30 min

Accurate alcohol detection based on the MiCS-5524 and STM32L152RE

Alcohol awareness simplified: Our detection, your safe passage

Alcohol 3 Click with Fusion for ARM v8

Published Aug 29, 2023

Click board™

Alcohol 3 Click

Development board

Fusion for ARM v8


NECTO Studio



Develop top-of-the-line alcohol breath tester and early fire and gas leakage detection applications easily



Hardware Overview

How does it work?

Alcohol 3 Click is based on the MiCS-5524 sensor, a compact MOS sensor from SGX Sensortech. This sensor comprises a micromachined metal oxide semiconductor diaphragm with an integrated heating resistor. The resistor produces heat, which catalyzes the reaction, affecting the electrical resistance of the oxide layer itself. The temperature of the heater is quite high: it ranges from 350 °C to 550 °C. After the initial preheating period, the sensor can detect gas changes in intervals below two seconds. The resistance of the MiCS-5524 sensor does not change linearly with the gas concentration, so a proper calibration must be performed before using it for absolute gas concentration measurement applications. The impedance changes the most when used with low gas concentrations. As the atmosphere gets saturated with gas, the impedance changes slowly. This should be considered, especially when

developing applications for estimating blood alcohol content (BAC) from a breath sample (also known as a breathalyzer). The MiCS-5524 sensor is a simple device: it has only four connections. Two pins are the connections of the internal heating element, while the other two are the MOS sensor connections. The application is reduced to calculating a proper resistor for the voltage divider. The datasheet of the MiCS-5524 sensor offers typical values for its resistance when used in clean air (artificial conditions). The sensitivity is then expressed as the ratio between the sensor's resistance in clean air and resistance at a concentration of 60 ppm CO. The middle tap between the sensor (as a resistor) and the fixed resistance provides an output voltage. It depends on the sensor's resistance, allowing it to be used as the input into the MCP3221, a low-power 12-bit A/D converter with an I2C interface, from Microchip.

This ADC allows the output voltage to be translated into digital information, accessed over the I2C pins on the mikroBUS™ socket. By using the power supply voltage as the voltage reference for the conversion, this ADC further reduces the complexity of the design, still offering a good conversion quality, thanks to its low noise input. Due to the sensor's inert nature, this ADC is more than fast enough, although it can provide up to 22.3ksps when operated in the I2C Fast mode. This Click board™ can operate with either 3.3V or 5V logic voltage levels selected via the VCC SEL jumper. This way, both 3.3V and 5V capable MCUs can use the communication lines properly. Also, this Click board™ comes equipped with a library containing easy-to-use functions and an example code that can be used as a reference for further development.

Alcohol 3 Click top side image
Alcohol 3 Click bottom side image

Features overview

Development board

Fusion for ARM v8 is a development board specially designed for the needs of rapid development of embedded applications. It supports a wide range of microcontrollers, such as different ARM® Cortex®-M based MCUs regardless of their number of pins, and a broad set of unique functions, such as the first-ever embedded debugger/programmer over WiFi. The development board is well organized and designed so that the end-user has all the necessary elements, such as switches, buttons, indicators, connectors, and others, in one place. Thanks to innovative manufacturing technology, Fusion for ARM v8 provides a fluid and immersive working experience, allowing access anywhere and under any

circumstances at any time. Each part of the Fusion for ARM v8 development board contains the components necessary for the most efficient operation of the same board. An advanced integrated CODEGRIP programmer/debugger module offers many valuable programming/debugging options, including support for JTAG, SWD, and SWO Trace (Single Wire Output)), and seamless integration with the Mikroe software environment. Besides, it also includes a clean and regulated power supply module for the development board. It can use a wide range of external power sources, including a battery, an external 12V power supply, and a power source via the USB Type-C (USB-C) connector.

Communication options such as USB-UART, USB HOST/DEVICE, CAN (on the MCU card, if supported), and Ethernet is also included. In addition, it also has the well-established mikroBUS™ standard, a standardized socket for the MCU card (SiBRAIN standard), and two display options for the TFT board line of products and character-based LCD. Fusion for ARM v8 is an integral part of the Mikroe ecosystem for rapid development. Natively supported by Mikroe software tools, it covers many aspects of prototyping and development thanks to a considerable number of different Click boards™ (over a thousand boards), the number of which is growing every day.

Fusion for ARM v8 horizontal image

Microcontroller Overview

MCU Card / MCU



8th Generation


ARM Cortex-M3

MCU Memory (KB)


Silicon Vendor


Pin count


RAM (Bytes)


Used MCU Pins

mikroBUS™ mapper

Power Supply
I2C Clock
I2C Data
Power Supply

Take a closer look


Alcohol 3 Click Schematic schematic

Step by step

Project assembly

Fusion for PIC v8 front image hardware assembly

Start by selecting your development board and Click board™. Begin with the Fusion for ARM v8 as your development board.

