Questions? Text us.

Arduino Video Tutorial 03: The Love-O-Meter | RS Components

Hi and welcome to another video about our Arduino StaterKit This is called the LOVE-O-METER. This project is used to measure how hot you really are. Actually in simple words this circuit is a very simple thermometer that measures the your body temperature and visualizes it on a string of LEDs. So let's look at how this circuit is built. There are 5 LEDs on this circuit that are used as an output. So you can visualize the temperature by looking the number of LEDs that are on at the given time and so this is an extension to the previous project we looked at when we used three LEDs and now we learn how to use more LEDs so we go up to five. But the most important part about this circuit is actually the sensor. In this particular circuit, we use a temperature sensor called TMP36. And the interesting feature about this sensor is that it's a very precise temperature sensor that generates a voltage which is proportional to the tempertature that it measures.

In particular this sensor generates 10mV of voltage for every degree centigrade plus 0.5 volts. So for example, if the temperature in this room is 20 degrees, then 20 multiply by 10mV is 0.2V plus 0.5V, which is the basic voltage that is always produced at 0 degree. by the sensor. So when the temperature in this room is 20 degrees, the sensor will produce 0.7V. Now we hit an interesting problem. In this particular case we will use a pin that is able to measure if the signal was on or off. It was able to measure if there was or there wasn't any voltage applied to the input pin.

In this particular case, the sensor is producing a voltage, which changes depending on the temperature. So if we want to actually be able to measure the temperature, we need to be able to measure the voltage produced by the sensor. So, the digital pin doesn't work here because the digital pin says if the voltage is more or less than 3V, to determine if the input is HIGH or LOW. If the voltage is more or less than 0 then the input is low. We need something that is going to be able to give us a number, which is proportional to the voltage that is measuring. Here we introduce the analog inputs on the Arduino board. You can see here that there are six inputs.

On our circuit called analog Pin. Each one of them is able to measure a voltage between 0 and 5V, and it will return a number between 0 and 1023, proportional to the voltage it's measuring. So, when the voltage is 0, the number returned by the analog inputs is going to be 0. When the voltage is 5, the number is going to be 1023. For example for 2.5V, the number returned by the input is going to be roughly 512. So, what we are doing here.. we wired up the sensor in such a way that we are providing power and connect to ground, so we are powering the sensor.

And then the sensor has a third leg that we connect to analog input 0. So whenever the temperature changes, the voltage changes. The Arduino uses a new instruction that we are going to see in the code later on called analogRead(). That will give us a number that we can use to caculate the actual temperature. Let's try the circut for a second. I am going to grab the temperature sensor and see what happens. So you can see now, that the LEDs are turning on one after the other when I touch the sensor. And if I release the sensor now The temperature is going to slowly go back down. And you will see the LEDs start to turn off one after the other.

So once we see the circuit is working, we should be looking at the code, and understand how we have implemented this functionality. So let's have a look at the code for this example. So if we look at the code, you see some familiar elements like the setup() function. So let's start at the beginning. We define a constant called sensorPin that maps the analog input 0, A0. In the code here you can see A0.

And this one allows us to be able to change the input pin if we want to. And it gives a meaningful name to that particular input. So we know that the temperature sensor is connected there. So the code becomes more readable. Then in the setup() function, the first thing that you see is that we are using serial.begin(9600). This is a new function that we have introduced in this example. It allows the Arduino board to communicate with your computer.

So serial.begin() opens a communication channel between your Arduino board and the computer. 9600 specifies the speed, 9600 bits per second. So this allows us for example to print numbers that we can read from the analog inputs and send to the computer, where we can use the serial monitor that I will show you in a few seconds to visualize the data that comes from the Arduino. Then we find the "for" loop. The for loop is useful in order to execute a certain number of instructions for a very well defined number of times. In this particular case we need to set 5 pins on the Arduino to become outputs, and then we need to turn them off. So instead of writing the same two lines of code for five times, we use "for". If we look at the code, We say that "for" starts with x=2. Then every time that we execute pinMode() and digitalWrite() x increases by 1. x++ is the instruction that increases the value of x by 1. And we keep doing this until x is less than 5.


