Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

Posted on Sep 2, 2017 in atmega, {hardware}, PC, course of management, temperature

My earlier article documented how I designed and constructed a PCB that hosted three relays and a triac that may very well be mounted inside a PC case and related up by way of the USB bus for host management utilizing easy instructions.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop
The relays and triacs board

That board is in fact the output a part of the system, accountable for executing the choices made because of studying the inputs and executing management algorithms. Immediately’s article will doc the event of the temperature sensors board used to sense the atmosphere and supply the inputs to the system.

Temperature sensor know-how

The primary determination that I have to make is which know-how to make use of for sensing temperature. I want a working vary of Zero to 100°C and an accuracy of higher than 1°C throughout the ranges of 60 to 70°C and 18°C to 22°C. The primary of these ranges covers the place brewers mash their grains and the second vary is the place fermentation is carried out. Completely different traits within the completed beer are obtained by precisely controlling the temperature of these two processes.

Many applied sciences can be found that differ in working vary, linearity, accuracy and stability. I had a go searching on the availability and sort of probes obtainable for the totally different applied sciences and got here up with the next abstract.


Thermocouples are subdivided into varieties differentiated by the kind of metallic junction on the sizzling finish (J, Okay, N, E, R, S, T, and B). They’ll measure temperatures from as little as –265°C to over 1800°C. Thermocouples generate a voltage as a perform of the temperature distinction between the tip of the probe and {the electrical} connection on the PCB (the chilly junction temperature).

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop
Lengthy stainless thermocouple probes can be found

The Okay-type is essentially the most generally obtainable thermocouple with a working vary of –200°C to 1372°C. It’s straightforward to implement on a PCB due to all-in-one ICs such because the Maxim MAX31855. Sadly the usual accuracy of ±2.2°C isn’t ok for me. The T-type could be a lot better for my software with a variety of –250°C to 400°C and a regular accuracy of ±1.0C.

If I had been to pick out a thermocouple because the best-fit know-how then it might be a T-type.

NTC and PTC thermistors

Because the identify suggests these kind of sensors are merely a resistor that modifications worth with temperature. An excitation present is utilized to the sensor and a ratiometric measurement is made. As soon as the resistance is understood an equation or lookup desk can be utilized to transform the resistance to a temperature.

The accuracy of a thermistor might be superb. If rigorously designed and calibrated then an accuracy of ±0.2°C is feasible. The difficulty that guidelines this know-how out for me is that the working vary is usually -40°C to 85°C. I have to measure as much as the boiling level of water, round 100°C relying in your altitude amongst different issues.


The resistance temperature detector (RTD) is a kind of thermistor the place the ingredient is a size of wire wrapped round a core that’s usually product of glass. The commonest kind is the platinum RTD and of the platinum varieties the PT100 is essentially the most generally used. PT100 signifies that it has a nominal resistance of 100Ω at 0°C.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop
Lengthy stainless PT100 RTD probes are frequent

Platinum RTDs have glorious accuracy, linearity and long-term stability. Within the vary that I care in regards to the least expensive ‘Class B’ probes supply accuracy of ±0.5°C. Class A probes scale back this error to simply ±0.25°C.

The downside to RTDs is the fee. Each the measurement circuitry and probes obtained from a high quality supply, i.e. not ebay (see later) are priced comfortably in extra of thermocouple or NTC thermistor probes. Nonetheless, this can be a value I can justify and it locations RTDs on the forefront of the know-how alternative for my software.

Digital sensors

In current occasions sensors such because the Maxim DS18B20 have emerged that mix the sensor and the conversion circuitry into one small built-in bundle.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop
Maxim purchased Dallas…

These sensors are sufficiently small to be utterly built-in right into a probe. All of the consumer has to do is join up the probe wires to a digital MCU and skim out the temperature values. It actually couldn’t be simpler.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop
This probe fashion would work if positioned in a thermowell

This can be a compelling proposition since Maxim declare sub-1°C accuracy and the convenience of integration is unmatched. What put me off this selection is that good high quality (not ebay) lengthy stainless-steel probes will not be obtainable. With all of the know-how embedded into the DS18B20 it shouldn’t matter an excessive amount of if the probe is sourced from an unknown store in China however I’d nonetheless be left open to the potential for the DS18B20 inside being a pretend or the probe materials not truly being food-grade stainless-steel. For these causes I made a decision to not use this new know-how.

