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Arduino Milliohm Meter Build

During the rebuild of the wheelchair motors for the support trolley, I found myself needing an accurate milliohm meter to test the armature windings with. Commercial instruments like these are expensive, but some Google searching found a milliohm meter project based around the Arduino from Circuit Cellar.

Circuit Diagram
Circuit Diagram

Here’s the original author’s circuit diagram, paralleling nearly all of the Arduino’s digital output pins together to source/sink the test current, an ADS1115 ADC to take more accurate readings, with the results displayed on a jellybean 128×64 OLED module. The most expensive part here is the 10Ω 0.1% 15ppm reference resistor, R9.
I decided to make some small adjustments to the power supply section of the project, to include a rechargeable lithium cell rather than a 9v PP3 battery. This required some small changes to the Arduino sketch, a DC-DC boost converter to supply 5v from the 3.7v of a lithium cell, a charger module for said cell, and with the battery voltage being within the input range of the analogue inputs, the voltage divider on A3 was removed. A new display icon was also added in to indicate when the battery is being charged, this uses another digital input pin for input voltage sensing.
I also made some basic changes to the way an unreadable resistance is displayed, showing “OL” instead of “—–“, and the meter sends the reading out over the I²C bus, for future expansion purposes. The address the data is directed to is set to 0x50.

I’ve not etched a PCB for this as I couldn’t be bothered with the messy etchant, so I built this on a matrix board instead.

Final Prototype
Final Prototype

Since I made some changes to both the software and the hardware components, I decided to prototype the changes on breadboard. The lithium cell is at the top of the image. with the charger module & DC-DC converter. The Arduino Nano is on the right, the ADC & reference resistor on the left, and the display at the bottom.
The Raspberry Pi & ESP8266 module are being used in this case to discharge the battery quicker to make sure the battery level calibration was correct, and to make sure the DC-DC converter would continue to function throughout the battery voltage range.

Matrix Board Passives
Matrix Board Passives

Here’s the final board with the passive components installed, along with the DC-DC converter. I used a Texas Instruments PTN04050 boost module for power as I had one spare.

Matrix Board Rear
Matrix Board Rear

The bottom of the board has most of the wire jumpers for the I²C bus, and power sensing.

Matrix Board Modules
Matrix Board Modules

Here’s both modules installed on the board. I used an Arduino Nano instead of the Arduino Pro Mini that the original used as these were the parts I had in stock. Routing the analogue pins is also easier on the Mini, as they’re brought out to pins in the DIP footprint, instead of requiring wire links to odd spots on the module. To secure the PCB into the case without having to drill any holes, I tapped the corner holes of the matrix board M2.5 & threaded cap head screws in. These are then spot glued to the bottom of the case to secure the finished board.

Lithium Charger
Lithium Charger

The lithium charger module is attached to the side of the enclosure, the third white wire is for input sensing – when the USB cable is plugged in a charge icon is shown on the OLED display.

Input Connections
Input Connections

The inputs on the side of the enclosure. I’ve used the same 6-pin round connector for the probes, power is applied to the Arduino when the probes are plugged in.

Module Installed
Module Installed

Everything installed in the enclosure – it’s a pretty tight fit especially with the lithium cell in place.

Meter Top Cover
Meter Top Cover

The top cover has the Measure button, and the OLED display panel, the latter secured to the case with M2.5 cap head screws.

Kelvin Clips
Kelvin Clips

Finally, the measurement loom, with Kelvin clips. These were an eBay buy, keeping things cheap. These clips seem to be fairly well built, even if the hinges are plastic. I doubt they’re actually gold-plated, more likely to be brass. I haven’t noticed any error introduced by these cheap clips so far.

The modified sketch is below:

 

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Arduino SWR Power Meter Final Parts & Calibration

Now the final bits have arrived for the SWR Meter module, I can do the final assembly.

SMA Connectors
SMA Connectors

Here the SMA connectors are installed on the side of the eBay meter, for forward & reverse power tap.
These are simply tee’d off the wiring inside the meter where it connects to the switch.

Uncalibrated
Uncalibrated

The meter is connected to the module via a pair of RG58 SMA leads, above is a readout before calibration, using one of my Baofeng UV-5Rs.

I’m using my GY561 eBay Power Meter as a calibration source, and as this isn’t perfect, the readings will be slightly off. If I can get my hands on an accurate power meter & dummy load I can always recalibrate.

Tools are only as accurate as the standard they were calibrated from!

After calibration, here’s the readings on 2m & 70cm. These readings coincide nicely with the readings the GY561 produce, to within a couple tenths of a watt. SWR is more than 1:1 as the dummy load in the GY561 isn’t exactly 50Ω.

High Power VHF
High Power VHF
Low Power VHF
Low Power VHF
High Power UHF
High Power UHF
Low Power UHF
Low Power UHF

Shortly I’ll calibrate against 6m & 10m so I can use it on every band I have access to 🙂

 

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Arduino Based SWR/PWR Meter – The Board

I recently posted about a small analog SWR/Power meter I got from eBay, and figured it needed some improvement.

After some web searching I located a project by ON7EQ, an Arduino sketch to read SWR & RF power from any SWR bridge.
The Arduino code is on the original author’s page above, his copyright restrictions forbid me to reproduce it here.

I have also noticed a small glitch in the code when it is flashed to a blank arduino: The display will show scrambled characters as if it has crashed. However pushing the buttons a few times & rebooting the Arduino seems to fix this. I think it’s related to the EEPROM being blank on a new Arduino board.

I have run a board up in Eagle for testing, shown below is the layout:

SWR Meter SCH
SWR Meter SCH

The Schematic is the same as is given on ON7EQ’s site.
Update: ON7EQ has kindly let me know I’ve mixed up R6 & R7, so make sure they’re switched round when the board is built ;). Fitting the resistors the wrong way around may damage the µC with overvoltage.

SWR Meter PCB
SWR Meter PCB

Here’s the PCB layout. I’ve kept it as simple as possible with only a single link on the top side of the board.

PCB Top
PCB Top

Here’s the freshly completed PCB ready to rock. Arduino Pro mini sits in the center doing all the work.
The link over to A5 on the arduino can be seen here, this allows the code to detect the supply voltage, useful for battery operation.
On the right hand edge of the PCB are the pair of SMA connectors to interface with the SWR bridge. Some RF filtering is provided on the inputs.

PCB Bottom
PCB Bottom

Trackside view of the PCB. This was etched using my tweaked toner transfer method.

LCD Fitted
LCD Fitted

Here the board has it’s 16×2 LCD module.

Online
Online

Board powered & working. Here it’s set to the 70cm band. The pair of buttons on the bottom edge of the board change bands & operating modes.
As usual, the Eagle layout files are available below, along with the libraries I use.

[download id=”5585″]

[download id=”5573″]

More to come on this when some components arrive to interface this board with the SWR bridge in the eBay meter.