Beginner
10 min
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Provide accurate detection of lightning activity with AS3935 and PIC18LF25K42

Experience the power of ThunderSense!

Thunder Click with EasyPIC v7

Published Nov 01, 2023

Click board™

Thunder Click

Development board

EasyPIC v7

Compiler

NECTO Studio

MCU

PIC18LF25K42

Detect the presence and proximity of potentially dangerous lightning activity in the surrounding area

A

A

Hardware Overview

How does it work?

Thunder Click is based on the AS3935, a programmable fully integrated lightning sensor from ams AG that detects the approach of potentially hazardous lightning activity with a sensitive coil antenna, and the MA5532 from Coilcraft. The embedded lightning algorithm checks the incoming signal pattern to reject the potential manufactured disturbers, provides information on the noise level, and informs the host MCU in case of high noise conditions. If the signal is classified as a manufactured disturber, the event is rejected, and the sensor automatically returns to listening mode. Still, if the event is classified as a lightning strike, the statistical distance estimation block evaluates the distance to the head of the storm. The MA5532 external antenna is directly connected to the AS3935's Analog Front-end (AFE), which amplifies

and demodulates the received signal. The watchdog continuously monitors the output of the AFE and alerts the integrated lightning algorithm block in the event of an incoming signal. The embedded hardwired distance estimation algorithm of the AS3935 issues an interrupt on the IRQ pin, routed to the INT pin of the mikroBUS™ socket, every time lightning is detected. The estimated distance, displayed in the distance estimation register, does not represent the distance to the single lightning but the estimated distance to the storm's leading edge. Besides detecting potentially hazardous lightning activity, this Click board™ also provides information on the estimated distance to the storm's center on the noise level. The AS3935 can detect lightning up to 40km away with an accuracy of 1km to the storm front with a sensitive

antenna tuned to pick up lightning events in the 500kHz band. The AS3935 lightning sensor communicates with MCU using the SPI serial interface with a maximum SPI frequency of 2MHz. Note that the clock operation frequency of the SPI should not be identical to the resonance frequency of the antenna (500kHz) to minimize the onboard noise. 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. However, the 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.

Thunder Click hardware overview image

Features overview

Development board

EasyPIC v7 is the seventh generation of PIC development boards specially designed to develop embedded applications rapidly. It supports a wide range of 8-bit PIC microcontrollers from Microchip and has a broad set of unique functions, such as a powerful onboard mikroProg programmer and In-Circuit debugger over USB-B. 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 v7 allows you to connect accessory boards, sensors, and custom electronics more efficiently than ever. Each part of

the EasyPIC v7 development board contains the components necessary for the most efficient operation of the same board. An integrated mikroProg, a fast USB 2.0 programmer with mikroICD hardware In-Circuit Debugger, offers many valuable programming/debugging options and seamless integration with the Mikroe software environment. Besides it also includes a clean and regulated power supply block 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-B (USB-B) 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 v7 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 v7 horizontal 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
SPI Chip Select
RA5
CS
SPI Clock
RC3
SCK
SPI Data OUT
RC4
MISO
SPI Data IN
RC5
MOSI
Power Supply
3.3V
3.3V
Ground
GND
GND
NC
NC
PWM
Interrupt
RB1
INT
NC
NC
TX
NC
NC
RX
NC
NC
SCL
NC
NC
SDA
Power Supply
5V
5V
Ground
GND
GND
2

Take a closer look

Schematic

Thunder Click Schematic schematic

Step by step

Project assembly

EasyPIC v7 front image hardware assembly

Start by selecting your development board and Click board™. Begin with the EasyPIC v7 as your development board.

EasyPIC v7 front image hardware assembly
Rotary B 2 Click front image hardware assembly
MCU DIP 28 hardware assembly
EasyPIC v7 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 Thunder Click driver.

Key functions:

  • thunder_check_interr - This function checks and returns the interrupt value

  • thunder_get_storm_info - This function gets energy of the single lightning and distance estimation for the head of the storm

  • thunder_read_reg - This function reads the desired number of bytes from the registers

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 Thunder Click example
 * 
 * # Description
 * This application detects the presence and proximity of potentially 
 * lightning activity and provides estimated distance to the center of the storm. 
 * It can also provide information on the noise level.
 *
 * The demo application is composed of two sections :
 * 
 * ## Application Init 
 * Initializes SPI driver and performs the reset command and RCO calibrate command.
 * Also configures the device for working properly.
 * 
 * ## Application Task  
 * Always checks is interrupt event happend (Listening mode) and 
 * after that gets the informations about storm. Results logs on UART.
 * 
 * 
 * \author MikroE Team
 *
 */
// ------------------------------------------------------------------- INCLUDES

#include "board.h"
#include "log.h"
#include "thunder.h"

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

static thunder_t thunder;
static log_t logger;

uint8_t storm_mode;
uint32_t storm_energy;
uint8_t storm_distance;


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

void application_init ( void )
{
    log_cfg_t log_cfg;
    thunder_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.

    thunder_cfg_setup( &cfg );
    THUNDER_MAP_MIKROBUS( cfg, MIKROBUS_1 );
    thunder_init( &thunder, &cfg );

    thunder_default_cfg( &thunder );
    Delay_ms( 300 );
}

void application_task ( void )
{
    storm_mode = thunder_check_interr( &thunder );

    if ( storm_mode == THUNDER_NOISE_LEVEL_INTERR )
    {
        log_printf( &logger, "Noise level too high\r\n" );
    }
    else if ( storm_mode == THUNDER_DISTURBER_INTERR )
    {
        log_printf( &logger, "Disturber detected\r\n" );
    }
    else if ( storm_mode ==  THUNDER_LIGHTNING_INTERR )
    {
        thunder_get_storm_info( &thunder, &storm_energy, &storm_distance );

        log_printf( &logger, "Energy of the single lightning : %ld\r\n", storm_energy );
        log_printf( &logger, "Distance estimation :  %d km\r\n", storm_distance );
    }

    Delay_ms( 1000 );
}

void main ( void )
{
    application_init( );

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


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

Additional Support

Resources