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Review – adafruit industries Mini 8×8 LED Matrix with I2C backpack

16K33, adafruit, arduino, demonstration, graphic, holtek, i2c, LED, LED matrix, lesson, matrix, mini, review, scrolling, text, tronixstuff, tutorial Commenti disabilitati su Review – adafruit industries Mini 8×8 LED Matrix with I2C backpack 

Introduction

In this review we have a look at the mini 8×8 LED matrix with I2C backpack from adafruit industries. It looked like a small yet versatile display unit for a couple of project ideas, so as part of the evaluation we’ll run through it with you here. As you can see below, it’s quite small with a 20mm square matrix:

contents

The matrix and the controller are seperate which gives you the option of ordering different colours of matrix. Using LED matrices can be a pain, however these units use the Holtek 16K33 controller IC (data sheet) which has an I2C interface – much easier than the usual mess of shift registers and I/O pins:

holtek

 Furthermore you can change the I2C address using the solder pads on the PCB, giving you four possible options. And as it’s I2C, you can use it with other microcontrollers with a little detective work. Moving forward, we’ll assemble the display then explain how to use it with an Arduino, and show a few demonstrations.

Assembly

There really isn’t anything major to do, just solder the matrix to the backpack and some header pins if you need them. adafruit include some however I’m using the 90-degree ones for my own use:

solderingpins

The soldering should take about one minute tops, and then you’re done:

finished

Using the matrix

From a hardware perspective you only have four wires – 5V, GND, SDA and SCL. Yes – it’s a 5V part, so all you Raspberry Pi fans will need a level shifter, which you can get from adafruit as well. Anyhow once you’ve got it connected to your Arduino, a couple of libraries are required – the matrix and GFX libraries. Be sure to install them in your sketchbook/libraries folder and not the usual location. When saving the library files, call the first folder Adafruit_LEDBackpack and the second Adafruit_GFX as they don’t arrive in that format.

Now for a quick demonstration, it’s simply one from the included library. The display is very bright, so I had to reduce the exposure on the camera which makes the background a little dark – but you get the idea:

A pair of those fitted to a dummy or doll would be quite interesting, or make good eyes for a 21st century “Metal Mickey”. Well that’s quite interesting, so how do you in fact display things on the matrix? I’ve deconstructed a few examples to show you how it’s done.

No matter what, you need to include the libraries, define the matrix object in the sketch and then start it with the matching I2C address – for example:

// required libraries
#include <Wire.h>
#include "Adafruit_LEDBackpack.h"
#include "Adafruit_GFX.h"

// define matrix object
Adafruit_8x8matrix matrix = Adafruit_8x8matrix();

void setup() 
{
  // start the matrix at I2C address - default is 0x70
  matrix.begin(0x70);  // pass in the address
}

To scroll text across the display, modify the following chunk of code:

matrix.setRotation(0);
  matrix.setTextSize(1);
  matrix.setTextWrap(false); // false means nice scroll, true means each character appears, scrolls off, then repeat
  matrix.setTextColor(LED_ON);
  for (int8_t x=0; x>=-96; x--) // 96 is number of characters to display x 8
  {
    matrix.clear();
    matrix.setCursor(x,0);
    matrix.print("Hello, world");
    matrix.writeDisplay();
    delay(100);
  }

First, the setRotation() value is 0~3 and determines which way the text scrolls across the screen. This is useful if you mount the matrix in different positions, as you can still keep the text scrolling in a readable manner. Next, matrix.setTextWrap() – leave this as false,  as true displays each character and then just scrolls it in turn – looking rather odd. Now multiply the number of characters you want to display by 8, and replace the number -96 with negative your value and of course “Hello, world”. Finally follow with rest of the code. There’s a quick demonstration of this code in the sketch and video below:

// required libraries
#include <Wire.h>
#include "Adafruit_LEDBackpack.h"
#include "Adafruit_GFX.h"

// define matrix object
Adafruit_8x8matrix matrix = Adafruit_8x8matrix();

void setup() 
{
  // start the matrix at I2C address - default is 0x70
  matrix.begin(0x70);  // pass in the address
}

void loop()
{
  matrix.setRotation(0);
  matrix.setTextSize(1);
  matrix.setTextWrap(false); // false means nice scroll, true means each character appears, scrolls off, then repeat
  matrix.setTextColor(LED_ON);
  for (int8_t x=0; x>=-96; x--) // 96 is number of characters to display x 8
  {
    matrix.clear();
    matrix.setCursor(x,0);
    matrix.print("Hello, world");
    matrix.writeDisplay();
    delay(100);
  }

  delay(500);
  matrix.setRotation(1);  
  matrix.setTextSize(1);
  matrix.setTextWrap(false); // false means nice scroll, true means each character appears, scrolls off, then repeat
  matrix.setTextColor(LED_ON);
  for (int8_t x=0; x>=-96; x--) // 96 is number of characters to display x 8
  {
    matrix.clear();
    matrix.setCursor(x,0);
    matrix.print("Hello, world");
    matrix.writeDisplay();
    delay(100);
  }  