The successful know-how

It’s the PT100 RTD. One of the best mixture of accuracy, linearity and long-term stability received the day. It additionally helps that I do know that is the know-how utilized in industrial breweries as a result of an electrician relative of mine fitted out a small craft brewer’s setup. It’s going to value me greater than any of the opposite applied sciences however I don’t thoughts since that is the a part of the system that I have to get proper. When you can’t belief your inputs then the remainder of your system is making selections primarily based on defective information.

Choosing a converter

To get essentially the most out of my RTD probe the conversion circuitry must be rigorously designed. A really small excitation present is utilized to the sensor and can finally be transformed to a digital worth utilizing an ADC. All the elements within the sign path should be of the very best high quality and the provision voltages should be noise-free and correct.

All-in-one measurement and digital conversion ICs can be found and I made a decision to make use of one in all these quite than attempt to position my very own from discrete elements and run the chance of introducing sources of error that might take me ages to isolate and get rid of.

Maxim supply the MAX31865 in an annoying QFN bundle and it’s obtainable fairly cheaply from Farnell. I’d want two of them for the design that I’m planning however this can be a good possibility.

Linear Expertise supply the LTC2986 in a straightforward to work with quad flat pack bundle. In truth this IC can deal with a number of kinds of sensor know-how and many probes connected concurrently. The one downside is that it’s fairly costly at round £25 plus VAT from Farnell.

After cautious consideration and far studying of datasheets I selected the LTC2986. Regardless of the upper value it was the superb datasheet, the customisation choices and Linear’s popularity for producing the very best high quality analog elements that received me over finally. On the value I’d higher be sure I get this design proper the primary time or I’ll be spending extra time than I’d like with my desoldering braid!

Design parameters

Now I do know the conversion know-how and the IC I’m going to make use of to do the conversion I can provide you with the options that I’d prefer to have on my board.

  • As much as two connected 3-wire PT100 RTD probes.
  • On-board steady temperature show utilizing 7-segment LED.
  • USB attachment to the host PC in the identical means as my relays and triacs board.


I translated my design parameters right into a proposed schematic, and right here it’s.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

Click on on the thumbnail to see a full-size PDF. Let’s check out the totally different sections of the schematic in additional element.

The facility provides

This one offered a number of challenges as a result of number of acceptable provide voltage ranges of the totally different ICs on the board. Energy is available in on the USB bus and that may vary between 4.6V and 5.25V. To fulfill the parameters of the MCU, USB-to-serial converter, LTC2986 and the LED driver I made a decision to function the board at 4.0V. Despite the fact that all of the ICs on the board will run on the USB provide voltage I wished to run the LTC2986 from a devoted ultra-low noise regulator which meant that there could be some extent of dropout voltage that might have an effect on the excessive/low ranges of the digital strains related to the MCU. For that cause I compromised on 4.0V throughout the board.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

The USB energy provide is notoriously noisy and I wrote an article on that some time again. This straightforward LC filter is designed to take away a few of that noise.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

The primary LDO regulator is the fastened 4.0V model of the ST Micro LDK220. It may well present as much as 200mA and will likely be used to produce every part aside from the LTC2986.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

The second regulator is a quite particular one. The LT3042 from Linear Expertise is an ultra-low noise LDO designed to produce delicate elements resembling an ADC. In my design it’s used as a devoted regulator for the LTC2986. The 40.2kΩ resistor units the output voltage to a nominal 4.02V.

The bundle is a pleasant and straightforward MSOP with the one ache being the pad on the underside that must be soldered to the board. It’s fairly frequent to see these on high-end regulators as a result of they supply a great massive floor connection in addition to a helpful heatsinking functionality.

