How to Use ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) in AVR – Atmega32

Using LM35 Sensor and Atmega32 ADC to measure Temperature

Analog to digital conversion is generally needed whenever we deal with a sensor that produces an analog output (for example: LM35 temperature sensor), which is the case for a wide range of sensors. When dealing with such sensors we have to convert the analog signal coming out of them into digital words of ones and zeros so that our microcontroller can process it and make decisions based on it. In order to do that we need a device called an ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) and fortunately, many controllers now have this device built-in.
In this article, we shall learn about using the ADC of the Atmega32 to convert an analog signal to a digital one. As an example of an analog signal, we shall use the output signal coming out of the LM35 temperature sensor. By the end of this article, we will be able to make a simple fire alarm that triggers a buzzer when the temperature exceeds a certain limit (60 Celsius degrees as an example).

ADC Reference Voltage

The reference voltage is the maximum voltage you are expecting to receive from the sensor on the input channel of the ADC. In Atmega32 you can use one of three sources for the reference voltage:

  1. An internal voltage from within the Atmega32 MCU. This voltage is set to 2.56V and cannot be changed.
  2. The AVCC pin can be your reference voltage, but this pin must be connected to the VCC and in this case, your reference voltage is the VCC
  3. Finally, you can use your own customized reference voltage by connecting a voltage source that has the same value as the reference voltage you want to the pin AREF (pin32).

Choosing between these three sources of reference voltage happens while configuring the ADMUX register as we will explain later in this article. We will use the internal voltage option.

Hardware Requirements:

Before using the ADC of the Atmeg32 there are a few hardware connections required in the circuit so that you can get the best results:

  1. You should make sure that pins (VCC & AVCC) that are pins (10 & 30) are connected. This is because the ADC gets its power supply from the AVCC pin.
  2. If conversion accuracy is critical all the time, it is preferable that you connect a coil between the 2 pins and a capacitor between AVCC and GND. These 2 connections make the supply voltage of the ADC more stable and not easily fluctuated by noise.
  3. Also, it is preferable to connect a capacitor between AREF and GND so that the reference voltage of the ADC is more stable and not affected by noise. (Even if you choose to use the internal voltage or the AVCC)
  4. If you are going to use an external reference voltage, then you should connect it to the AREF pin. In this article, we will use the internal reference voltage so we will not need this step.

Atmega32 ADC Input Channels

ADC of the Atmega32 can accept inputs from up to eight channels. This means that you can connect up to eight analog input signals to the Atmega32 ADC, but at each conversion, only one channel input is converted. So, at each conversion, you should first choose the input channel to convert before starting the conversion. This is also done in the ADMUX register.
Read More: How to Use ADC (Analog to Digital Converter) in AVR – Atmega32

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