  delay(500);
  matrix.setRotation(2);  
  matrix.setTextSize(1);
  matrix.setTextWrap(false); // false means nice scroll, true means each character appears, scrolls off, then repeat
  matrix.setTextColor(LED_ON);
  for (int8_t x=0; x>=-96; x--) // 96 is number of characters to display x 8
  {
    matrix.clear();
    matrix.setCursor(x,0);
    matrix.print("Hello, world");
    matrix.writeDisplay();
    delay(100);
  }  

  delay(500);
  matrix.setRotation(3);  
  matrix.setTextSize(1);
  matrix.setTextWrap(false); // false means nice scroll, true means each character appears, scrolls off, then repeat
  matrix.setTextColor(LED_ON);
  for (int8_t x=0; x>=-96; x--) // 96 is number of characters to display x 8
  {
    matrix.clear();
    matrix.setCursor(x,0);
    matrix.print("Hello, world");
    matrix.writeDisplay();
    delay(100);
  }  
}

 

Now for some graphics. You can define your own images (!) and store them in an array. Each arrays consists of eight bytes, each representing a row of the matrix. You can use binary to help visualise the results, for example:

static uint8_t PROGMEM
  crosshatch[] =
  { B10101010,
    B01010101,
    B10101010,
    B01010101,
    B10101010,
    B01010101,
    B10101010,
    B01010101 };

and then to display that on the matrix, use the following:

matrix.clear(); // clear the display
matrix.drawBitmap(0, 0, crosshatch, 8, 8, LED_ON); // setup the image to display
matrix.writeDisplay(); // display the image
delay(1000);

… which resulted with:

crosshatch

To control individual pixels, send one or more of the following:

matrix.drawPixel(x, y, LED_ON);

where x and y are the pixel’s coordinates (that fall between zero and seven), followed by:

matrix.writeDisplay();

Here’s a neat example sketch and video of a single pixel “running around the border”:

// required libraries
#include <Wire.h>
#include "Adafruit_LEDBackpack.h"
#include "Adafruit_GFX.h"

// define matrix object
Adafruit_8x8matrix matrix = Adafruit_8x8matrix();

int z;

void setup() 
{
  // start the matrix at I2C address - default is 0x70
  matrix.begin(0x70);  // pass in the address
}

void loop()
{
  matrix.clear();      // clear display
  for (z=0; z<8; z++)
  {  
    matrix.drawPixel(z, 0, LED_ON);  
    matrix.writeDisplay();  // write the changes we just made to the display
    delay(50);
    matrix.drawPixel(z, 0, LED_OFF);  
    matrix.writeDisplay();  // write the changes we just made to the display     
  }  

  for (z=0; z<8; z++)
  {  
    matrix.drawPixel(7, z, LED_ON);  
    matrix.writeDisplay();  // write the changes we just made to the display
    delay(50);
    matrix.drawPixel(7, z, LED_OFF);  
    matrix.writeDisplay();  // write the changes we just made to the display     
  }  

  for (z=7; z>=0; --z)
  {  
    matrix.drawPixel(z, 7, LED_ON);  
    matrix.writeDisplay();  // write the changes we just made to the display
    delay(50);
    matrix.drawPixel(z, 7, LED_OFF);  
    matrix.writeDisplay();  // write the changes we just made to the display     
  }  

  for (z=7; z>=0; --z)
  {  
    matrix.drawPixel(0, z, LED_ON);  
    matrix.writeDisplay();  // write the changes we just made to the display
    delay(50);
    matrix.drawPixel(0, z, LED_OFF);  
    matrix.writeDisplay();  // write the changes we just made to the display     
  }  
}

By this point you should be getting the hang of things now, so we’ll finish up with the last three graphic functions at once. To draw a line between x1, y1 and x2, y2 – use:

matrix.drawLine(x1 ,y1 , x2, y2, LED_ON);

To draw a rectangle with corners at x1, y2, x2, y2 – use:

matrix.drawRect(x1, y1, x2, y2, LED_ON);

To draw a filled rectangle with corners at x1, y2, x2, y2 – use:

matrix.fillRect(x1, y1, x2, y2, LED_ON);

And to draw a circle with axis at x,y and a radius of r pixels – use:

matrix.drawCircle(x, y, r, LED_ON);

Now we’ll put those functions into the following sketch and video:

// required libraries
#include <Wire.h>
#include "Adafruit_LEDBackpack.h"
#include "Adafruit_GFX.h"