The USB-to-serial IC

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

Simply as with my relays and triacs board I’ll be utilizing the Microchip MCP2221 USB-to-serial IC in a pleasant and straightforward DIP bundle. It’s resposible for presenting a USB CDC machine to the host PC and translating to a 9600 baud UART that will get related to the MCU.


Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

The venerable ATMega328P makes a well-known look once more as a result of it was successful within the relays and triacs board and a lot of the firmware code can merely be a copy-and-paste job from there. It’s arrange right here to run from an exterior 8MHz crystal.

The GPIO strains are configured for SPI communication to the ISP header, the LTC3042 and the LED driver. Separate CS strains are used to make sure that solely the right machine is listening at anybody time.

I related up a pink LED to a pin and known as it Alarm. The concept right here is that I can management it as a visible indicator of an issue, for instance a temperature threshold being exceeded.

The LED driver

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

It’s the acquainted MAX7221 in DIP format. I’ve used them earlier than, I’ve bought library code that I copy and paste and I purchased a pack of ten on Ali Specific for a really low-cost value so it’s a no brainer to incorporate it right here. It’ll be driving a pair of 3-digit frequent cathode LED shows.

The LTC2986

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

The LTC2986 offers ten enter channels that may be configured in keeping with the sensors that you simply plan to connect. With my two 3-wire PT100 RTDs I’ll want all ten channels. The rest of the elements are actually simply top quality X5R ceramic decoupling capacitors distributed in keeping with the suggestions within the datasheet.

The probes

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

The probes are arrange in keeping with the instance in Determine 39 within the datasheet 3-Wire RTD Kelvin Present Mode. This permits using peculiar enter safety resistors that don’t should be precisely matched.

3-wire RTD probes are most likely essentially the most generally obtainable kind. One finish of the sensor has a single wire connected and the opposite finish has two. The tip with two connected is used to sense the resistance of the leads and, so long as they’re carefully size matched, then that resistance might be cancelled out from the studying.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

R10 is the sense resistor and this one actually should be correct. I chosen a top quality 0.01% resistor that, at greater than £2 every might be the costliest 1kΩ resistor that I’ll ever purchase!

A wonderful thing about the LTC2986 is that Linear Tech have offered free design help software program that you need to use to configure the probes that you simply’re going to make use of. Not solely does it present you the wiring you might want to do it additionally generates C code to arrange the inner registers in keeping with your configuration.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

I find it irresistible when producers do that. The LTC2986 has a wonderful datasheet and I used to be fairly positive I knew what the probe wiring was going to be however to have the software program affirm it and supply driver code was only a improbable confidence increase and time saver.

Invoice of supplies

Right here’s a whole invoice of supplies for this challenge.

DesignatorWorthAmountDescriptionFootprintFarnell codeObserve
C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, C11, C15100n7Ceramic capacitor2.54mm2309020
C61Ceramic capacitor5.08mm2112910[1]
C7, C1210µ2Electrolytic capacitor5x11mm1902913
C8, C9, C26, C314.7µ4Capacitor08051759420
C13, C1422p2Capacitor2.54mm1100369
C16, C17, C20, C21, C24, C29, C32, C33, C34, C41100p10Capacitor06031759066
C18, C22, C23, C27, C28, C30, C35, C3610µ8Capacitor08052320851
C19, C25, C37, C38, C39, C40100n6Capacitor06031759037
D1, D2, D3Amber3LED3mm[2]
FB1BLM18PG221SN1D1Ferrite beadAXIAL-0.32292304
P22×5 header1ISP connector2.54mm[3]
R1, R2, R3, R710ok4ResistorAXIAL-0.32329609
R4, R5, R6, R233904ResistorAXIAL-0.32329519
R101k 0.01%1Resistor08052112790
R11, R12, R13, R14, R17, R18, R20, R21, R221k9Resistor08052447587
R1940.2k 1%1Resistor08052447658
U1ATMega328P18-bit AVR MicrocontrollerDIP-281715487
U2MCP2221-I/P1Microchip USB-SerialDIP-142434892
U3LKD220M40R1ST Micro LDO regulatorSOT23-5AM2435558
U4MAX7221CNG1LED Show DriverDIP-24[4]
U51pink Three digit 7 phase 0.36″ LEDcustomized[5]
U61blue Three digit 7 phase 0.36″ LEDcustomized[5]
U7LTC2986ILX#PBF1Linear Tech temperature to digital converterLQFP482629645
U8LT3042EMSE#PBF1Linear Expertise LDO regulatorLT-MSE-10-EDP2475652
Y11Crystal Oscillator – ABLS-25.000MHZ-B2F-THC49 through gap2063945