So when we hit pin5, we stop doing this loop. So, this is very useful. If you have to apply the same operation to a number of pins. So let's delve into the loop. Inside the loop We are reading the sensor value using analogRead(), so we have sensorVal = analogRead(sensorPin). This will measure the voltage and return an interger number which is proportional to the voltage that has been read. Serial.print() prints the number towards the computer. serial.print('ADC') specifies the number that we just sent to the computer 1s a raw value from the analog to digital converter. The analog to digital converter is the circuit inside the Arduino processor that turns a voltage into a number that we can use in our code.

The next operation turns the number read by the analog to digital converter into the actual voltage. So we specified that the numbers between 0 and 1023 represent the voltage between 0 and 5V. What we are doing here is dividing sensorVal by 1024, which is the number of possible values that are representable by analogRead() and we multiply that by 5. This float variable is a new type of variable that we are introducing with this example. It is able to store decimal numbers as, in this case is needed because we are going to get voltages like 0.7, 0.8, and we need to be able to represent this kind of numbers. Then, we follow up with Serial.print(voltage) and Serial.print("volts").

This again sends to the computer the voltage computed by the Arduino and the string "volts", to specify that the previous number was the amount of voltage. Now, here is where we actually perform the calculation of the degrees. The sensor, as we said, is producing 10mV per degree centigrade and then adds 0.5V to all values. So, if we look at the code, we are taking the voltage, we subtract 0.5V, and we multiply it by 100. Using this formula we convert the voltage measured by the Arduino into the actual temperature in degrees centigrades. Then we print the temperature. And then we use a new function called println() to write the string "degrees C". println() on top of sending the information back to the computer sends this new line special character that tells the serial monitor on the Arduino to start printing the next line at the beginning of a new line.

This makes sure that all the value that we visualized are all nicely aligned and readable. Finally once we have the temperature, we need to be able to decide how many LEDs are turned on and off depending on each temperature. So what are we are going to do? Actually, we are going to use a series of "if"s. In the previous example, we use "if..else" to be able to decide when to execute one part of the code or another part of the code depending on the result of a question, a kind of condition that we ask Arduino to verify.

In this particular case, we have to verify multiple questions, because we have five LEDs. Therefore we have multiple combinations. So we use a different kind of "if" notion called "else..if" So we ask Arduino is the temperature less than the baseline temperature? If that's true, Arduino is going to turn off all the LEDs. If the temperature is in the first band, we have an "if" that's measuring if the temperature is more on the certain value but still less than another value.

If the temperature is within that band, one LED will be turned on. And then we have a set of "else..if" that goes through every combination of the values until we are able to turn on all of the LEDs. So in this particular code that we are displaying here, we are using "if..else" "else..if" to divide the temperature range that we want to measure into bands. And we check to see in which band the temperature falls in. And we decide which LEDs to turn on and which LEDs to turn off.

Then through the last "else..if", we reach the end of the program. Then the loop is going to start again. We are going to go through the same sequence, measure the temperature through analogRead(), take the number, turn it into a voltage, then from the voltage compute the temperature, print all that information onto the screen and then afterwards decide which LEDs to turn on depending on the temperature. If now I grab the sensor the temperature increases and the "if" statements are deciding which LEDs – for example, at this moment these LEDs – are flickering, because the temperature is between two bands. So it's still undecided which one should be turned on. If I release this, and maybe I blow a little on the circuit, you will see these LEDs will start to flicker a little bit.

and then turn off. So, we have now reached the end of this example. We have learned a little bit more. We have learned about controlling multiple LEDs. We learned about reading analog inputs, converting the values into voltages, converting the values into temperature, using multiple "if" statements to divide the value into the bands, and make multiple decisions. And then how to print all this information back to the computer. I hope you will enjoy playing with this project and I'll see you in the next video.

As found on YouTube

Leave a Reply