// define matrix object
Adafruit_8x8matrix matrix = Adafruit_8x8matrix();

int y, z;

void setup() 
{
  // start the matrix at I2C address - default is 0x70
  matrix.begin(0x70);  // pass in the address
}

void loop()
{
  // circles
  for (y=0; y<5; y++)
  {
    for (z=0; z<8; z++)
    {
      matrix.clear();
      matrix.drawCircle(3,3, z, LED_ON);
      matrix.writeDisplay();  // write the changes we just made to the display
      delay(100);
    }
  }

  for (y=0; y<=5; y++)
  {
    // rectangles
    matrix.clear();
    matrix.drawRect(0, 0, 4, 4, LED_ON);
    matrix.writeDisplay();  // write the changes we just made to the display
    delay(250);
    matrix.clear();
    matrix.drawRect(4, 0, 4, 4, LED_ON);
    matrix.writeDisplay();  // write the changes we just made to the display
    delay(250);
    matrix.clear();
    matrix.fillRect(4, 4, 7, 7, LED_ON);
    matrix.writeDisplay();  // write the changes we just made to the display
    delay(250);
    matrix.clear();
    matrix.fillRect(0, 4, 4, 7, LED_ON);
    matrix.writeDisplay();  // write the changes we just made to the display
    delay(250);
  }
}

 

If you want to get someone’s attention, you can blink whatever’s on the matrix at various frequencies – and of course turn it off. In the following function, use 0 for off, and 1~3 for different rates:

matrix.blinkRate(x);

Finally, you can also adjust the brightness to one of sixteen levels (0~15) using:

matrix.setBrightness(level); // level: 0~15

That’s enough blinkiness for now. Remember the library is just shielding you from the raw I2C commands, so if you want to create your own functions or use a non-Arduino board – examine the library and the data sheet.

Conclusion

The backpack makes using the matrix an absolute breeze, and the library saves a lot of time and effort – leaving you to get on with creating your ideas into projects. You can get the matrix from adafruit and their distributors.

Full-sized images available on flickr.  And if you made it this far – check out my new book “Arduino Workshop” from No Starch Press.

In the meanwhile have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitterGoogle+, subscribe  for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column? And join our friendly Google Group – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website. Sign up – it’s free, helpful to each other –  and we can all learn something.

[Note - item purchased without notifying the supplier]

The post Review – adafruit industries Mini 8×8 LED Matrix with I2C backpack appeared first on tronixstuff.

Over the last few years I’ve been writing a few Arduino tutorials, and during this time many people have mentioned that I should write a book. And now thanks to the team from No Starch Press this recommendation has morphed into my new book – “Arduino Workshop“:

shot11

Although there are seemingly endless Arduino tutorials and articles on the Internet, Arduino Workshop offers a nicely edited and curated path for the beginner to learn from and have fun. It’s a hands-on introduction to Arduino with 65 projects – from simple LED use right through to RFID, Internet connection, working with cellular communications, and much more.

Each project is explained in detail, explaining how the hardware an Arduino code works together. The reader doesn’t need any expensive tools or workspaces, and all the parts used are available from almost any electronics retailer. Furthermore all of the projects can be finished without soldering, so it’s safe for readers of all ages.

The editing team and myself have worked hard to make the book perfect for those without any electronics or Arduino experience at all, and it makes a great gift for someone to get them started. After working through the 65 projects the reader will have gained enough knowledge and confidence to create many things – and to continue researching on their own. Or if you’ve been enjoying the results of my thousands of hours of work here at tronixstuff, you can show your appreciation by ordering a copy for yourself or as a gift :)

You can review the table of contents, index and download a sample chapter from the Arduino Workshop website.

Arduino Workshop is available from No Starch Press in printed or ebook (PDF, Mobi, and ePub) formats. Ebooks are also included with the printed orders so you can get started immediately.

04/07/2013 – (my fellow) Australians – currently the easiest way of getting a print version is from Little Bird Electronics.

In the meanwhile have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitterGoogle+, subscribe  for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column? And join our friendly Google Group – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website. Sign up – it’s free, helpful to each other –  and we can all learn something.


Over the last few years I’ve been writing a few Arduino tutorials, and during this time many people have mentioned that I should write a book. And now thanks to the team from No Starch Press this recommendation has morphed into my new book – “Arduino Workshop“:

shot11

Although there are seemingly endless Arduino tutorials and articles on the Internet, Arduino Workshop offers a nicely edited and curated path for the beginner to learn from and have fun. It’s a hands-on introduction to Arduino with 65 projects – from simple LED use right through to RFID, Internet connection, working with cellular communications, and much more.

Each project is explained in detail, explaining how the hardware an Arduino code works together. The reader doesn’t need any expensive tools or workspaces, and all the parts used are available from almost any electronics retailer. Furthermore all of the projects can be finished without soldering, so it’s safe for readers of all ages.

The editing team and myself have worked hard to make the book perfect for those without any electronics or Arduino experience at all, and it makes a great gift for someone to get them started. After working through the 65 projects the reader will have gained enough knowledge and confidence to create many things – and to continue researching on their own. Or if you’ve been enjoying the results of my thousands of hours of work here at tronixstuff, you can show your appreciation by ordering a copy for yourself or as a gift :)

You can review the table of contents, index and download a sample chapter from the Arduino Workshop website.