Among the elements have word numbers in opposition to them. The next numbered paragraphs correspond to a numbered word within the invoice of supplies desk.

  1. 2.54mm components may also be used when you rigorously bend the leads outwards to suit the broader 5.08mm pitch.
  2. Any color of 3mm LED will work and so they’re least expensive on ebay.
  3. These 2.54mm headers are least expensive on ebay.
  4. The MAX7221 appears to be least expensive on Ali Specific.
  5. Ensure you get the 0.36″ common-cathode selection. The pink ones are straightforward sufficient to seek out however the blue ones are extra elusive. I bought mine from Ali Specific. Seek for merchandise #32789229519.

PCB Design

The PCB design was given a jump-start by the success of my earlier relays and triacs board. I set the extent of the board to a 10x10cm sq. and positioned the mounting screw holes the place they wanted to be to match up with the footprint of a 2.5″ laborious drive.

Subsequent I knew I’d want a big space for the probes to connect. Probes designed to suit a particular hand-held reader will include their very own connector — usually you’ll see some type of DIN or XLR connector used for this objective.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

Normal-purpose probes will both include bare-wire termination or usually you get spade-type connectors designed for screwing to a board.

I made a decision that spade or ring-type screw connectors could be those that I’d use. All I have to do on the board is present screw holes of about 3.5mm with uncovered copper round them to make a great contact with the screw connector.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

The highest-right of this two-layer board is devoted to the probes, the LTC2986 and the LT3042. This space is all surface-mount. In an try to get rid of the potential for digital noise to get into this space and intrude with the readings there’s a cut up within the floor aircraft the forces return currents from the digital and analog sections of the board to remain separated from one another.

There’s a liberal sprinkling of vias to the underside of the board, significantly across the decoupling capacitors. The underside floor layer is unbroken by traces or elements alongside the trail to the bottom pin of the USB connector.

The bigger bottom-left part of the board is the digital stuff and indicator LEDs. There’s nothing actually delicate right here so element placement is made for comfort and to match up with bodily constraints. For instance, the USB connector needs to be on the identical facet as it’s on the relays and triacs board, the ISP header needs to be in an accessible place and the 7-segment LEDs needs to be on the fringe of the board.

As an alternative of naming the probes one thing boring like #1 and #2 I made a decision to call them as ‘red’ and ‘blue’ and use pink and blue 7 phase LEDs to show the readings. If the board will get mounted inside a PC as deliberate then I received’t be capable to see the board readings except I lower out a window or run the shows to the surface with wires however I can reside with that.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop
3D view is sweet for catching placement and overlap points

As soon as I used to be completely satisfied that the design regarded OK I despatched it off to Seeed Studio for manufacturing as a result of on the time they had been the one ones providing the $4.90 deal for a pack of 10. I see that everybody’s bought in on that value now which must be a great factor for all of us.


Earlier than assembling the board I assumed I’d higher take a look at the precision 0.01% resistor with the very best multimeter on my bench as a result of I keep in mind watching an EEVblog video the place Dave bought a precision resistor for his µCurrent challenge that turned out to be not so precision in spite of everything. After nulling out the take a look at leads I bought a measurement.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop
That is what 0.01% tolerance buys you

There’s actually nothing flawed with that resistor. Hopefully it’ll age slowly sufficient over time to return to not trigger any measurement points.

