One important parameter in embedded system designing is power consumption. This parameter is directly related to the battery lifetime, if the system is to be powered from a battery. In order to determine the power rating of your designed system, you need to know how much current the system draws from the source at a given voltage. While working on my projects, I usually measure current by placing an external ammeter in series with the current’s return path. This is not always convenient to do, and so I thought of making a special power supply unit for my lab that would display both voltage and current information on a LCD screen while prototyping my circuit. This way I can continuously monitor how much power my test circuit is drawing at a specific operating voltage.
Tag Archives: DVM
This is an interesting voltmeter project that display the measured voltage on a TV screen, in giant digits as well as with analog bar. It also records the maximum and minimum values of measurements. The project was built by Alberto Ricci Bitti and was published in the May 1999 issue of Elektor Electonics.
This project will describe how to make a simple digital voltmeter (DVM) using a PIC16F688 microcontroller. The range of this DVM is 0-20V, but you can easily increase or decrease the range of input voltage as your requirements after you understand the voltage scaling method described in this project. The PIC micro reads the input voltage through one of the 8 analog channels and convert it to a 10-bit digital number using the internal ADC. Doing some math with ADC conversion (you will see later), this number can be converted to the actual measured voltage. The voltage is displayed in an HD44780-based character LCD.
Circuit Diagram and Description
You cannot feed a 20V signal directly to a PIC microcontroller’s input channel. It is too higher than its operating voltage, and the microcontroller could be damaged. So, first we need a voltage scaler that will scale down the input voltage to the safe operating voltage range of PIC16F688. It can be achieved by a simple resistor divider network shown below.