividing 1024 into 5V). What if we want to measure voltages between 0 and 2, or 0 and 4.6? How would the ADC know what is 100% of our voltage range?

And therein lies the reason for the AREF pin. AREF means Analogue REFerence. It allows us to feed the Arduino a reference voltage from an external power supply. For example, if we want to measure voltages with a maximum range of 3.3V, we would feed a nice smooth 3.3V into the AREF pin – perhaps from a voltage regulator IC. Then the each step of the ADC would represent around 3.22 millivolts (divide 1024 into 3.3).

Note that the lowest reference voltage you can have is 1.1V. There are two forms of AREF – internal and external, so let’s check them out.

External AREF

An external AREF is where you supply an external reference voltage to the Arduino board. This can come from a regulated power supply, or if you need 3.3V you can get it from the Arduino’s 3.3V pin. If you are using an external power supply, be sure to connect the GND to the Arduino’s GND pin. Or if you’re using the Arduno’s 3.3V source – just run a jumper from the 3.3V pin to the AREF pin.

To activate the external AREF, use the following in void setup():

analogReference(EXTERNAL); // use AREF for reference voltage

This sets the reference voltage to whatever you have connected to the AREF pin – which of course will have a voltage between 1.1V and the board’s operation voltage.

Very important note – when using an external voltage reference, you must set the analogue reference to EXTERNAL before using analogRead(). This will prevent you from shorting the active internal reference voltage and the AREF pin, which can damage the microcontroller on the board.

If necessary for your application, you can revert back to the board’s operating voltage for AREF (that is – back to normal) with the following:

analogReference(DEFAULT);

Now to demonstrate external AREF at work. Using a 3.3V AREF, the following sketch measures the voltage from A0 and displays the percentage of total AREF and the calculated voltage:

#include <LiquidCrystal.h>
LiquidCrystal lcd(8,9,4,5,6,7);

int analoginput = 0; // our analog pin
int analogamount = 0; // stores incoming value
float percentage = 0; // used to store our percentage value
float voltage =0; // used to store voltage value

void setup()
{
  lcd.begin(16, 2);
  analogReference(EXTERNAL); // use AREF for reference voltage
}

void loop()
{
  lcd.clear();
  analogamount=analogRead(analoginput);
  percentage=(analogamount/1024.00)*100;
  voltage=analogamount*3.222; // in millivolts
  lcd.setCursor(0,0);
  lcd.print("% of AREF: ");
  lcd.print(percentage,2);
  lcd.setCursor(0,1);  
  lcd.print("A0 (mV): ");
  lcd.println(voltage,2);
  delay(250);
}

The results of the sketch above are shown in the following video:

Internal AREF

The microcontrollers on our Arduino boards can also generate an internal reference voltage of 1.1V and we can use this for AREF work. Simply use the line:

analogReference(INTERNAL);

For Arduino Mega boards, use:

analogReference(INTERNAL1V1);

in void setup() and you’re off. If you have an Arduino Mega there is also a 2.56V reference voltage available which is activated with:

analogReference(INTERNAL2V56);

Finally – before settling on the results from your AREF pin, always calibrate the readings against a known good multimeter.

Conclusion

The AREF function gives you more flexibility with measuring analogue signals. If you are interested in using specific ADC components, we have tutorials on the ADS1110 16-bit ADC and the NXP PCF 8591 8-bit A/D and D/A IC.

Stay tuned for upcoming Arduino tutorials by subscribing to the blog, RSS feed (top-right), twitter or joining our Google Group. And if you enjoyed the tutorial, or want to introduce someone else to the interesting world of Arduino – check out my book (now in a third printing!) “Arduino Workshop” from No Starch Press.

 

The post Arduino Tutorials – Chapter 22 – the AREF pin appeared first on tronixstuff.

Arduino Tutorials – Chapter 22 – the AREF pin

Learn how to measure smaller voltages with greater accuracy using your Arduino.

