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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Port-Powered Temperature Meter

This is a four-channel temperature measurmet adapter that works without external power supply. It will suitable for measureing temperature and logging its data with a PC. The circuit diagram is very simple and no adjustment is required, everybody will able to build it with ease :-)

Specs. Micro-controller ATtiny15L (Atmel)
Number of channels Four channels
Measurement Range -40°C to +105°C (0.1°C/step)
or raw A-D value
Measurement Error ±0.5°C (at room temperature)
Sensor 103AT (Semitec)
Power Supply Supplyed from COM port (typ. 5mA)
Cost Approx. 1200JPY (All parts)



I chose an Atmel ATtiny15L for this project. It is the only device that has a built-in 10bit A-D converter in the 8 pin AVRs. The A-D converter has a bandgap reference and differencial amplifire as its front-end. The AVR core is clocked by only internal RC oscillator (calibrated to 1.6MHz), any other clock souce cannot be used. Also 25.6MHz clock source that 16x multiplied from core clock is available for timer/counter. This means that a fast PWM output can be generated. Therefore the ATtiny15L has good analog I/O capabiltity.

In this project, the A-D converter is used as four channels, single-ended, no gain and VREF from Vcc configuration. However RSTDISBL fuse must be programmed in order to use pin #1 as one of the analog inputs, an AVR programmer that can program in HVS mode is required.

Power Supply

The devices that works on the COM port without external power supply, such as serial mouse, are powered from the COM port. When an application program opens COM port, ER and RS signals will go high. The high level voltage is from 6V to 12V at most PCs, and it can supply 5mA at least. This is sufficient for low power micro-controllers.


Four 103AT precision thermisters are used as temperature sensor. Its variation is very small, its temperature - resistance error at room temperature is ±0.3°C. The error of series resisters should be within ±0.5% to enable calibration-free design.


The program only respond the values of each channel to the PC by trigger command. The temperature - resistance curve of the thermister is not linear so that the raw A-D value is linearlized and converted to temperature value in software process. When replace the thermister with any oters, the linearlization table in the source code must be re-built. The raw A-D value can also be read, it will be used as voltage meter.

The trigger command is one "T" or "R" character, returened results are the temperarute for "T" command, raw A-D value for "R" command. Each value is separated by a comma and terminated by a .

Free Firmware

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