Intermediate
30 min
0

Enhance energy efficiency and comfort through precise lighting control based on VEML7700 and PIC18LF25K42

Sensing the light: A new dawn in ambient light technology

Ambient 6 Click with EasyPIC v7a

Published Dec 29, 2023

Click board™

Ambient 6 Click

Development board

EasyPIC v7a

Compiler

NECTO Studio

MCU

PIC18LF25K42

Experience the future of smart living with our ambient light sensors, providing intelligent, automated lighting control that seamlessly integrates with your lifestyle

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Hardware Overview

How does it work?

Ambient 6 Click is based on the VEML7700, a high accuracy ambient light sensor (ALS) with I2C interface, from Vishay Semiconductors. This sensor utilizes several proprietary technologies to ensure accurate measurements of the light intensity, with the spectral response very close to a human eye. By utilizing a sensitive photo-diode, low noise amplifier, and a 16-bit A/D converter (ADC), this sensor can provide the data directly, with no need for complex calculations. The dynamic range for the ambient light sensor is very large, starting down from 0 lx up to about 167 klx, with the maximum resolution of only 0.005 lx/count. A high dynamic range along with a linear response to different light sources, allows this sensor to be placed behind a dark glass or panels made of other semi-transparent materials. The VEML7700 sensor uses only six 16-bit registers, which makes it very simple to configure and use. Even though, it comes with the mikroSDK compatible library, which simplifies the development even more. However, more detailed explanation of each command can be found in the datasheet of the

VEML7700, if required. By using these six registers, the user can configure the Click board™ and the equipped VEML7700 sensor, fine-tuning it according to the requirements of the application. All the working parameters including the sensitivity, integration time, interrupt detection, persistence protection for the interrupt triggering, low and high threshold window for the interrupt, can all be set using these registers. Finally, the Ambient Light Sensing (ALS) result can be found here in 16-bit register 0x04. The data can be read or written in LSB/MSB format, using the 8-bit I2C interface. A selectable sensitivity allows a very wide dynamic range for the ALS measurement. There are two ALS_SM bits, allowing the sensitivity to be set to 1/4, 1/8, 2, and 1 x ALS nominal sensitivity. This offers four different luminosity ranges to be covered for each selected integration time (ALS_IT). For example: the fastest integration time (25ms) results in the lowest resolution, and combined with the sensitivity of 1/8 x ALS, it allows the highest luminosity value to be measured. The event detection engine allows optimized firmware

to be developed. Although there is no dedicated interrupt pin on the VEML7700 IC, the software can still poll the status by reading two event flag bits. When any of the programmed light thresholds is exceeded for a programmed number of times (persistence protection), an interrupt event will be generated, asserting this pin to a LOW logic level. The interrupt pin is routed to the mikroBUS™ INT pin. The Click board™ is supported by the mikroSDK library, which contains functions for simplified development. The mikroSDK functions are well-documented, but there is still a need, the datasheet of the VEML7700 offers listing of all the registers and their specific functions. This Click board™ can be operated only with a 3.3V logic voltage level. The board must perform appropriate logic voltage level conversion before using MCUs with different logic levels. Also, it comes equipped with a library containing functions and an example code that can be used as a reference for further development.

Ambient 6 Click top side image
Ambient 6 Click bottom side image

Features overview

Development board

EasyPIC v7a is the seventh generation of PIC development boards specially designed for the needs of rapid development of embedded applications. It supports a wide range of 8-bit PIC microcontrollers from Microchip and has a broad set of unique functions, such as the first-ever embedded debugger/programmer over USB-C. The development board is well organized and designed so that the end-user has all the necessary elements in one place, such as switches, buttons, indicators, connectors, and others. With four different connectors for each port, EasyPIC v7a allows you to connect accessory boards, sensors, and custom electronics more efficiently than ever. Each part of the EasyPIC v7a 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 various external power sources, including an external 12V power supply, 7-23V AC or 9-32V DC via DC connector/screw terminals, and a power source via the USB Type-C (USB-C) connector. Communication options such as USB-UART and RS-232 are also included, alongside the well-

established mikroBUS™ standard, three display options (7-segment, graphical, and character-based LCD), and several different DIP sockets. These sockets cover a wide range of 8-bit PIC MCUs, from PIC10F, PIC12F, PIC16F, PIC16Enh, PIC18F, PIC18FJ, and PIC18FK families. EasyPIC v7a 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 v7a double side image

Microcontroller Overview

MCU Card / MCU

default

Architecture

PIC

MCU Memory (KB)

32

Silicon Vendor

Microchip

Pin count

28

RAM (Bytes)

2048

Used MCU Pins

mikroBUS™ mapper

NC
NC
AN
NC
NC
RST
NC
NC
CS
NC
NC
SCK
NC
NC
MISO
NC
NC
MOSI
Power Supply
3.3V
3.3V
Ground
GND
GND
NC
NC
PWM
NC
NC
INT
NC
NC
TX
NC
NC
RX
I2C Clock
RC3
SCL
I2C Data
RC4
SDA
NC
NC
5V
Ground
GND
GND
2

Take a closer look

Schematic

Ambient 6 Click Schematic schematic

Step by step

Project assembly

EasyPIC v7a front image hardware assembly

Start by selecting your development board and Click board™. Begin with the EasyPIC v7a as your development board.

EasyPIC v7a front image hardware assembly
Rotary B 2 Click front image hardware assembly
MCU DIP 28 hardware assembly
EasyPIC v7a MB 2 - 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
EasyPIC PRO v7a Display Selection Necto Step 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 Ambient 6 Click driver.

Key functions:

  • ambient6_get_ambient_data - Functions for read 16bit Ambient Data (ALS)

  • ambient6_configuration - Functions for configuration device for measurement

  • ambient6_get_ambient_light - Functions for get Ambient Light Data

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 Ambient6 Click example
 * 
 * # Description
 * This application measurement ambient light
 *
 * The demo application is composed of two sections :
 * 
 * ## Application Init 
 * Initialization driver init and default configuration device for measurement
 * 
 * ## Application Task  
 * Read Ambient Light in lux[lx] and this data logs to USBUART every 1sec.
 * 
 * 
 * \author MikroE Team
 *
 */
// ------------------------------------------------------------------- INCLUDES

#include "board.h"
#include "log.h"
#include "ambient6.h"

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

static ambient6_t ambient6;
static log_t logger;

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

void application_init ( void )
{
    log_cfg_t log_cfg;
    ambient6_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 ----" );

    //  Click initialization.

    ambient6_cfg_setup( &cfg );
    AMBIENT6_MAP_MIKROBUS( cfg, MIKROBUS_1 );
    ambient6_init( &ambient6, &cfg );
    ambient6_default_cfg( &ambient6 );    
}

void application_task ( )
{
    float ambient_light;
    
    ambient_light = ambient6_get_ambient_light( &ambient6 );
    log_printf( &logger, "Ambient Light: %.2f lx \r\n", ambient_light );
    Delay_ms( 1000 );
}

void main ( void )
{
    application_init( );

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


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

Additional Support

Resources