This is chapter twenty-two of our huge Arduino tutorial seriesUpdated 12/12/2013

In this chapter we’ll look at how you can measure smaller voltages with greater accuracy using the analogue input pins on your Arduino or compatible board in conjunction with the AREF pin. However first we’ll do some revision to get you up to speed. Please read this post entirely before working with AREF the first time.

Revision

You may recall from the first few chapters in our tutorial series that we used the analogRead() function to measure the voltage of an electrical current from sensors and so on using one of the analogue input pins. The value returned from analogRead() would be between zero an 1023, with zero representing zero volts and 1023 representing the operating voltage of the Arduino board in use.

And when we say the operating voltage – this is the voltage available to the Arduino after the power supply circuitry. For example, if you have a typical Arduino Uno board and run it from the USB socket – sure, there is 5V available to the board from the USB socket on your computer or hub – but the voltage is reduced slightly as the current winds around the circuit to the microcontroller – or the USB source just isn’t up to scratch.

This can easily be demonstrated by connecting an Arduino Uno to USB and putting a multimeter set to measure voltage across the 5V and GND pins. Some boards will return as low as 4.8 V, some higher but still below 5V. So if you’re gunning for accuracy, power your board from an external power supply via the DC socket or Vin pin – such as 9V DC. Then after that goes through the power regulator circuit you’ll have a nice 5V, for example:

This is important as the accuracy of any analogRead() values will be affected by not having a true 5 V. If you don’t have any option, you can use some maths in your sketch to compensate for the drop in voltage. For example, if your voltage is 4.8V – the analogRead() range of 0~1023 will relate to 0~4.8V and not 0~5V. This may sound trivial, however if you’re using a sensor that returns a value as a voltage (e.g. the TMP36 temperature sensor) – the calculated value will be wrong. So in the interests of accuracy, use an external power supply.

Why does analogRead() return a value between 0 and 1023?

This is due to the resolution of the ADC. The resolution (for this article) is the degree to which something can be represented numerically. The higher the resolution, the greater accuracy with which something can be represented. We measure resolution in the terms of the number of bits of resolution.

For example, a 1-bit resolution would only allow two (two to the power of one) values – zero and one. A 2-bit resolution would allow four (two to the power of two) values – zero, one, two and three. If we tried to measure  a five volt range with a two-bit resolution, and the measured voltage was four volts, our ADC would return a numerical value of 3 – as four volts falls between 3.75 and 5V. It is easier to imagine this with the following image:

 So with our example ADC with 2-bit resolution, it can only represent the voltage with four possible resulting values. If the input voltage falls between 0 and 1.25, the ADC returns numerical 0; if the voltage falls between 1.25 and 2.5, the ADC returns a numerical value of 1. And so on. With our Arduino’s ADC range of 0~1023 – we have 1024 possible values – or 2 to the power of 10. So our Arduinos have an ADC with a 10-bit resolution.

So what is AREF? 

To cut a long story short, when your Arduino takes an analogue reading, it compares the voltage measured at the analogue pin being used against what is known as the reference voltage. In normal analogRead use, the reference voltage is the operating voltage of the board. For the more popular Arduino boards such as the Uno, Mega, Duemilanove and Leonardo/Yún boards, the operating voltage of 5V. If you have an Arduino Due board, the operating voltage is 3.3V. If you have something else – check the Arduino product page or ask your board supplier.

So if you have a reference voltage of 5V, each unit returned by analogRead() is valued at 0.00488 V. (This is calculated by dividing 1024 into 5V). What if we want to measure voltages between 0 and 2, or 0 and 4.6? How would the ADC know what is 100% of our voltage range?

And therein lies the reason for the AREF pin. AREF means Analogue REFerence. It allows us to feed the Arduino a reference voltage from an external power supply. For example, if we want to measure voltages with a maximum range of 3.3V, we would feed a nice smooth 3.3V into the AREF pin – perhaps from a voltage regulator IC. Then the each step of the ADC would represent around 3.22 millivolts (divide 1024 into 3.3).

