Sensor data aquisition

I’m sorry if this post is in the wrong place.

I’m a software engineer that has been tasked with prototyping a hardware device that will capture analog sensor input and then upload that data to a PC for reporting. I’m not familiar enough with the hardware terminology to know exactly what I need to buy in terms of the Arduino and its accessories. Can anyone offer me some guidance?

Thank you

Depending on what sensors you are going to work with and how they work, you might not need anything else but the sensors, the Arduiniboard, and a USB cable, and maybe a suitable powersupply for the Arduino board if it is not powered from the USB cable.

The Arduini board has 6 analog inputs that will convert a voltage in the 0 - 5 volt range to a number in the 0 - 1023 range. In other words the built in analog to digital converter has 10 bits of resolution.

If you are not going to use more the 6 sensors, and if the sensors put out a voltage in the 0 - 5 volt range then you can do it with the above mentioned equipment + of course some software on the PC to recieve the data.

If you need to hook up more than 6 analog sensors you should read up on how to multiplex the analog inputs to have more of the (fairly easy, requires a couple of cheap IC’s). Read here: http://www.arduino.cc/playground/Learning/4051

If your sensors do not put out a voltage in the 0 - 5 volt range then you need to somehow scale the voltage.

The USB port on the Arduino board is really a serial port in disguise, so the software on the PC must be able to do standard serial communication.

Hope this helps a little

MikMo
http://www.mikmo.dk

Exactly what I needed. Thanks!

One question about memory. I’m probably looking in the wrong place, but I don’t see anything about on-board memory and I’m going to need something. Eventually I’ll need PRAM but for proof of concept I can use any type of memory.

http://apple.clickandbuild.com/cnb/shop/ftdichip?op=catalogue-products-null&prodCategoryID=53&title=VDIP1

This will be optimal since I can get large usb sticks. I’ll still need some on-board ram though since the sensor data will be coming very quickly. I’ll have to write to the usb in bursts from a ram cache.

Memory is an issue with the Arduino board.

The new board has 16 kB of flash memory for program storage, and only 1kB of memory for storing variables (data)

Then there is 512 bytes of Eprom that can be used too but not so easy.

There are serveral descriptions in the playground for interfacing Arduino with Eeprom and even USB memory devices.

Hi,

I’ll still need some on-board ram though since the sensor data will be coming very quickly. I’ll have to write to the usb in bursts from a ram cache.

What exactly is your datarate? There is an upper limit of the throughput of the USB-serial-connection too.
As far as I know the ftdi-chip on the Arduino uses a package-size of 64 bytes per transmission. If I understand that right nothing is gained in sending larger bursts.

Eberhard