Right here’s an image of the back and front of the clean boards. No manufacturing boundaries are being pushed right here so it was no shock to seek out that the boards all completely made.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

First I have to get the floor mount stuff out of the best way. I tinned the pads with leaded solder so each had just a little bump of solder on it, utilized extra flux and positioned the SMD elements on to the little bumps.

Subsequent I reflowed the board in my selfmade halogen reflow oven. This was uneventful and labored completely. The solder bumps reflowed and all of the elements sat down on to the board. No post-reflow contact up was needed. I used to be completely satisfied.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop
Reflowed solder fillets

With the surface-mount components all in place I sat down with my soldering iron and did all of the through-hole components. I exploit sockets for my ICs simply in case I mess up a prototype board design and have to recycle the components for the subsequent iteration.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

It’s trying good however does it work? I wanted to spend a while writing the firmware.


I used to be off to a flying begin due to the present firmware for the relays and triacs board, the pattern code generated by the LTC2986 software and my current driver code for the MAX7221. The firmware is designed to ballot the 2 sensors and show their readings at 1Hz intervals. I additionally carried out a set of instructions to be executed over the serial bus that present the next performance:

  • Retrieve sensor readings.
  • Set or retrieve calibration offsets for every sensor.
  • Set or retrieve calibration dates for every sensor.
  • Activate, off or flash the pink alarm LED.
  • Allow the pink, blue or each on-board shows.

Now all I have to do some testing is a PT100 RTD probe. At this level I wasn’t eager on the concept of paying the comparatively excessive value for a probe from a good supply. I simply wished to know if my board labored so I purchased a few low-cost probes from ebay. That is the primary one which I purchased. It claims to be stainless-steel.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop
Stainless-steel 3-wire probe from ebay

Earlier than attaching it to the board I used my Keysight U3402A 5½ digit bench meter to take some resistance measurements. After nulling out the take a look at leads I measured the resistance throughout the 2 blue terminals. This is able to give me the lead resistance.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

The studying was leaping round a bit as a result of contact I used to be making between the Keysight probes and the spade terminals. I’ll use 658mΩ for this take a look at however I may very well be off by a few hundred milliohms. Now I took a studying throughout the PT100 ingredient itself.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

Subtracting the lead resistance provides me a worth of 113.427. A resistance-to-temperature lookup desk is obtainable on-line for PT100 probes and I used that to get the temperature.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

Hmmm. This probe is off by a mile. The ambient temperature is a cushty 22°C on this room and the probe is studying a positively scorching 35°C. OK, high-quality, you pay peanuts and also you get peanuts. Fastened offsets might be calibrated out however my concern is whether or not this probe is definitely platinum in any respect and whether or not it might change resistance on the right PT100 scale.

Anyway, I purchased it to check the board and I can actually try this so I hooked it up and switched on. Sadly I did seize the probe briefly by its enterprise finish whereas attaching it to the board so it may need heated up barely whereas I arrange the take a look at.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop
LED readouts are too intense to {photograph} properly

That was a reduction. My board reads a worth that’s shut sufficient to the lookup desk to be my measurement error that was at fault. I sat there watching it for a couple of minutes, as you do, simply to guarantee that it was secure. It was. I swapped over to the blue channel and it learn the identical. Each channels had been working.

The unused channel shows ‘Err’ as a sign that it might’t learn a worth, on this case as a result of there’s no probe connected. Extra detailed details about the kind of error is offered by the firmware serial instructions.

I additionally purchased a pair of even cheaper probes from ebay on the identical time, simply £2.89 will get you one in all these.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

Is it actually doable to get an correct PT100 probe for below three quid? Effectively no, truly. I received’t bore you with the pictures and measurements once more however suffice to say that the 2 probes I purchased didn’t even agree with one another. One was off by 4.7°C and the opposite was off by a way more respectable 0.3°C.

