Initial Experiences with the ADALM1000
Some simple experiments using the ADALM1000 and Pixelpulse2.
What is the ADALM1000?
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.
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.
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
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.
*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.
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.
Next I used the ADALM1000 to measure the energy consumed by an ATMEGA328-PU microcontroller as it turned an LED off and on.
Here we can clearly see the current consumed when the LED is on and off.
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'.
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
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.
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.
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.