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Direct analog-to-microcontroller interfacing

Journal article
Authors Lars Bengtsson
Published in Sensors and Actuators A
Volume A 179
Pages 105-113
ISSN 0924-4247
Publication year 2012
Published at Department of Physics (GU)
Pages 105-113
Language en
Keywords Analog, Sensor Interfacing, Microcontroller, Embedded system
Subject categories Electronic measurement and instrumentation


This paper will demonstrate how signals from analog sensors can be directly interfaced to any digital embedded system even though they may not be equipped with an on-chip ADC (Analog-to-Digital Converter), comparator or OP amp (Operational Amplifier). With only two resistors and one capacitor, we will present a solution that allows analog voltages to be measured directly using only a few digital I/O-pins. The digital target system requirements are minimized and limited to only two digital I/O-pins (with tristate capability). No ADC, comparators, timers or capture modules are necessary. The extremely modest hardware requirements make it a suitable solution also for CPLDs/FPGAs (Complex Programmable Logic devices/Field Programmable Gate Arrays). Since this solution will allow even the simplest embedded system to be interfaced to analog voltage sensors, it has the potential of reducing design costs considerably. The proposed design is for DC or low-frequency signals and compared to other similar solution, this design needs no embedded analog blocks at all.

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