Fusion for PIC v8 front image hardware assembly
Buck 22 Click front image hardware assembly
SiBRAIN for PIC32MZ1024EFK144 front image hardware assembly
v8 SiBRAIN MB 1 - upright/background hardware assembly
Necto image step 2 hardware assembly
Necto image step 3 hardware assembly
Necto image step 4 hardware assembly
NECTO Compiler Selection Step Image hardware assembly
NECTO Output Selection Step Image hardware assembly
Necto image step 6 hardware assembly
Necto image step 7 hardware assembly
Necto image step 8 hardware assembly
Necto image step 9 hardware assembly
Necto image step 10 hardware assembly
Necto PreFlash Image hardware assembly

Track your results in real time

Application Output

After pressing the "FLASH" button on the left-side panel, it is necessary to open the UART terminal to display the achieved results. By clicking on the Tools icon in the right-hand panel, multiple different functions are displayed, among which is the UART Terminal. Click on the offered "UART Terminal" icon.

UART Application Output Step 1

Once the UART terminal is opened, the window takes on a new form. At the top of the tab are two buttons, one for adjusting the parameters of the UART terminal and the other for connecting the UART terminal. The tab's lower part is reserved for displaying the achieved results. Before connecting, the terminal has a Disconnected status, indicating that the terminal is not yet active. Before connecting, it is necessary to check the set parameters of the UART terminal. Click on the "OPTIONS" button.

UART Application Output Step 2

In the newly opened UART Terminal Options field, we check if the terminal settings are correct, such as the set port and the Baud rate of UART communication. If the data is not displayed properly, it is possible that the Baud rate value is not set correctly and needs to be adjusted to 115200. If all the parameters are set correctly, click on "CONFIGURE".

UART Application Output Step 3

The next step is to click on the "CONNECT" button, after which the terminal status changes from Disconnected to Connected in green, and the data is displayed in the Received data field.

UART Application Output Step 4

Software Support

Library Description

This library contains API for Alcohol 3 Click driver.

Key functions:

  • alcohol3_get_co_in_ppm - This function reads CO (Carbon monoxide) data in ppm (1 ppm - 1000 ppm)

  • alcohol3_get_percentage_bac - This function reads percentage of alcohol in the blood (BAC)

  • alcohol3_get_adc_data - This function reads 12bit ADC value.

Open Source

Code example

This example can be found in NECTO Studio. Feel free to download the code, or you can copy the code below.

 * \file 
 * \brief Alcohol3 Click example
 * # Description
 * Code of this sensor reacts to the presence of deoxidizing and reducing gases,
 * such as ethanol (also known as alcohol).
 * The demo application is composed of two sections :
 * ## Application Init 
 * Application Init performs Logger and Click initialization.
 * ## Application Task  
 * Reads percentage of alcohol in the blood (BAC) 
 * and this data logs to USBUART every 1 sec.
 * \author MikroE Team
// ------------------------------------------------------------------- INCLUDES

#include "board.h"
#include "log.h"
#include "alcohol3.h"

// ------------------------------------------------------------------ VARIABLES

static alcohol3_t alcohol3;
static log_t logger;

// ------------------------------------------------------ APPLICATION FUNCTIONS

void application_init ( void )
    log_cfg_t log_cfg;
    alcohol3_cfg_t cfg;

     * Logger initialization.
     * Default baud rate: 115200
     * Default log level: LOG_LEVEL_DEBUG
     * @note If USB_UART_RX and USB_UART_TX 
     * are defined as HAL_PIN_NC, you will 
     * need to define them manually for log to work. 
     * See @b LOG_MAP_USB_UART macro definition for detailed explanation.
    LOG_MAP_USB_UART( log_cfg );
    log_init( &logger, &log_cfg );
    log_info( &logger, "---- Application Init ----" );
    Delay_ms ( 100 );

    //  Click initialization.

    alcohol3_cfg_setup( &cfg );
    alcohol3_init( &alcohol3, &cfg );

    log_printf( &logger, "--------------------------\r\n\n" );
    log_printf( &logger, " ---- Alcohol 3 Click ----\r\n" );
    log_printf( &logger, "--------------------------\r\n\n" );
    Delay_ms ( 1000 );

    log_printf( &logger, " ---- Initialization ---\r\n" );
    log_printf( &logger, "--------------------------\r\n\n" );
    Delay_ms ( 1000 );

void application_task ( void )
    uint16_t co_ppm;
    uint16_t p_bac;
    float temp_bac;

    //  Task implementation.

    log_printf( &logger, " --- Alcohol diagnostics ---- \r\n" );

    co_ppm = alcohol3_get_co_in_ppm ( &alcohol3 );
    log_printf( &logger, " co in ppm  %d    | \r\n", co_ppm );

    temp_bac = alcohol3_get_percentage_bac( &alcohol3 );
    p_bac = ( uint16_t )( temp_bac * 1000 );

    if ( 10 > p_bac && p_bac < 100 )
        log_printf( &logger, " BAC      | 0.00%d\r\n", p_bac );
    else if ( 100 <= p_bac && 1000 > p_bac )
        log_printf( &logger, " BAC      | 0.0%d\r\n", p_bac );
    else if ( p_bac >= 1000 )
        log_printf( &logger, " BAC      | 0.%d\r\n", p_bac );
        log_printf( &logger, " BAC  | 0.0000\r\n" );
    log_printf( &logger, " ---------------------------- \r\n" );

    Delay_ms( 1000 );

void main ( void )
    application_init( );

    for ( ; ; )
        application_task( );

// ------------------------------------------------------------------------ END

Additional Support