Note that the lowest reference voltage you can have is 1.1V. There are two forms of AREF – internal and external, so let’s check them out.

External AREF

An external AREF is where you supply an external reference voltage to the Arduino board. This can come from a regulated power supply, or if you need 3.3V you can get it from the Arduino’s 3.3V pin. If you are using an external power supply, be sure to connect the GND to the Arduino’s GND pin. Or if you’re using the Arduno’s 3.3V source – just run a jumper from the 3.3V pin to the AREF pin.

To activate the external AREF, use the following in void setup():

analogReference(EXTERNAL); // use AREF for reference voltage

This sets the reference voltage to whatever you have connected to the AREF pin – which of course will have a voltage between 1.1V and the board’s operation voltage.

Very important note – when using an external voltage reference, you must set the analogue reference to EXTERNAL before using analogRead(). This will prevent you from shorting the active internal reference voltage and the AREF pin, which can damage the microcontroller on the board.

If necessary for your application, you can revert back to the board’s operating voltage for AREF (that is – back to normal) with the following:

analogReference(DEFAULT);

Now to demonstrate external AREF at work. Using a 3.3V AREF, the following sketch measures the voltage from A0 and displays the percentage of total AREF and the calculated voltage:

#include <LiquidCrystal.h>
LiquidCrystal lcd(8,9,4,5,6,7);

int analoginput = 0; // our analog pin
int analogamount = 0; // stores incoming value
float percentage = 0; // used to store our percentage value
float voltage =0; // used to store voltage value

void setup()
{
  lcd.begin(16, 2);
  analogReference(EXTERNAL); // use AREF for reference voltage
}

void loop()
{
  lcd.clear();
  analogamount=analogRead(analoginput);
  percentage=(analogamount/1024.00)*100;
  voltage=analogamount*3.222; // in millivolts
  lcd.setCursor(0,0);
  lcd.print("% of AREF: ");
  lcd.print(percentage,2);
  lcd.setCursor(0,1);  
  lcd.print("A0 (mV): ");
  lcd.println(voltage,2);
  delay(250);
}

The results of the sketch above are shown in the following video:

Internal AREF

The microcontrollers on our Arduino boards can also generate an internal reference voltage of 1.1V and we can use this for AREF work. Simply use the line:

analogReference(INTERNAL);

For Arduino Mega boards, use:

analogReference(INTERNAL1V1);

in void setup() and you’re off. If you have an Arduino Mega there is also a 2.56V reference voltage available which is activated with:

analogReference(INTERNAL2V56);

Finally – before settling on the results from your AREF pin, always calibrate the readings against a known good multimeter.

Conclusion

The AREF function gives you more flexibility with measuring analogue signals. If you are interested in using specific ADC components, we have tutorials on the ADS1110 16-bit ADC and the NXP PCF 8591 8-bit A/D and D/A IC.

Stay tuned for upcoming Arduino tutorials by subscribing to the blog, RSS feed (top-right), twitter or joining our Google Group. And if you enjoyed the tutorial, or want to introduce someone else to the interesting world of Arduino – check out my book (now in a third printing!) “Arduino Workshop” from No Starch Press.

 

Tutorial – Arduino and the TI ADS1110 16-bit ADC

Learn how to use the TI ADS1110 16-bit ADC with Arduino in chapter fifty-three of my Arduino Tutorials. The first chapter is here, the complete series is detailed here.

Updated 02/07/2013

Introduction

Moving on from the last chapter where we explained an 8-bit ADC, in this instalment we have the Texas Instruments ADS1110 – an incredibly tiny but useful 16-bit analogue-to-digital converter IC.  It can operate between 2.7 and 5.5 V so it’s also fine for Arduino Due and other lower-voltage development boards. This is a quick guide to get you going with the ADS1110 ready for further applications. Before continuing any further, please download the data sheet (pdf) as it will be useful and referred to during this tutorial. The ADS1110 gives you the option of a more accurate ADC than offered by the Arduino’s 10-bit ADCs – and it’s relatively easy to use. The only block for some is the package type – it’s only available in SOT23-6:

