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Configuring the ArduBat
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Now things get interesting...


Now we need to begin working with the Arduino UNO board. I won't go into how to write programs, or how to use the Arduino software to load sketches. There are better web resources for those types of information. I will continue on expecting that you have mastered the basics of working with the Arduino environment. As a reminder, the official Arduino website is at: www.arduino.cc

In order to configure the ArduBat, you need to have an idea of what input/output pins are used for the various parts of your project. Below is the Pinout Map that I developed for my ArduBat project. I am using an Adafruit # 1141 data logging shield, as well as the ArduBat shield. I am also using several analog sensors, and a bistable latching relay, but these aren't as important for the initial configuration of the ArduBat. In the list you can see there are 6 analog data pins, and 14 digital data pins. On the pinout map I have used colors to group the way the pins are being used.

All of the pins in red are needed by the Arduino board and operating system, so these shouldn't be used ( unless you know what you are doing :-) .

The pins in green are defined and used on the Adafruit data logger card, and should also be reserved. Even if you use a different shield down the road, the D10 through D13 pins will still be used by the SD card library to access the SD card.

The orange pins are the ones that are important to configuring the ArduBat. These are the pin allocations that the ArduBat uses for the LED, Push-button, and bat call connections. These are also the pins that are defined in the various sketches ( programs ) that are on this web site. Most of these connections were configured using wire jumpers on earlier ArduBat boards. But only the Div 32 Bat Call Data is jumper configured now. Normally, it is set to D2 as shown to the right. If, for some reason you can not use D2 for the ArduBat output, D3 is available as a jumper option. D2 and D3 are the two standard interrupt pins on the Arduino UNO.
The pins annotated in black are the analog data pins that I have used in the past for more data collection options.
The next step is to stack the ArduBat onto the Arduino UNO ( rev 3 ) board, and connect it to the computer that is running the Arduino software.

But before you do this, I recommend a couple of modifications to the UNO R3 board...

Because of the close spacing, I recommend clipping off the pins of the two connectors circled in green in the amaige to the left.

I also used a couple of layers of kapton tape to insulate the USB connector ( circled in red ) on the UNO from the bottom of any boards placed on top. Electrical, or heavy cellophane tape are also useful options here.

If you don't make these modifications, you will need to be very careful that you don't short any connections on the bottom of added shields when they are placed on top of the UNO !!

After stacking the ArduBat on the UNO, and connecting it via the USB to your programming computer, you need to supply 12 volts to the Arduino external power connector. This provides the power for the bat detector circuit on the ArduBat shield. It's not really necessary to have the earphone connected quite yet ...

Download, compile, and load the Demo / Test Sketch ( ABDemo.ino ).

When you press and hold the F1 push-button, the Green LED should light. When you press and hold the F2 push-button, the Red LED should light. When you jingle keys closely in front of the transducer, the Yellow LED should flash. And, when you press the RST push-button, the Red and Green LED's will reset to off.

If all of these tests worked, congratulations. Your ArduBat is almost ready to go.

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Setting the ArduBat Sensitivity...

At this point in the construction of the ArduBat, it is still a bit deaf. Only the first stage sensitivity / gain has been set. In the next steps we need to set the gain of the second stage. This procedure will determine the final sensitivity of the entire bat detector circuit.

To be able to hear what we are doing, we need to temporarily be able to connect an earphone to the Monitor output, near the transducer, of the ArduBat.

I use a 3 pin header strip section as a plug. Clip out the middle pin and wire the earphone to the shorter end of the remaining two pins. Then squeeze the two longer pins together just a little.

If you get the spacing correct, you can simply connect the earphone by lightly pressing the header "plug" into the monitor pads on the ArduBat PCB.

Of course you can also solder the wires of the earphone to the Monitor pads if you want the earphone to be connected permanently ... but I find that the earphone is usually not necessary for most projects.

It is important to consider the environment that the Simple Bat Detector circuit is in with the ArduBat configuration. Electrical noise will be transmitted to it from the digital circuits below it, as well as via the power connections ( including the AC wall-wart supply, if used ) . So to set up the best test conditions I recommend using the ArduBat, stacked with the Arduino ... running the demo sketch, as above. The ArduBat should be connected to the computer with the USB connector, and should have a 12 volt wall-wart power supply plugged in to the Arduino power connector. ( Without 12 volts to the Arduino, the bat detector circuits are not powered !! ) This situation maximizes the static background noise from the computer and power sources, yet simulates the actual digital noise during a bat pulse sampling period ... when we really need the bat detector circuit to be clean and clear of interference. And note ... contrary to the picture above, stretch out the earphone cord and keep it away from the transducer to avoid feedback oscillation while you are testing !!

With the above conditions met, run the demo program and press either the F1 or F2 buttons to illuminate an LED.

Softly bend the leads of a 150 ohm resistor, and gently plug it in to the pads for the second stage gain resistor on the ArduBat board ( marked with a *** ) ... see the circled area of the picture to the left.

Now, brush your fingers together and see that the sound is picked up at least a foot away from the transducer ... this indicates good sensitivity. Is the circuit quiet when you are not rubbing your fingers ?? Good, then you are set.

If there is noise or oscillation when you are not rubbing your fingers, you may have to reduce the gain ... repeat the process with the next larger resistor ... 220 ohms and then 470 ohms etc. When you find the smallest value resistor that gives you the best sensitivity, with no noise, then you can solder it on to the circuit board, and the ArduBat configuration is complete.

I find that 150 ohms works very well for the transducer and detuning coil listed in the parts list. In actual use, many of the ArduBat projects you build will likely run disconnected from the computer, or on a battery instead of a wall-wart. So the real world applications should be quieter, as far as electrical noise is concerned. Still, when you do run more complex programs, you will undoubtedly hear all sorts of noise from the bat detector circuit when program loops are toggling I/O pins, activating relays, writing or reading files from SD cards, etc. This is fine ... as long as the noise goes away when the Bat Pulse sampling routines are running. This adds a bit of a challenge to your programming ... writing code that is quiet :-)

At this point there are several options... learning more about the Demo Sketch, looking at a logging application, or maybe troubleshooting a problem with your ArduBat ... in any case, you now have a fully functional ArduBat shield, and you are ready to experiment. Good luck with your project !


Tony Messina - Las Vegas, Nevada - email: T-Rex@ix.netcom.com