Arduino Workshop is available from No Starch Press in printed or ebook (PDF, Mobi, and ePub) formats. Ebooks are also included with the printed orders so you can get started immediately.

LEDborder

In the meanwhile have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitterGoogle+, subscribe  for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column? And join our friendly Google Group – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website. Sign up – it’s free, helpful to each other –  and we can all learn something.

The post Book – “Arduino Workshop – A Hands-On Introduction with 65 Projects” appeared first on tronixstuff.

This is a tutorial on using the MSGEQ7 Spectrum Analyser with Arduino, and chapter forty-eight of a series originally titled “Getting Started/Moving Forward with Arduino!” by John Boxall – A tutorial on the Arduino universe. The first chapter is here, the complete series is detailed here.

Updated 30/01/2013

In this article we’re going to explain how to make simple spectrum analysers with an Arduino-style board. (Analyser? Analyzer? Take your pick).

First of all, what is a spectrum analyser? Good question. Do you remember what  this is?

It’s a mixed graphic equaliser/spectrum analyser deck for a hi-fi system. The display in the middle is the spectrum analyser, and roughly-speaking it shows the strength of  different frequencies in the music being listened to – and looked pretty awesome doing it. We can recreate displays similar to this for entertainment and also as a base for creative lighting effects. By working through this tutorial you’ll have the base knowledge to recreate these yourself.

We’ll be using the MSGEQ7 “seven band graphic equaliser IC” from Mixed Signal Integration. Here’s the MSGEQ7 data sheet (.pdf).  This little IC can accept a single audio source, analyse seven frequency bands of the audio, and output a DC representation of each frequency band. This isn’t super-accurate or calibrated in any way, but it works. You can get the IC separately, for example:


and then build your own circuit around it… or like most things in the Arduino world – get a shield. In this case, a derivative of the original Bliptronics shield by Sparkfun. It’s designed to pass through stereo audio via 3.5mm audio sockets and contains two MSGEQ7s, so we can do a stereo analyser:

As usual Sparkfun have saved a few cents by not including the stackable header sockets, so you’ll need to buy and solder those in yourself. There is also space for three header pins for direct audio input (left, right and common), which are useful – so if you can add those as well.

So now you have a shield that’s ready for use. Before moving forward let’s examine how the MSGEQ7 works for us. As mentioned earlier, it analyses seven frequency bands. These are illustrated in the following graph from the data sheet:

It will return the strengths of the audio at seven points – 63 Hz, 160 Hz, 400 Hz, 1 kHz, 2.5 kHz, 6.25 kHz and 16 kHz – and as you can see there is some overlap between the bands. The strength is returned as a DC voltage – which we can then simply measure with the Arduino’s analogue input and create a display of some sort. At this point audio purists, Sheldonites and RF people might get a little cranky, so once again – this is more for visual indication than any sort of calibration device.

However as an 8-pin IC a different approach is required to get the different levels. The IC will sequentially give out the levels for each band on pin 3- e.g. 63 Hz then 160 Hz then 400 Hz then 1 kHz then 2.5 kHz then 6.25 kHz  then 16 kHz then back to 63 Hz and so on. To start this sequence we first reset the IC by pulsing the RESET pin HIGH then low. This tells the IC to start at the first band. Next, we set the STROBE pin to LOW, take the DC reading from pin 3 with analogue input, store the value in a variable (an array), then set the STROBE pin HIGH. We repeat the strobe-measure sequence six more times to get the rest of the data, then RESET the IC and start all over again. For the visual learners consider the diagram below from the data sheet:

To demonstrate this process, consider the function

readMSGEQ7()

in the following example sketch (download):

// Example 48.1 - tronixstuff.com/tutorials > chapter 48 - 30 Jan 2013 
// MSGEQ7 spectrum analyser shield - basic demonstration
int strobe = 4; // strobe pins on digital 4
int res = 5; // reset pins on digital 5
int left[7]; // store band values in these arrays
int right[7];
int band;
void setup()
{
 Serial.begin(115200);
 pinMode(res, OUTPUT); // reset
 pinMode(strobe, OUTPUT); // strobe
 digitalWrite(res,LOW); // reset low
 digitalWrite(strobe,HIGH); //pin 5 is RESET on the shield
}
void readMSGEQ7()
// Function to read 7 band equalizers
{
 digitalWrite(res, HIGH);
 digitalWrite(res, LOW);
 for(band=0; band <7; band++)
 {
 digitalWrite(strobe,LOW); // strobe pin on the shield - kicks the IC up to the next band 
 delayMicroseconds(30); // 
 left[band] = analogRead(0); // store left band reading
 right[band] = analogRead(1); // ... and the right
 digitalWrite(strobe,HIGH); 
 }
}
void loop()
{
 readMSGEQ7();
 // display values of left channel on serial monitor
 for (band = 0; band < 7; band++)
 {
 Serial.print(left[band]);
 Serial.print(" ");
 }
 Serial.println();
// display values of right channel on serial monitor
 for (band = 0; band < 7; band++)
 {
 Serial.print(right[band]);
 Serial.print(" ");
 }
 Serial.println();
}