So unless you’re making a customised PCB, some sort of breakout will be required. One useful example is the Schmartboard we reviewed earlier:

The ADS1110 uses the I2C bus for communication, so if this is new to you – please review the I2C tutorials before continuing. And as there’s only six pins you can’t set the bus address – instead, you can select from six variants of the ADS1110 – each with their own address (see page two of the data sheet). As you can see the in the photo above, ours is marked “EDO” which matches to the bus address 1001000 or 0x48h. And with the example circuits we’ve used 10kΩ pull-up resistors on the I2C bus. You can use the ADS1110 as either a single-ended or differential ADC –  But first we need to examine the configuration register which is used to control various attributes, and the data register.

Configuration register

Turn to page eleven of the data sheet. The configuration register is one byte in size, and as the ADS1110 resets on a power-cycle – you need to reset the register if your needs are different to the defaults. The data sheet spells it out quite neatly… bits 0 and 1 determine the gain setting for the PGA (programmable gain amplifier). If you’re just measuring voltages or experimenting, leave these as zero for a gain of 1V/V. Next, the data rate for the ADS1110 is controlled with bits 2 and 3. If you have continuous sampling turned on, this determines the number of samples per second taken by the ADC.

After some experimenting with an Arduino Uno we found the values returned from the ADC were a bit off when using the fastest rate, so leave it as 15 SPS unless required otherwise. Bit 4 sets either continuous sampling (0) or one-off sampling (1). Ignore bits 5 and 6, however they’re always set as 0. Finally bit 7 – if you’re in one-off sampling mode, setting it to 1 requests a sample – and reading it will tell you if the returned data is new (0) or old (1). You can check that the value measured is a new value – if the first bit of the configuration byte that comes after the data is 0, it’s new. If it returns 1 the ADC conversion hasn’t finished.

Data register

As the ADS1110 is a 16-bit ADC, it returns the data over two bytes – and then follows with the value of the configuration register. So if you request three bytes the whole lot comes back. The data is in “two’s complement” form, which is a method of using signed numbers with binary. Converting those two bytes is done by some simple maths. When sampling at 15 SPS, the value returned by the ADS1110 (not the voltage)  falls between -32768 and 32767. The higher byte of the value is multiplied by 256, then added to the lower byte – which is then multiplied by 2.048 and finally divided by 32768. Don’t panic, as we do this in the example sketch below.

Single-ended ADC mode

In this mode you can read a voltage that falls between zero and 2.048 V (which also happens to be the inbuilt reference voltage for the ADS1110). The example circuit is simple (from the data sheet):

Don’t forget the 10kΩ pull-up resistors on the I2C bus. The following sketch uses the ADS1110 in the default mode, and simply returns the voltage measured:

// Example 53.1 - ADS1110 single-sided voltmeter (0~2.048VDC)

#include "Wire.h"
#define ads1110 0x48
float voltage, data;
byte highbyte, lowbyte, configRegister;
void setup()
{
 Serial.begin(9600);
 Wire.begin();
}
void loop()
{
 Wire.requestFrom(ads1110, 3);
 while(Wire.available()) // ensure all the data comes in
 {
 highbyte = Wire.read(); // high byte * B11111111
 lowbyte = Wire.read(); // low byte
 configRegister = Wire.read();
 }

 data = highbyte * 256;
 data = data + lowbyte;
 Serial.print("Data >> ");
 Serial.println(data, DEC);
 Serial.print("Voltage >> ");
 voltage = data * 2.048 ;
 voltage = voltage / 32768.0;
 Serial.print(voltage, DEC);
 Serial.println(" V");
 delay(1000);
}

Once uploaded, connect the signal to measure and open the serial monitor – you’ll be presented with something similar to:

If you need to alter the gain of the internal programmable gain amplifier of the ADC – you’ll need to write a new byte into the configuration register using:

Wire.beginTransmission(ads1110);
Wire.write(configuration byte); 
Wire.endTransmission();

before requesting the ADC data. This would be 0x8D, 0x8E or 0x8F for gain values of 2, 4 and 8 respectively – and use 0x8C to reset the ADS1110 back to default.

