Beginner
10 min

Control resistance using digital signals with MCP4161 and PIC18F46K20

8-bit single SPI digital potentiometer with non-volatile memory

DIGI POT Click with EasyPIC v8

Published Nov 01, 2023

Click board™

DIGI POT Click

Development board

EasyPIC v8

Compiler

NECTO Studio

MCU

PIC18F46K20

Achieve digital control of electrical parameters through this cutting-edge digital potentiometer solution, simplifying system tuning and optimization

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Hardware Overview

How does it work?

DIGI POT Click is based on the MCP4161, an 8-bit single SPI digital POT with non-volatile memory from Microchip. The MCP4161 has a resistance of 10kΩ and low wiper resistance, with a typical 75Ω. It can be used as a three-terminal potentiometer or a two-terminal rheostat while floating either of the terminals (A or B). DIGI POT Click has four screw terminals: PA and PB as analog terminals A and B of the MCP4161, a PW as a wiper terminal of the digital potentiometer, and one for ground. The PA and PB terminals do not have polarity restrictions; PA can be a higher voltage than PB and vice-versa.

The position of the wiper (PB) terminal is controlled by the value in the 8-bit wiper resistance register. There are two functional modes of this Click board™. When all three terminals are used, the MCP4161 generates a voltage divider, where the voltage divider at wiper-to-PA and wiper-to-PB is proportional to the input voltage at PA to PB. It operates in rheostat mode as a variable resistor when only two terminals are used. DIGI POT Click communicates with the host MCU using the 3-Wire SPI serial interface as a write-only. The SCK timing frequency maximum is 10MHz. It features a

WiperLock™ Technology for automatically recalling saved wiper settings from EEPROM. In addition to the SMD MCP4161, this Click board™ features 6 PTHs for the DIP variant of this chip. This Click board™ can operate with either 3.3V or 5V logic voltage levels selected via the PWR 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.

DIGI POT Click hardware overview image

Features overview

Development board

EasyPIC v8 is a development board specially designed for the needs of rapid development of embedded applications. It supports many high pin count 8-bit PIC microcontrollers from Microchip, regardless of their number of pins, and a broad set of unique functions, such as the first-ever embedded debugger/programmer. 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, EasyPIC v8 provides a fluid and immersive working experience, allowing access anywhere and under any

circumstances at any time. Each part of the EasyPIC v8 development board contains the components necessary for the most efficient operation of the same board. In addition to the advanced integrated CODEGRIP programmer/debugger module, which offers many valuable programming/debugging options and seamless integration with the Mikroe software environment, the board 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 DEVICE, and CAN are also included, including the well-established mikroBUS™ standard, two display options (graphical and character-based LCD), and several different DIP sockets. These sockets cover a wide range of 8-bit PIC MCUs, from the smallest PIC MCU devices with only eight up to forty pins. EasyPIC 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.

EasyPIC v8 horizontal image

Microcontroller Overview

MCU Card / MCU

PIC18F46K20

Architecture

PIC

MCU Memory (KB)

64

Silicon Vendor

Microchip

Pin count

40

RAM (Bytes)

3936

Used MCU Pins

mikroBUS™ mapper

NC
NC
AN
NC
NC
RST
SPI Chip Select
RE0
CS
SPI Clock
RC3
SCK
NC
NC
MISO
SPI Data IN
RC5
MOSI
Power Supply
3.3V
3.3V
Ground
GND
GND
NC
NC
PWM
NC
NC
INT
NC
NC
TX
NC
NC
RX
NC
NC
SCL
NC
NC
SDA
Power Supply
5V
5V
Ground
GND
GND
1

Take a closer look

Schematic

DIGI POT Click Schematic schematic

Step by step

Project assembly

EasyPIC v8 front image hardware assembly

Start by selecting your development board and Click board™. Begin with the EasyPIC v8 as your development board.

EasyPIC v8 front image hardware assembly
GNSS2 Click front image hardware assembly
MCU DIP 40 hardware assembly
GNSS2 Click complete accessories setup image hardware assembly
EasyPIC v8 Access DIPMB 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 DIP 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 DIGI POT Click driver.

Key functions:

  • digipot_set_wiper_positions - This function sets 8-bit wiper positions data

  • digipot_convert_output - This function convert 10-bit ADC value to volatage reference

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 main.c
 * @brief DigiPot Click example
 *
 * # Description
 * The demo application changes the resistance using DIGIPOT Click.
 *
 * The demo application is composed of two sections :
 *
 * ## Application Init
 * Initializes SPI and LOG modules.
 *
 * ## Application Task
 * This is an example which demonstrates the use of DIGI POT Click board.
 * Increments the wiper position by 10 positions every 5 seconds.
 *
 * @author Stefan Ilic
 *
 */

#include "board.h"
#include "log.h"
#include "digipot.h"

static digipot_t digipot;
static log_t logger;

uint8_t wiper_pos;

void application_init ( void ) {
    log_cfg_t log_cfg;  /**< Logger config object. */
    digipot_cfg_t digipot_cfg;  /**< Click config object. */

    /** 
     * 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 " );

    // Click initialization.

    digipot_cfg_setup( &digipot_cfg );
    DIGIPOT_MAP_MIKROBUS( digipot_cfg, MIKROBUS_1 );
    err_t init_flag  = digipot_init( &digipot, &digipot_cfg );
    if ( SPI_MASTER_ERROR == init_flag ) {
        log_error( &logger, " Application Init Error. " );
        log_info( &logger, " Please, run program again... " );

        for ( ; ; );
    }

    log_printf( &logger, "----------------\r\n" );
    log_printf( &logger, " DIGI POT Click\r\n" );
    log_printf( &logger, "----------------\r\n" );
}

void application_task ( void ) {
    for ( uint16_t n_cnt = 127; n_cnt < 255; n_cnt += 10 ) {
        wiper_pos = ( uint8_t ) n_cnt;
        digipot_set_wiper_positions( &digipot, wiper_pos );
        Delay_ms( 5000 );
    }
}

void main ( void ) {
    application_init( );

    for ( ; ; ) {
        application_task( );
    }
}

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

Additional Support

Resources