If you follow through the sketch, you can see that it reads both left- and right-channel values from the two MSGEQ7s on the shield, then stores each value in the arrays left[] and right[]. These values are then sent to the serial monitor for display – for example:

If you have a function generator, connect the output to one of the channels and GND – then adjust the frequency and amplitude to see how the values change. The following video clip is a short demonstration of this – we set the generator to 1 kHz and adjust the amplitude of the signal. To make things easier to read we only measure and display the left channel:


Keep an eye on the fourth column of data – this is the analogRead() value returned by the Arduino when reading the 1khz frequency band. You can also see the affect on the other bands around 1 kHz as we increase and decrease the frequency. However that wasn’t really visually appealing – so now we’ll create a small and large graphical version.

First we’ll use an inexpensive LCD, the I2C model from akafugu reviewed previously. To save repeating myself, also review how to create custom LCD characters from here.

With the LCD with have two rows of sixteen characters. The plan is to use the top row for the levels, the left-channel’s on … the left, and the right on the right. Each character will be a little bar graph for the level. The bottom row can be for a label. We don’t have too many pixels to work with, but it’s a compact example:

We have eight rows for each character, and the results from an analogueRead() fall between 0 and 1023. So that’s 1024 possible values spread over eight sections. Thus each row of pixels in each character will represent 128 “units of analogue read” or around 0.63 V if the Arduino is running from true 5 V (remember your AREF notes?). The sketch will again read the values from the MSGEQ7, feed them into two arrays – then display the required character in each band space  on the LCD.

Here’s the resulting sketch (download):

// Example 48.2 - tronixstuff.com/tutorials > chapter 48 - 30 Jan 2013 
// MSGEQ7 spectrum analyser shield and I2C LCD from akafugu
// for akafugu I2C LCD
#include 
#include "TWILiquidCrystal.h"
LiquidCrystal lcd(50);
// create custom characters for LCD
byte level0[8] = { 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b11111};
byte level1[8] = { 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b11111, 0b11111};
byte level2[8] = { 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111};
byte level3[8] = { 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111};
byte level4[8] = { 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111};
byte level5[8] = { 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111};
byte level6[8] = { 0b00000, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111};
byte level7[8] = { 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111};
int strobe = 4; // strobe pins on digital 4
int res = 5; // reset pins on digital 5
int left[7]; // store band values in these arrays
int right[7];
int band;
void setup()
{
 Serial.begin(9600);
 // setup LCD and custom characters
 lcd.begin(16, 2);
 lcd.setContrast(24);
 lcd.clear();
lcd.createChar(0,level0);
 lcd.createChar(1,level1);
 lcd.createChar(2,level2);
 lcd.createChar(3,level3);
 lcd.createChar(4,level4);
 lcd.createChar(5,level5);
 lcd.createChar(6,level6);
 lcd.createChar(7,level7);
 lcd.setCursor(0,1);
 lcd.print("Left");
 lcd.setCursor(11,1);
 lcd.print("Right");
 pinMode(res, OUTPUT); // reset
 pinMode(strobe, OUTPUT); // strobe
 digitalWrite(res,LOW); // reset low
 digitalWrite(strobe,HIGH); //pin 5 is RESET on the shield
}
void readMSGEQ7()
// Function to read 7 band equalizers
{
 digitalWrite(res, HIGH);
 digitalWrite(res, LOW);
 for( band = 0; band < 7; band++ )
 {
 digitalWrite(strobe,LOW); // strobe pin on the shield - kicks the IC up to the next band 
 delayMicroseconds(30); // 
 left[band] = analogRead(0); // store left band reading
 right[band] = analogRead(1); // ... and the right
 digitalWrite(strobe,HIGH); 
 }
}
void loop()
{
 readMSGEQ7();
// display values of left channel on LCD
 for( band = 0; band < 7; band++ )
 {
 lcd.setCursor(band,0);
 if (left[band]>=895) { lcd.write(7); } else
 if (left[band]>=767) { lcd.write(6); } else
 if (left[band]>=639) { lcd.write(5); } else
 if (left[band]>=511) { lcd.write(4); } else
 if (left[band]>=383) { lcd.write(3); } else
 if (left[band]>=255) { lcd.write(2); } else
 if (left[band]>=127) { lcd.write(1); } else
 if (left[band]>=0) { lcd.write(0); }
 }
 // display values of right channel on LCD
 for( band = 0; band < 7; band++ )
 {
 lcd.setCursor(band+9,0);
 if (right[band]>=895) { lcd.write(7); } else
 if (right[band]>=767) { lcd.write(6); } else
 if (right[band]>=639) { lcd.write(5); } else
 if (right[band]>=511) { lcd.write(4); } else
 if (right[band]>=383) { lcd.write(3); } else
 if (right[band]>=255) { lcd.write(2); } else
 if (right[band]>=127) { lcd.write(1); } else
 if (right[band]>=0) { lcd.write(0); }
 }
}

