A complete Arduino shield lab for experiments and applications on digital potentiometers (PCB only with options)Designed by Balearic Dynamics, Ships from Spain
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This Digital Potentiometer Arduino Shield is based on AD5206 6 digital potentiometers. The shield includes components to give the user the possibility to experiment real applications, with two sugg...Read More…
This Digital Potentiometer Arduino Shield is based on AD5206 6 digital potentiometers. The shield includes components to give the user the possibility to experiment real applications, with two suggested inspiring examples. A cheap device that can fit in your project, not limited to audio control.
Creating the Digital Potentiometer Arduino Shield I thought to the possible range of uses aiming to produce a sort of cheap "digital potentiometer lab" to carry out actual experiments and applications.
We can find some very basic applications of the AD5206 reviewed in many blogs and sites, including the arduino.cc website "Controlling a digital potentiometer using SPI" Unfortunately these tutorials focus on the way you can control the chip: the SPI (= Serial Peripheral Interface). Also the sample Sketches I have found on the net - limited to very few lines of code - are very simple but also almost useless.
Also the usage suggestions are very poor: you can control digitally the audio levels of some devices. But then? It's up to you. Nothing else.
Why we should use - in a real scenario - a digital potentiometer? As a matter of fact, we should use a digital potentiometer in every case we need a variable resistance controlled by another event. For example, one of the most common ways is changing the volume of an amplified sound depending on an external condition, e.g. the audio volume: with a sound sensor in a room we can adjust the music output level in order to compensate the room noise. Another example may be a sensor following the movement of a subject to increase the sound level of the neartest speakers. By continuing the exploration of the world of audio controls we will discover almost unlimited possibilities.
But audio is not the only case, as you can see in the video showing how this shield works.
So, not only the shield circuit connects the AD5206 Digital Potentiomer device to the SPI signals of the Arduino board.
There are 6 trimmers connected to the 6 analog PINs on the Arduino board to be used for testing purposes or to generate an analog predefined value (e.g. as a preset level for the microcontroller). The triggers can be excluded one by one through the dip switch freeing the corresponding Analog PIN for other usages.
The SPI Clock Signal is also connected to a yellow LED: when it is blinking the communication between Arduino and the AD5206 device is working and the digital potentiometer is receiving data.
As the device can work at a reference VCC between 2,7 and 5,5V the jumper JP3 (Internal Pwr) uses the Arduino power supply. When unplugged, an external reference voltage can be used. In this case the external reference voltage should be connected to the pin 2 of the connector JP1.
Connected in parallel to each potentiometer output of the SD5206 there is a red LED for testing purposes (LED1 ... LED6). When connecting an external device, it is preferable to disable the test LEDs disconnecting the jumper JP2. The 6 digital potentiometers outputs are available on the pins 3-8 of the external connector JP1.
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I developed software and firmware for embedded devices, Android, Mac and Linux. I frequently rethink projects or create new ones in order to make products and prototypes market-affordable and as cheap as possible without compromising quality.
Who is Balearic Dynamics ...
FROM PRINTERS TO CIRCUITS
About five years ago I created the IbizaSocialPrinters brand, supporting the marketing for the hardware and software development of the first Bluetooth POS printer driver for Android. Then, things grew up and I was involved in wider and more complex projects.
Most of these projects needed software and hardware development. To make things faster the better way was to be able to manage the entire prototyping process in-home, reducing the waiting time almost to zero. When I started making the circuits and small mechanical parts together with circuit design, PCB layout, microcontroller firmware, and application software the new brand "Balearic Dynamics" came to life.
THE NEW BRAND
If you loved the "Fringe" series, you will sure remember the "Massive Dynamics" big company, that inspired the idea for the logo. The name for the new brand was still in doubt. Around the middle of December 2013, the news spread that "Google acquired the robotics company Boston Dynamics" So, why not creating the Balearic Dynamics as well?
THE SIMPLIFICATION PROCESS
I frequently see that many makers, creators, inventors, hobbyists and so on approach electronic engineering in a very simple and less efficient way. What the market offers is a great number of DIY projects that in fact have very few chances to be used in the real world. In brief, the approach is bottom-top.
When things become more complex they fail, just because omitting apparently useless components makes things simple but not in the correct sense.
On the contrary, developing some complex architecture, some circuits parts can be shared among many projects. That is, our Arduino compatible kits: tools we already use as part of our projects now transformed in independent open-hardware modules for the customers.
This is also why - following the Open Source and Creative Commons philosophy - these projects are sold at a very reasonable price, full documented and explained.
I appreciate very much the opportunity to publish the entire project of every product on the popular on-line magazine electroschematics.com and, of course, on the main site www.balearidcynamics.com