"I feel a great disturbance in the force"
No, not that force, magnetic force. The 3D Magnetic Sensor 2 Go Kit is a small evaluation board for the TLV493D 3D magnetic sensor from Infineon.
Why would you need a 3D magnetic sensor? By providing a digital (controlled by I2C) contactless solution to replace existing potentiometer or optical solutions you can create a more robust and accurate result even in a sealed environment.
The suggested applications reflected in the kit are ...
- A joystick
- Control elements such as multifunction knob
As you can see there isn’t a lot in the box, just the board, and a small, low strength magnet. (I’m sure using a stronger magnet (carefully) there are some interesting things to be done with this sensor!)
- NB the sensor is the small IC on the end, in my first attempt at running the board I wondered why I was getting such feint measurements – wrong IC, weak magnet, user error!
After borrowing a USB cable and downloading the GUI from Infineon I set about installing it. The package contains the GUI and the drivers for the Segger J-Link.dll. To be on the safe side I updated the drivers before continuing from Segger.
Once installed, connect the board (you should see the obligatory green LED flashing away) run the GUI from the start menu.
Click Flash MCU in the top left of the GUI and that should flash the board with the firmware. Possibly down to my PC configuration but I was presented with an additional screen asking me to IP to the board. If you see this message after a little bit of trial and error entering ‘localhost’ resolved the issue.
Select the board from the next drop down list and away you go. Firstly select the operating mode, ultra low power, low power or fast mode. Changing amongst the modes it seems to vary the rate the data is polled, less polling, lower power.
There are 3 tabs across the top of the window…
Graph Mode – shows the values of the X, Y and Z axis along with the measured data including the temperature.
Joystick – using the optional add on or a 3rd party unit, this screen shows the movement it would interpret.
Polar – for use with dials, again illustrating the value the device would interpret from the movements.
As a demonstration of the IC, this kit is easy to set up and works well, with the ability to snap off the IC itself on part of the board this gives plenty of flexibility to take the kit and start modifying it for your own applications or maker projects. It’s interesting technology and I think there are more creative uses for it than the obvious ones suggested here so the question is, if you feel a great disturbance in the force what are you going to do with it?