Differential ADC mode

In this mode you can read the difference between two voltages that each fall between zero and 5 V. The example circuit is simple (from the data sheet):

We must note here (and in the data sheet) that the ADS1110 can’t accept negative voltages on either of the inputs. You can use the previous sketch for the same results – and the resulting voltage will be the value of Vin- subtracted from Vin+. For example, if you had 2 V on Vin+ and 1 V on Vin- the resulting voltage would be 1 V (with the gain set to 1).

Conclusion

Once again I hope you found this of interest, and possibly useful. And if you enjoy my tutorials, or want to introduce someone else to the interesting world of Arduino – check out my new book “Arduino Workshop” from No Starch Press.

In the meanwhile have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitterGoogle+, subscribe  for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column? And join our friendly Google Group – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website. Sign up – it’s free, helpful to each other –  and we can all learn something.

The post Tutorial – Arduino and the TI ADS1110 16-bit ADC appeared first on tronixstuff.

Tronixstuff 02 Jul 09:06

Tutorial – Arduino and PCF8591 ADC DAC IC

Learn how to use the NXP PCF 8591 8-bit A/D and D/A IC with Arduino in chapter fifty-two of my Arduino Tutorials. The first chapter is here, the complete series is detailed here.

Updated 17/06/2013

Introduction

Have you ever wanted more analogue input pins on your Arduino project, but not wanted to fork out for a Mega? Or would you like to generate analogue signals? Then check out the subject of our tutorial – the NXP PCF8591 IC. It solves both these problems as it has a single DAC (digital to analogue) converter as well as four ADCs (analogue to digital converters) – all accessible via the I2C bus. If the I2C bus is new to you, please familiarise yourself with the readings here before moving forward.

The PCF8591 is available in DIP form, which makes it easy to experiment with:

You can get them from the usual retailers. Before moving on, download the data sheet. The PCF8591 can operate on both 5V and 3.3V so if you’re using an Arduino Due, Raspberry Pi or other 3.3 V development board you’re fine. Now we’ll first explain the DAC, then the ADCs.

Using the DAC (digital-to-analogue converter)

The DAC on the PCF8591 has a resolution of 8-bits – so it can generate a theoretical signal of between zero volts and the reference voltage (Vref) in 255 steps. For demonstration purposes we’ll use a Vref of 5V, and you can use a lower Vref such as 3.3V or whatever you wish the maximum value to be … however it must be less than the supply voltage. Note that when there is a load on the analogue output (a real-world situation), the maximum output voltage will drop – the data sheet (which you downloaded) shows a 10% drop for a 10kΩ load. Now for our demonstration circuit:

Note the use of 10kΩ pull-up resistors on the I2C bus, and the 10μF capacitor between 5V and GND. The I2C bus address is set by a combination of pins A0~A2, and with them all to GND the address is 0x90. The analogue output can be taken from pin 15 (and there’s a seperate analogue GND on pin 13. Also, connect pin 13 to GND, and circuit GND to Arduino GND.

To control the DAC we need to send two bytes of data. The first is the control byte, which simply activates the DAC and is 1000000 (or 0x40) and the next byte is the value between 0 and 255 (the output level). This is demonstrated in the following sketch:

// Example 52.1 PCF8591 DAC demo
// http://tronixstuff.com/tutorials Chapter 52
// John Boxall June 2013
#include "Wire.h"
#define PCF8591 (0x90 >> 1) // I2C bus address
void setup()
{
 Wire.begin();
}
void loop()
{
 for (int i=0; i<256; i++)
 {
 Wire.beginTransmission(PCF8591); // wake up PCF8591
 Wire.write(0x40); // control byte - turn on DAC (binary 1000000)
 Wire.write(i); // value to send to DAC
 Wire.endTransmission(); // end tranmission
 }

 for (int i=255; i>=0; --i)
 {
 Wire.beginTransmission(PCF8591); // wake up PCF8591
 Wire.write(0x40); // control byte - turn on DAC (binary 1000000)
 Wire.write(i); // value to send to DAC
 Wire.endTransmission(); // end tranmission
 }
}

Did you notice the bit shift of the bus address in the #define statement? Arduino sends 7-bit addresses but the PCF8591 wants an 8-bit, so we shift the byte over by one bit. 

