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How to get my little cpu to measure voltage

Discussion in 'Hobby Electronics' started by Michael C, May 30, 2005.

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  1. Michael C

    Michael C Guest

    I'm working on a project and I can get most of it done except I need my
    microprocessor to measure voltage in a car. It doesn't have to be super
    accurate. The chip I'm using is an atmel 89c2051.

    Thanks,
    Michael

    PS, I've googled already but couldn't get the right combination of words.
     
  2. Caliban

    Caliban Guest

    The words you are after are "analogue to digital converter".

    The chip you are using has a built in comparator, so if you only need to
    know when the voltage exceeds or falls below a certain level you could
    just use that.
     
  3. dmm

    dmm Guest

    Since the 89C2051 doesn't have an analog to digital converter on board
    you will have to either use an external ADC, or use the internal comparator.

    The '2051 doesn't have many pins, and since you don't indicate how many
    are already allocated, it may be wise to assume that most are already used.
    This restricts the selection of an ADC to perhaps one with a serial interface.
    Since you're only measuring battery voltage, which doesn't change rapidly
    with time, a cheap slow single channel ADC should do the trick. A Texas
    Instruments TLC0831, or a National ADC08831 are 8 bit 3 wire serial ADCs
    and are available from RS Components at their trade counter for less than
    $10 each. There may be others that take your fancy, or may be available
    near you.

    If the voltage measurement doesn't need to be accurate (how accurate ?)
    you could use the on-board comparator to monitor the voltage. Set the -ve
    input to a reference voltage, and connect the +ve comparator input to
    a voltage divider from the battery voltage to ground. The output of the
    comparator will be available on P3.6. Don't forget to filter the +ve input
    of the comparator with a capacitor to reduce the incidence of noise.
    It may also be a good idea to clamp the comparator input so that it doesn't
    rise above its maximum input voltage. Likewise for the ADC.

    When measuring the voltage, whatever method you end up using, make
    sure that you take several readings, say 16, sum the readings and then
    average them, to reduce the noise.
     
  4. Michael C

    Michael C Guest

    Only 2 outputs are used at the moment.
    Probably a good idea anyway.
    I'll have a look at them tonight as I've got the rs catalogue at home.
    That all makes sense to me except what do you mean by clamp the input?
    Sounds like a good idea. Thanks for your reply!

    Michael
     
  5. Or even better, since it does not need to be too acurate, use an RC
    circuit and measure the charge time of the cap. Works a treat.
     
  6. dmm

    dmm Guest

    In this case it means to restrict the voltage swing of the measured signal to a
    certain range, usually the limits of the device that the signal is being fed into.
    It can also mean to change the bias of a signal to a different reference voltage.
    The clamp can take the form of a diode, zener diode, transient voltage
    suppressor, gas discharge tube, etc depending on the situation. It's basically
    a protection device.
    You're welcome.
     
  7. Michael C

    Michael C Guest

    I remember seeing this years ago when working on a dishwasher. I was working
    on the mechanical side of things but I remember the electronics guy
    mentioning they used something like this to measure temp. Can you give me
    some more details of how it works?

    Michael
     
  8. the simple explanation:

    voltage in --/\/\/\---+----port pin (i/o)
    |
    cap
    |
    |
    Ov

    drive the port pin low, make it an input and measure the time taken to
    charge the cap.

    Depending on the cap value , max measurement voltage and aquisition
    time required, you may need a resistor between the cap and the port
    pin.

    There should be a plethora of info on the net using this method, mind
    you I have not looked! :)
     
  9. Michael C

    Michael C Guest

    Shit heh, couldn't get much simpler than that, I'll give it a go hopefully
    over the weekend.

    Thanks,
    Michael
     
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