Measuring the voltage and current will always be helpful while making or debugging any electrical system. In this project we are going to make our own Digital Ammeter using PIC16F877A Microcontroller and current sensor ACS712-5A. This project can measure both AC and DC current with a range of 0-30A with an accuracy of 0.3A. With few modifications on the code you can also use this circuit to measure up to 30A. So let us get started!!!
- 7805 Voltage Regulator
- ACS712 current Sensor
- 16*2 LCD display
- A junction box and load (Just for testing)
- Connecting wires
- Power supply – 12V
Working of ACS712 Current Sensor:
Before we start building the project it is very important for us to understand the working of the ACS712 Current sensor as it is the key component of the project. Measuring current especially AC current is always a tough task due to the noise coupled with it improper isolation problem etc. But, with the help of this ACS712 module which was engineered by Allegro thing have become a lot easier.
This module works on the principle of Hall-effect, which was discovered by Dr. Edwin Hall. According his principle, when a current carrying conductor is placed into a magnetic field, a voltage is generated across its edges perpendicular to the directions of both the current and the magnetic field. Let us not get too deep into the concept but, simply put we use a hall sensor to measure the magnetic field around a current carrying conductor. This measurement will be in terms of millivolts which we called as the hall-voltage. This measured hall-voltage is proportional to the current that was flowing through the conductor.
The major advantage of using ACS712 Current Sensor is that is can measure both AC and DC current and it also provides isolation between the Load (AC/DC load) and Measuring Unit (Microcontroller part). As shown in the picture we have three pins on the module which are Vcc, Vout and Ground respectively.
The 2-pin terminal block is where the current carrying wire should be passed through. The module work on +5V so the Vcc should be powered by 5V and the ground should be connected to Ground of the system. The Vout pin has an offset voltage of 2500mV, meaning when there is no current flowing through the wire then the output voltage will be 2500mV and when current flowing is positive, the voltage will be greater than 2500mV and when the current flowing is negative, the voltage will be less than 2500mV.
We will be using the ADC module of the PIC microcontroller to read the output voltage (Vout) of the module, which will be 512(2500mV) when there is no current flowing through the wire. This value will reduce as the current flows in negative direction and will increase as the current flows in positive direction. The below table will help you understand how the output voltage and ADC value varies based on the current flowing through the wire.