The results of the sketch are shown below, we’ve connected the Vref to 5V and the oscilloscope probe and GND to the analogue output and GND respectively:

If you like curves you can generate sine waves with the sketch below. It uses a lookup table in an array which contains the necessary pre-calculated data points:

// Example 52.2 PCF8591 DAC demo - sine wave
// http://tronixstuff.com/tutorials Chapter 52
// John Boxall June 2013

#include "Wire.h"
#define PCF8591 (0x90 >> 1) // I2C bus address

uint8_t sine_wave[256] = {
 0x80, 0x83, 0x86, 0x89, 0x8C, 0x90, 0x93, 0x96,
 0x99, 0x9C, 0x9F, 0xA2, 0xA5, 0xA8, 0xAB, 0xAE,
 0xB1, 0xB3, 0xB6, 0xB9, 0xBC, 0xBF, 0xC1, 0xC4,
 0xC7, 0xC9, 0xCC, 0xCE, 0xD1, 0xD3, 0xD5, 0xD8,
 0xDA, 0xDC, 0xDE, 0xE0, 0xE2, 0xE4, 0xE6, 0xE8,
 0xEA, 0xEB, 0xED, 0xEF, 0xF0, 0xF1, 0xF3, 0xF4,
 0xF5, 0xF6, 0xF8, 0xF9, 0xFA, 0xFA, 0xFB, 0xFC,
 0xFD, 0xFD, 0xFE, 0xFE, 0xFE, 0xFF, 0xFF, 0xFF,
 0xFF, 0xFF, 0xFF, 0xFF, 0xFE, 0xFE, 0xFE, 0xFD,
 0xFD, 0xFC, 0xFB, 0xFA, 0xFA, 0xF9, 0xF8, 0xF6,
 0xF5, 0xF4, 0xF3, 0xF1, 0xF0, 0xEF, 0xED, 0xEB,
 0xEA, 0xE8, 0xE6, 0xE4, 0xE2, 0xE0, 0xDE, 0xDC,
 0xDA, 0xD8, 0xD5, 0xD3, 0xD1, 0xCE, 0xCC, 0xC9,
 0xC7, 0xC4, 0xC1, 0xBF, 0xBC, 0xB9, 0xB6, 0xB3,
 0xB1, 0xAE, 0xAB, 0xA8, 0xA5, 0xA2, 0x9F, 0x9C,
 0x99, 0x96, 0x93, 0x90, 0x8C, 0x89, 0x86, 0x83,
 0x80, 0x7D, 0x7A, 0x77, 0x74, 0x70, 0x6D, 0x6A,
 0x67, 0x64, 0x61, 0x5E, 0x5B, 0x58, 0x55, 0x52,
 0x4F, 0x4D, 0x4A, 0x47, 0x44, 0x41, 0x3F, 0x3C,
 0x39, 0x37, 0x34, 0x32, 0x2F, 0x2D, 0x2B, 0x28,
 0x26, 0x24, 0x22, 0x20, 0x1E, 0x1C, 0x1A, 0x18,
 0x16, 0x15, 0x13, 0x11, 0x10, 0x0F, 0x0D, 0x0C,
 0x0B, 0x0A, 0x08, 0x07, 0x06, 0x06, 0x05, 0x04,
 0x03, 0x03, 0x02, 0x02, 0x02, 0x01, 0x01, 0x01,
 0x01, 0x01, 0x01, 0x01, 0x02, 0x02, 0x02, 0x03,
 0x03, 0x04, 0x05, 0x06, 0x06, 0x07, 0x08, 0x0A,
 0x0B, 0x0C, 0x0D, 0x0F, 0x10, 0x11, 0x13, 0x15,
 0x16, 0x18, 0x1A, 0x1C, 0x1E, 0x20, 0x22, 0x24,
 0x26, 0x28, 0x2B, 0x2D, 0x2F, 0x32, 0x34, 0x37,
 0x39, 0x3C, 0x3F, 0x41, 0x44, 0x47, 0x4A, 0x4D,
 0x4F, 0x52, 0x55, 0x58, 0x5B, 0x5E, 0x61, 0x64,
 0x67, 0x6A, 0x6D, 0x70, 0x74, 0x77, 0x7A, 0x7D
};
void setup()
{
 Wire.begin();
}
void loop()
{
 for (int i=0; i<256; i++)
 {
 Wire.beginTransmission(PCF8591); // wake up PCF8591
 Wire.write(0x40); // control byte - turn on DAC (binary 1000000)
 Wire.write(sine_wave[i]); // value to send to DAC
 Wire.endTransmission(); // end tranmission
 }
}