If you’ve been reading through my tutorials there isn’t anything new to worry about. And now for the demo, with sound -

That would look great on the side of a Walkman, however it’s a bit small. Let’s scale it up by using a Freetronics Dot Matrix Display - you may recall these from Clock One. For some background knowledge check the review here.  Don’t forget to use a suitable power supply for the DMD – 5 V at 4 A will do nicely. The DMD contains 16 rows of 32 LEDs. This gives us twice the “resolution” to display each band level if desired. The display style is subjective, so for this example we’ll use a single column of LEDs for each frequency band, with a blank column between each one.

We use a lot of line-drawing statements to display the levels, and clear the DMD after each display. With this and the previous sketches, there could be room for efficiency – however I write these with the beginner in mind. Here’s the sketch (download):

// Example 48.3 - tronixstuff.com/tutorials > chapter 48 - 30 Jan 2013 
// MSGEQ7 spectrum analyser shield with a Freetronics DMD
// for DMD
#include  // for DMD
#include  // SPI.h must be included as DMD is written by SPI (the IDE complains otherwise)
#include  
#include "SystemFont5x7.h" // keep next two lines if you want to add some text
#include "Arial_black_16.h"
DMD dmd(1, 1); // creates instance of DMD to refer to in sketch
void ScanDMD() // necessary interrupt handler for refresh scanning of DMD
{ 
 dmd.scanDisplayBySPI();
}
int strobe = 4; // strobe pins on digital 4
int res = 5; // reset pins on digital 5
int left[7]; // store band values in these arrays
int right[7];
int band;
void setup()
{
 // for DMD
 //initialize TimerOne's interrupt/CPU usage used to scan and refresh the display
 Timer1.initialize( 5000 ); //period in microseconds to call ScanDMD. Anything longer than 5000 (5ms) and you can see flicker.
 Timer1.attachInterrupt( ScanDMD ); //attach the Timer1 interrupt to ScanDMD which goes to dmd.scanDisplayBySPI() 
 dmd.clearScreen( true ); //true is normal (all pixels off), false is negative (all pixels on)

 // for MSGEQ7
 pinMode(res, OUTPUT); // reset
 pinMode(strobe, OUTPUT); // strobe
 digitalWrite(res,LOW); // reset low
 digitalWrite(strobe,HIGH); //pin 5 is RESET on the shield
}
void readMSGEQ7()
// Function to read 7 band equalizers
{
 digitalWrite(res, HIGH);
 digitalWrite(res, LOW);
 for( band = 0; band < 7; band++ )
 {
 digitalWrite(strobe,LOW); // strobe pin on the shield - kicks the IC up to the next band 
 delayMicroseconds(30); // 
 left[band] = analogRead(0); // store left band reading
 right[band] = analogRead(1); // ... and the right
 digitalWrite(strobe,HIGH); 
 }
}
void loop()
{
 int xpos;
 readMSGEQ7();
 dmd.clearScreen( true ); 
 // display values of left channel on DMD
 for( band = 0; band < 7; band++ )
 {
 xpos = (band*2)+1;
 if (left[band]>=895) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 1, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=767) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 3, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=639) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 5, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=511) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 7, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=383) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 9, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=255) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 11, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=127) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 13, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=0) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 15, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); }
 }

 // display values of right channel on DMD
 for( band = 0; band < 7; band++ )
 {
 xpos = (band*2)+18;
 if (right[band]>=895) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 1, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=767) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 3, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=639) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 5, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=511) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 7, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=383) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 9, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=255) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 11, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=127) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 13, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=0) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 15, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); }
 }
}

… and here it is in action:

Conclusion

At this point you have the knowledge to use the MSGEQ7 ICs to create some interesting spectrum analysers for entertainment and visual appeal – now you just choose the type of display enjoy the results.

Have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitterGoogle+, subscribe  for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column, or join our Google Group – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website. Sign up – it’s free, helpful to each other –  and we can all learn something.


This is a tutorial on using the MSGEQ7 Spectrum Analyser with Arduino, and chapter forty-eight of a series originally titled “Getting Started/Moving Forward with Arduino!” by John Boxall – A tutorial on the Arduino universe. The first chapter is here, the complete series is detailed here.

Updated 30/01/2013

In this article we’re going to explain how to make simple spectrum analysers with an Arduino-style board. (Analyser? Analyzer? Take your pick).

First of all, what is a spectrum analyser? Good question. Do you remember what  this is?

It’s a mixed graphic equaliser/spectrum analyser deck for a hi-fi system. The display in the middle is the spectrum analyser, and roughly-speaking it shows the strength of  different frequencies in the music being listened to – and looked pretty awesome doing it. We can recreate displays similar to this for entertainment and also as a base for creative lighting effects. By working through this tutorial you’ll have the base knowledge to recreate these yourself.

