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Initial Experiences with the ADALM1000

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Some simple experiments using the ADALM1000 and Pixelpulse2.

   

What is the ADALM1000?

The Analog Devices Active Learning Module - ADALM1000 (890-4004) is an easy to use tool designed to introduce the fundamentals of electrical engineering to students.   

ADALM1000 uses open-source software and hardware to illustrate the relationships between voltage, current and impedance. This can be done either using a single or dual channels.

   

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The device can be easily connected to a desktop or laptop with the Pixelpulse2 software installed. The USB module is slightly larger than a credit card.

   

Kit Contents

   

The box contains:

  • 1 x ADALM1000 module
  • 2 x 3 jumper wires
  • 2 x 6 pin headers
  • 1 x USB 'A' to USB 'micro B' cable

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Installing the software

The ADALM1000 uses software called Pixelpulse2. There is already pre-built software available for Mac and Windows operating systems. Unfortunately, at the present time, if you are running a Linux operating system you will have to build this from source.

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*Building from source is not covered in this blog post however, there are instructions available on the GitHub repository.

The software allows you to:

  • Source voltage (0-5v) and measure current.
  • Source current (-200mA to 200mA) and measure voltage.
  • Measure voltage only.

The source can be set to constant or a waveform, such as sine wave.

A simple experiment

To familiarise myself with the ADALM1000 and Pixelpulse2 I first did a very simple experiment. I connected a 100 Ohm resistor between channel A and GND. I then set this channel to source voltage and measure current, with the voltage set to 2.5V. By using Ohms law (V = I x R) I knew that I should expect 0.025A (25mA) of current.

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A pretty cool feature of Pixelpulse2 is that it will take the source voltage and the measured current and calculate the resistance of the connected circuit.

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Microcontroller circuit

Next I used the ADALM1000 to measure the energy consumed by an ATMEGA328-PU microcontroller as it turned an LED off and on.

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Here we can clearly see the current consumed when the LED is on and off.

To do this I assembled a Shrimp (simple Arduino-compatible circuit) and programmed a basic blink sketch to it through the Arduino IDE. Find out how to make a Minimal Shrimp here.

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To try this yourself:

  • Program the minimal shrimp with a basic blink sketch (can be found in examples in the Arduino IDE).
  • Disconnect the shrimp from the computer.
  • Connect the 5V pin header to Channel A and connect the GND header on the shrimp to GND on the ADALM1000.
  • Run the Pixelpulse2 software and set Channel A to 'supply voltage and measure current' and set the voltage icon to 'constant'.

Amplifier gain

This time I wanted to use both channels on the board simultaneously and decided to use the ADALM1000 to observe the gain of the Nutclough Amplifier   

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ADALM1000                  Nutclough Amplifier

Channel A          -           Tip of J1

GND                   -           Sleeve of J1

Channel B          -           Speaker +

GND                   -           Speaker -

By supplying a known input voltage and measuring the output voltage I can then observe the gain of the Nutclough amplifier.

To do this I sourced voltage from Channel A in the form of a 1kHz, 0.1V peak-to-peak sine wave. Following this I set Channel B to measurement only and not sourcing current or voltage. By looking at the measured output voltage and comparing this to the input voltage I could calculate the gain of the amplifier.

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Pixelpulse2 tips

To zoom in and out of the X-axis (time) you need to scroll using a mouse wheel. To zoom on the Y-axis (amplitude) you need to do the same again but whilst holding shift.

If you are not getting the results you expected to see, try setting a different sample time.

   

First impressions

I think this is a fantastic learning tool for developing an understanding of the fundamentals of electronics; it's affordable and relatively easy to figure out.

The only issue I found is that the Pixelpulse2 software is a little bit rough around the edges at this point in time. However, this is a new product and the software appears to be under continual development and should improve. Also since the software is open source anyone is free to attempt to improve it themselves.



Trainee Electronics Engineer, currently studying towards my degree in Electronic Engineering at the University of Hudderfsield. Completed my HND in Electrical & Electronic Engineering from Bradford College 2017. Love to try new things and build interesting projects!

15 Jun 2015, 10:07