And the results:

For the following DSO image dump, we changed the Vref to 3.3V – note the change in the maxima on the sine wave:

Now you can experiment with the DAC to make sound effects, signals or control other analogue circuits.

Using the ADCs (analogue-to-digital converters)

If you’ve used the analogRead() function on your Arduino (way back in Chapter One) then you’re already familiar with an ADC. With out PCF8591 we can read a voltage between zero and the Vref and it will return a value of between zero and 255 which is directly proportional to zero and the Vref. For example, measuring 3.3V should return 168. The resolution (8-bit) of the ADC is lower than the onboard Arduino (10-bit) however the PCF8591 can do something the Arduino’s ADC cannot. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, to simply read the values of each ADC pin we send a control byte to tell the PCF8591 which ADC we want to read. For ADCs zero to three the control byte is 0x00, 0x01, ox02 and 0x03 respectively. Then we ask for two bytes of data back from the ADC, and store the second byte for use. Why two bytes? The PCF8591 returns the previously measured value first – then the current byte. (See Figure 8 in the data sheet). Finally, if you’re not using all the ADC pins, connect the unused ones to GND.

The following example sketch simply retrieves values from each ADC pin one at a time, then displays them in the serial monitor:

// Example 52.3 PCF8591 ADC demo
// http://tronixstuff.com/tutorials Chapter 52
// John Boxall June 2013
#include "Wire.h"
#define PCF8591 (0x90 >> 1) // I2C bus address
#define ADC0 0x00 // control bytes for reading individual ADCs
#define ADC1 0x01
#define ADC2 0x02
#define ADC3 0x03
byte value0, value1, value2, value3;
void setup()
{
 Wire.begin();
 Serial.begin(9600);
}
void loop()
{
 Wire.beginTransmission(PCF8591); // wake up PCF8591
 Wire.write(ADC0); // control byte - read ADC0
 Wire.endTransmission(); // end tranmission
 Wire.requestFrom(PCF8591, 2);
 value0=Wire.read();
 value0=Wire.read();
 Wire.beginTransmission(PCF8591); // wake up PCF8591
 Wire.write(ADC1); // control byte - read ADC1
 Wire.endTransmission(); // end tranmission
 Wire.requestFrom(PCF8591, 2);
 value1=Wire.read();
 value1=Wire.read();
 Wire.beginTransmission(PCF8591); // wake up PCF8591
 Wire.write(ADC2); // control byte - read ADC2
 Wire.endTransmission(); // end tranmission
 Wire.requestFrom(PCF8591, 2);
 value2=Wire.read();
 value2=Wire.read();
 Wire.beginTransmission(PCF8591); // wake up PCF8591
 Wire.write(ADC3); // control byte - read ADC3
 Wire.endTransmission(); // end tranmission
 Wire.requestFrom(PCF8591, 2);
 value3=Wire.read();
 value3=Wire.read();
 Serial.print(value0); Serial.print(" ");
 Serial.print(value1); Serial.print(" ");
 Serial.print(value2); Serial.print(" ");
 Serial.print(value3); Serial.print(" ");
 Serial.println();
}

Upon running the sketch you’ll be presented with the values of each ADC in the serial monitor. Although it was a simple demonstration to show you how to individually read each ADC, it is a cumbersome method of getting more than one byte at a time from a particular ADC.