We’ll be using the MSGEQ7 “seven band graphic equaliser IC” from Mixed Signal Integration. Here’s the MSGEQ7 data sheet (.pdf).  This little IC can accept a single audio source, analyse seven frequency bands of the audio, and output a DC representation of each frequency band. This isn’t super-accurate or calibrated in any way, but it works. You can get the IC separately, for example:


and then build your own circuit around it… or like most things in the Arduino world – get a shield. In this case, a derivative of the original Bliptronics shield by Sparkfun. It’s designed to pass through stereo audio via 3.5mm audio sockets and contains two MSGEQ7s, so we can do a stereo analyser:

As usual Sparkfun have saved a few cents by not including the stackable header sockets, so you’ll need to buy and solder those in yourself. There is also space for three header pins for direct audio input (left, right and common), which are useful – so if you can add those as well.

So now you have a shield that’s ready for use. Before moving forward let’s examine how the MSGEQ7 works for us. As mentioned earlier, it analyses seven frequency bands. These are illustrated in the following graph from the data sheet:

freqresponse

It will return the strengths of the audio at seven points – 63 Hz, 160 Hz, 400 Hz, 1 kHz, 2.5 kHz, 6.25 kHz and 16 kHz – and as you can see there is some overlap between the bands. The strength is returned as a DC voltage – which we can then simply measure with the Arduino’s analogue input and create a display of some sort. At this point audio purists, Sheldonites and RF people might get a little cranky, so once again – this is more for visual indication than any sort of calibration device.

However as an 8-pin IC a different approach is required to get the different levels. The IC will sequentially give out the levels for each band on pin 3- e.g. 63 Hz then 160 Hz then 400 Hz then 1 kHz then 2.5 kHz then 6.25 kHz  then 16 kHz then back to 63 Hz and so on. To start this sequence we first reset the IC by pulsing the RESET pin HIGH then low. This tells the IC to start at the first band. Next, we set the STROBE pin to LOW, take the DC reading from pin 3 with analogue input, store the value in a variable (an array), then set the STROBE pin HIGH. We repeat the strobe-measure sequence six more times to get the rest of the data, then RESET the IC and start all over again. For the visual learners consider the diagram below from the data sheet:

strobing1

To demonstrate this process, consider the function

readMSGEQ7()

in the following example sketch:

// Example 48.1 - tronixstuff.com/tutorials > chapter 48 - 30 Jan 2013 
// MSGEQ7 spectrum analyser shield - basic demonstration
int strobe = 4; // strobe pins on digital 4
int res = 5; // reset pins on digital 5
int left[7]; // store band values in these arrays
int right[7];
int band;
void setup()
{
 Serial.begin(115200);
 pinMode(res, OUTPUT); // reset
 pinMode(strobe, OUTPUT); // strobe
 digitalWrite(res,LOW); // reset low
 digitalWrite(strobe,HIGH); //pin 5 is RESET on the shield
}
void readMSGEQ7()
// Function to read 7 band equalizers
{
 digitalWrite(res, HIGH);
 digitalWrite(res, LOW);
 for(band=0; band <7; band++)
 {
 digitalWrite(strobe,LOW); // strobe pin on the shield - kicks the IC up to the next band 
 delayMicroseconds(30); // 
 left[band] = analogRead(0); // store left band reading
 right[band] = analogRead(1); // ... and the right
 digitalWrite(strobe,HIGH); 
 }
}
void loop()
{
 readMSGEQ7();
 // display values of left channel on serial monitor
 for (band = 0; band < 7; band++)
 {
 Serial.print(left[band]);
 Serial.print(" ");
 }
 Serial.println();
// display values of right channel on serial monitor
 for (band = 0; band < 7; band++)
 {
 Serial.print(right[band]);
 Serial.print(" ");
 }
 Serial.println();
}

If you follow through the sketch, you can see that it reads both left- and right-channel values from the two MSGEQ7s on the shield, then stores each value in the arrays left[] and right[]. These values are then sent to the serial monitor for display – for example:

If you have a function generator, connect the output to one of the channels and GND – then adjust the frequency and amplitude to see how the values change. The following video clip is a short demonstration of this – we set the generator to 1 kHz and adjust the amplitude of the signal. To make things easier to read we only measure and display the left channel:


Keep an eye on the fourth column of data – this is the analogRead() value returned by the Arduino when reading the 1khz frequency band. You can also see the affect on the other bands around 1 kHz as we increase and decrease the frequency. However that wasn’t really visually appealing – so now we’ll create a small and large graphical version.

First we’ll use an inexpensive LCD, the I2C model from akafugu reviewed previously. To save repeating myself, also review how to create custom LCD characters from here.