At this level you could be questioning how I do know what the true temperature is. The reply is that I’ve one in all these handheld type-T thermocouple probes.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

This was calibrated by the producer lower than a 12 months in the past so it ought to nonetheless be near the true worth. That is the probe that I presently use for all my dwelling brewing measurements and it’s what I’m going to make use of to set the calibration offsets for these dodgy ebay PT100 probes.

The firmware

The firmware supply code might be discovered right here on github. When you don’t need to compile it your self then you possibly can simply obtain the .hex file from the bin listing and flash it on to your ATMega328P.


When you do need to compile it your self then the related supply is within the firmware/rtd listing. Clone the repo, change to the supply listing and execute the scons command to compile it. I’ve examined this with the previous avr-gcc 4.9.2 and the very current 7.2.Zero launch and each work high-quality.

Right here’s the instance output when constructing with 7.2.0:

$ scons
scons: Studying SConscript information …
scons: accomplished studying SConscript information.
scons: Constructing targets …
avr-g++ -o AlarmFlasher.o -c -mmcu=atmega328p -Os -g -DF_CPU=8000000 -DBOARD_SERIAL=2429286624 -std=c++1y -Wall -Werror -Wextra -pedantic-errors -fno-rtti -mcall-prologues -ffunction-sections -fdata-sections -fno-exceptions AlarmFlasher.cpp
avr-g++ -o Max7221.o -c -mmcu=atmega328p -Os -g -DF_CPU=8000000 -DBOARD_SERIAL=2429286624 -std=c++1y -Wall -Werror -Wextra -pedantic-errors -fno-rtti -mcall-prologues -ffunction-sections -fdata-sections -fno-exceptions Max7221.cpp
avr-g++ -o MillisecondTimer.o -c -mmcu=atmega328p -Os -g -DF_CPU=8000000 -DBOARD_SERIAL=2429286624 -std=c++1y -Wall -Werror -Wextra -pedantic-errors -fno-rtti -mcall-prologues -ffunction-sections -fdata-sections -fno-exceptions MillisecondTimer.cpp
avr-g++ -o ProgStrings.o -c -mmcu=atmega328p -Os -g -DF_CPU=8000000 -DBOARD_SERIAL=2429286624 -std=c++1y -Wall -Werror -Wextra -pedantic-errors -fno-rtti -mcall-prologues -ffunction-sections -fdata-sections -fno-exceptions ProgStrings.cpp
avr-g++ -o Program.o -c -mmcu=atmega328p -Os -g -DF_CPU=8000000 -DBOARD_SERIAL=2429286624 -std=c++1y -Wall -Werror -Wextra -pedantic-errors -fno-rtti -mcall-prologues -ffunction-sections -fdata-sections -fno-exceptions Program.cpp
avr-g++ -o Uart.o -c -mmcu=atmega328p -Os -g -DF_CPU=8000000 -DBOARD_SERIAL=2429286624 -std=c++1y -Wall -Werror -Wextra -pedantic-errors -fno-rtti -mcall-prologues -ffunction-sections -fdata-sections -fno-exceptions Uart.cpp
avr-g++ -o brewery-rtd-v1.elf -Wl,-Map, -mrelax -Wl,-u,vfprintf -lprintf_flt -lm -Wl,–gc-sections -mmcu=atmega328p AlarmFlasher.o Max7221.o MillisecondTimer.o ProgStrings.o Program.o Uart.o
avr-objcopy -j .textual content -j .information -O ihex brewery-rtd-v1.elf brewery-rtd-v1.hex
Set up file: “brewery-rtd-v1.hex” as “bin/brewery-rtd-v1.hex”
avr-objdump -S brewery-rtd-v1.elf > brewery-rtd-v1.lst
avr-size brewery-rtd-v1.elf | tee brewery-rtd-v1.siz
textual content information bss dec hex filename
8850 226 126 9202 23f2 brewery-rtd-v1.elf
scons: accomplished constructing targets.

When you’d prefer to flash the .hex file on to the board utilizing a USBASP programmer then the command is scons add.

Serial instructions

Instructions are entered over the USB digital serial port at 9600 baud. Every command is a single line with non-obligatory parameters. An affirmative response can be a single line and is at all times a sound JSON doc to make for simple parsing by the host PC controller.