To do this, change the control byte to request auto-increment, which is done by setting bit 2 of the control byte to 1. So to start from ADC0 we use a new control byte of binary 00000100 or hexadecimal 0x04. Then request five bytes of data (once again we ignore the first byte) which will cause the PCF8591 to return all values in one chain of bytes. This process is demonstrated in the following sketch:

// Example 52.4 PCF8591 ADC demo
// http://tronixstuff.com/tutorials Chapter 52
// John Boxall June 2013
#include "Wire.h"
#define PCF8591 (0x90 >> 1) // I2C bus address
byte value0, value1, value2, value3;
void setup()
{
 Wire.begin();
 Serial.begin(9600);
}
void loop()
{
 Wire.beginTransmission(PCF8591); // wake up PCF8591
 Wire.write(0x04); // control byte - read ADC0 then auto-increment
 Wire.endTransmission(); // end tranmission
 Wire.requestFrom(PCF8591, 5);
 value0=Wire.read();
 value0=Wire.read();
 value1=Wire.read();
 value2=Wire.read();
 value3=Wire.read();
 Serial.print(value0); Serial.print(" ");
 Serial.print(value1); Serial.print(" ");
 Serial.print(value2); Serial.print(" ");
 Serial.print(value3); Serial.print(" ");
 Serial.println();
}

Previously we mentioned that the PCF8591 can do something that the Arduino’s ADC cannot, and this is offer a differential ADC. As opposed to the Arduino’s single-ended (i.e. it returns the difference between the positive signal voltage and GND, the differential ADC accepts two signals (that don’t necessarily have to be referenced to ground), and returns the difference between the two signals. This can be convenient for measuring small changes in voltages for load cells and so on.

Setting up the PCF8591 for differential ADC is a simple matter of changing the control byte. If you turn to page seven of the data sheet, then consider the different types of analogue input programming. Previously we used mode ’00’ for four inputs, however you can select the others which are clearly illustrated, for example:

So to set the control byte for two differential inputs, use binary 00110000 or 0x30. Then it’s a simple matter of requesting the bytes of data and working with them. As you can see there’s also combination single/differential and a complex three-differential input. However we’ll leave them for the time being.

Conclusion

Hopefully you found this of interest, whether adding a DAC to your experiments or learning a bit more about ADCs. We’ll have some more analogue to digital articles coming up soon, so stay tuned. And if you enjoy my tutorials, or want to introduce someone else to the interesting world of Arduino – check out my new book “Arduino Workshop” from No Starch Press.

In the meanwhile have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitterGoogle+, subscribe  for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column? And join our friendly Google Group – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website. Sign up – it’s free, helpful to each other –  and we can all learn something.

The post Tutorial – Arduino and PCF8591 ADC DAC IC appeared first on tronixstuff.

Gertboard extender for Raspberry Pi ships to advanced tinkerers

If a seemingly infinitely programmable mini computer like the Raspberry Pi is just too... limiting, we've got good news: the Gertboard extender has started shipping. The $48 companion board reaching customers' doorsteps converts analog to digital and back for Raspberry Pi fans developing home automation, robotics and just about anything else that needs a translation between the computing world and less intelligent objects. The one catch, as you'd sometimes expect from a homebrew project, is the need for some assembly -- you'll have to solder together Gert van Loo's Arduino-controlled invention on your own. We imagine the DIY crowd won't mind, though, as long as they can find the fast-selling Gertboard in the first place.

[Image credit: Stuart Green, Flickr]

Filed under: Misc

Gertboard extender for Raspberry Pi ships to advanced tinkerers originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 17 Oct 2012 03:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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