Monday, February 14, 2011

ADXL335 Accelerometer

Accelerometer is a sensor that measure linear acceleration. Today we will use ADXL335 accelerometer, we will write a program to display the measured values of acceleration of all 3 axes.
ADXL335 on a board(Manufactured by Sparkfun.com)
You can see axis scheme on the board, the x and y axises directions are clear, and the z axis direction is point out of the board. Remember this sensor has a sensing range of +/-3g, so you can't measure a higher accelerations :). But it is not a big disadvantage, because the calculation shows that more than 100 km/h we can get during 1 second of 3g acceleration. If you want to check it but you are lazy to do, you can use http://www.wolframalpha.com(3 * gravitational acceleration * 1 second in km/h).
The interface of this device is analog: The voltages on X(Y,Z) port depends on the linear acceleration throughout X(Y,Z) axis. The Arduino board has 6 analog-in ports, we can use 3 of them(0,1,2) to connect to X,Y,Z ports of ADXL335.
Analog ports

So lets open the Arduino IDE and write a simple program, which will periodically read the values on analog ports and send trough the Serial port.

In this program analogRead function read the voltage on the pin and return the integer value between 0 and 1023.
On the computer side we will read the information coming through Serial port an show the values on 3 horizontal progress bars.

This is C# code of program

Be careful, connect ADXL335 to the Arduino board, before connecting them to the PC, otherwise the board will hang and only solution is reconnecting.

This is a short video how it runs.

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