On the time of writing the next instructions are carried out.

IDReturn the board identifier string.
CAPSReturn the board capabilities.
VERReturn the model numbers.
COPYReturn a copyright assertion.
UPTIMEReturn the uptime in milliseconds.
READINGSReturn the final temperature readings.
RCAL/BCALReturn the pink/blue calibration offset.
RCAL/BCALdecimal quantitySet the pink/blue calibration worth.
RCALDATE/BCALDATEReturn the pink/blue calibration date.
RCALDATE/BCALDATE32-bit optimistic integerSet the pink/blue calibration date as a Unix time_t worth.
SERIALReturn the distinctive serial quantity generated for this board occasion.
ALARMON/OFF/FLASHChange the state of the pink alarm LED.
DISPLAYSRED/BLUE/BOTH/NONEChange which of the 7-segment LED shows to indicate. Temperature readings are unaffected.

The serial quantity returned by the SERIAL command is generated once you first run the scons command and is saved within the serialnumber.txt file. The aim of this quantity is to facilitate a number of boards of the identical kind being utilized in the identical PC. The serial quantity differentiates them.

I don’t know whether or not I’ll ever try this however the facility is there if I do. All I want to recollect to do is regenerate the serialnumber.txt file after I program a second board of the identical kind.

Right here’s an instance interplay with the board utilizing the sendcommand utility that you will discover within the bin subdirectory.

$ ./sendcommand /dev/Andy0 READINGS

If the readings are legitimate then code will likely be 1. Another worth signifies an error. The error code might be decoded by referring to Desk 35. RTD Fault Reporting within the LTC2986 datasheet.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

The place it provides a bit place, shift proper by 24. So D24 is definitely D0.

A great high quality probe

Now I’m proud of my board it’s time to cease playing around with random ebay probes of suspect high quality and pay money for a good one. Right here’s the one which I purchased.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop

It’s from an organization known as Thermosense within the UK. It’s stainless-steel, 6mm in diameter and 250mm lengthy with a 2 metre lead. I needed to crimp alone loop connectors on the finish as a result of it got here with a bare-wire termination.

I knew this one was going to be good as a result of it’s utilized by my skilled brewer relative in his automated setup and better of all it was solely £22 delivered. I related it up and positive sufficient with none calibration in any respect it was only a tenth or two off my Therma-1T, close to sufficient for me.

I solely want one probe in the meanwhile however what I plan to do is to run a budget ebay stainless one calibrated and side-by-side with the great one from Thermosense. I’ll watch over time to see if the ebay probe responds all through the vary the identical because the Thermosense probe and if it does then then there’s no cause to not use the ebay probes when you can calibrate them your self.


I made a YouTube video exhibiting the board in operation. You’ll be able to watch it right here utilizing the embedded video however a lot better high quality might be had by visiting YouTube and watching it there.

Construct your individual

When you’d prefer to construct your individual board then all of the gerbers and firmware are freely obtainable.

Get the gerbers right here.

Get the firmware from github right here.

Clean boards on the market

I’ve bought some spare boards remaining from the batch of ten in my unique order. When you’d choose to purchase one quite than have your individual set manufactured then you need to use the PayPal type under to make an order.

Subsequent time…

One other profitable challenge involves a conclusion and I’m one huge step ahead in my aim of manufacturing an automatic, PC-based course of controller. In truth, apart from some bodily PC case modifications all of the {hardware} work is finished.

Course of automation: temperature sensing | Andys Workshop
The sensors and the switching boards

The subsequent factor I have to do is transfer ‘up the stack’ and create the PC controller software program that interacts with the {hardware}. That’s going to be a spring-boot java software distributed in a docker picture for simple set up. Extra on that one within the subsequent article on this sequence, coming to this weblog quickly!

When you’d like to go away a remark then you are able to do so down under within the feedback part or when you’d like so as to add to the dialogue over within the discussion board then please additionally be happy.