Completely Lost on Microcontrollers

Hello all! I'm having a bit of trouble figuring out how I should go about my Arduino project. I'm supposed to make a microcontroller that has a 4-20 mA current output and at least an 8-bit DAC but preferably 16 or 20 bit. Given these specifications, how do I even begin? I'm not very experienced at Arduino, but I want to be. I've seen listings on the Adafruit stores for purchasing a DAC. Do I somehow hook this up to an Arduino Uno? How do I know or find the current output?

Thank you so much for the help, guys!

This is what I found for a "DAC"

Click on the tutorial link on the website and it will explain everything to you. Everything including how to hook it up. The advantage to buying Adafruit parts is the (usually) complete and useful tutorials provided. The DAC is a voltage output. Most DACs are voltage output. You will need to do some searching (google and the search icon above) on how to translate the voltage output to 4-20mA signal.

I'm looking at the tutorial right now and sorry if I'm misunderstanding it, but do I have to hook this up to something bigger like the Arduino Uno or does this piece work by itself. Also, I have to include ADC's in my project as well. How do I incorporate that? Sorry I'm so lost on this and I hope I'm making sense.

Edit: Found how to wire it to an Arduino, my bad. I'm still curious about the ADC portion though.

Luckily the Arduino UNO (Atmel ATMega328P chip) have a 10 bit ADC included with an analog multiplexer allowing for 6 analog points to be connected at once (though you can only read one at a time).

Also tale a stroll through the Resources Tutorial and Reference section at the top of the forum webpage.

4-20mA output is not very common in the Arduino world. That Adafruit DAC is unsuitable for this task. 4-20mA must be able to operate at voltages up to 40V and that chip stops at 5V.

Search eBay. You will be pleasantly surprised.

What do you mean by "I'm supposed to make a microcontroller"? Actually making a microcontroller would be quite the project.

Welcome to the forum.

Is this a school/college/university/commercial project?

If you have a proposal/work sheet describing what is required, can you post the relevant bits so we can get an idea of the environment and scope of the design?
This will help as we help you develop your project.

Can you tell us your electronics, programming, Arduino, hardware experience?

Thanks.. Tom.. :slight_smile: