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Lesson 6 – Analog-to-digital converter (ADC)

Overview

ADC stands for Analog-to-Digital Converter. An ADC is used to transform an analog signal, such as continuous analog voltage, into a digital format, enabling it to be read by a processor and enabling the processor to take actions based on the read values.

Embedded systems frequently require the measurement of physical parameters, typically represented in a continuous (analog) format rather than a digital form. Examples of physical parameters are temperature, light intensity, and pressure. Usually, sensors have an internal ADC that provides a converted digital form of the physical parameter, but this is not always the case. In such a case, we need to use the ADC inside the SoC and SiP to convert the physical parameter for an along form into a digital form.

In this lesson, we will first examine the ADC peripheral available on Nordic devices (nRF52, nRF53, and nRF91 Series), which is the type Successive approximation analog-to-digital converter (SAADC) and understand its capabilities and features.

Then, in exercise 1, we will learn how to interact with the SAADC using the Zephyr API to measure a voltage on one of the analog capable pins or the supply voltage. In exercises 2 and 3 we will learn how to interact with the SAADC peripheral using advanced methods by utilizing the nrfx drivers directly. The goal of these exercises is to teach you the advantages and implications of using these different methods.

Objectives

  • Understand the core principles of ADC and successive approximation ADC (SAADC)
  • Explore the features and properties of the SAADC available on Nordic devices
  • Examine the Zephyr API for ADC and understand its advantages and limitations when used with Nordic devices.
  • Examine the nrfx driver API for ADC (nrfx SAADC).
  • Learn through hands-on exercises how to use the nrfx SAADC driver on a Nordic device to read an analog input
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