With the LCD with have two rows of sixteen characters. The plan is to use the top row for the levels, the left-channel’s on … the left, and the right on the right. Each character will be a little bar graph for the level. The bottom row can be for a label. We don’t have too many pixels to work with, but it’s a compact example:

lcdfullon

We have eight rows for each character, and the results from an analogueRead() fall between 0 and 1023. So that’s 1024 possible values spread over eight sections. Thus each row of pixels in each character will represent 128 “units of analogue read” or around 0.63 V if the Arduino is running from true 5 V (remember your AREF notes?). The sketch will again read the values from the MSGEQ7, feed them into two arrays – then display the required character in each band space  on the LCD.

Here’s the resulting sketch:

// Example 48.2 - tronixstuff.com/tutorials > chapter 48 - 30 Jan 2013 
// MSGEQ7 spectrum analyser shield and I2C LCD from akafugu
// for akafugu I2C LCD
#include "Wire.h"
#include "TWILiquidCrystal.h"
LiquidCrystal lcd(50);
// create custom characters for LCD
byte level0[8] = { 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b11111};
byte level1[8] = { 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b11111, 0b11111};
byte level2[8] = { 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111};
byte level3[8] = { 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111};
byte level4[8] = { 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111};
byte level5[8] = { 0b00000, 0b00000, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111};
byte level6[8] = { 0b00000, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111};
byte level7[8] = { 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111, 0b11111};
int strobe = 4; // strobe pins on digital 4
int res = 5; // reset pins on digital 5
int left[7]; // store band values in these arrays
int right[7];
int band;
void setup()
{
 Serial.begin(9600);
 // setup LCD and custom characters
 lcd.begin(16, 2);
 lcd.setContrast(24);
 lcd.clear();
lcd.createChar(0,level0);
 lcd.createChar(1,level1);
 lcd.createChar(2,level2);
 lcd.createChar(3,level3);
 lcd.createChar(4,level4);
 lcd.createChar(5,level5);
 lcd.createChar(6,level6);
 lcd.createChar(7,level7);
 lcd.setCursor(0,1);
 lcd.print("Left");
 lcd.setCursor(11,1);
 lcd.print("Right");
 pinMode(res, OUTPUT); // reset
 pinMode(strobe, OUTPUT); // strobe
 digitalWrite(res,LOW); // reset low
 digitalWrite(strobe,HIGH); //pin 5 is RESET on the shield
}
void readMSGEQ7()
// Function to read 7 band equalizers
{
 digitalWrite(res, HIGH);
 digitalWrite(res, LOW);
 for( band = 0; band < 7; band++ )
 {
 digitalWrite(strobe,LOW); // strobe pin on the shield - kicks the IC up to the next band 
 delayMicroseconds(30); // 
 left[band] = analogRead(0); // store left band reading
 right[band] = analogRead(1); // ... and the right
 digitalWrite(strobe,HIGH); 
 }
}
void loop()
{
 readMSGEQ7();
// display values of left channel on LCD
 for( band = 0; band < 7; band++ )
 {
 lcd.setCursor(band,0);
 if (left[band]>=895) { lcd.write(7); } else
 if (left[band]>=767) { lcd.write(6); } else
 if (left[band]>=639) { lcd.write(5); } else
 if (left[band]>=511) { lcd.write(4); } else
 if (left[band]>=383) { lcd.write(3); } else
 if (left[band]>=255) { lcd.write(2); } else
 if (left[band]>=127) { lcd.write(1); } else
 if (left[band]>=0) { lcd.write(0); }
 }
 // display values of right channel on LCD
 for( band = 0; band < 7; band++ )
 {
 lcd.setCursor(band+9,0);
 if (right[band]>=895) { lcd.write(7); } else
 if (right[band]>=767) { lcd.write(6); } else
 if (right[band]>=639) { lcd.write(5); } else
 if (right[band]>=511) { lcd.write(4); } else
 if (right[band]>=383) { lcd.write(3); } else
 if (right[band]>=255) { lcd.write(2); } else
 if (right[band]>=127) { lcd.write(1); } else
 if (right[band]>=0) { lcd.write(0); }
 }
}

If you’ve been reading through my tutorials there isn’t anything new to worry about. And now for the demo, with sound -

That would look great on the side of a Walkman, however it’s a bit small. Let’s scale it up by using a Freetronics Dot Matrix Display - you may recall these from Clock One. For some background knowledge check the review here.  Don’t forget to use a suitable power supply for the DMD – 5 V at 4 A will do nicely. The DMD contains 16 rows of 32 LEDs. This gives us twice the “resolution” to display each band level if desired. The display style is subjective, so for this example we’ll use a single column of LEDs for each frequency band, with a blank column between each one.

We use a lot of line-drawing statements to display the levels, and clear the DMD after each display. With this and the previous sketches, there could be room for efficiency – however I write these with the beginner in mind. Here’s the sketch:

// Example 48.3 - tronixstuff.com/tutorials > chapter 48 - 30 Jan 2013 
// MSGEQ7 spectrum analyser shield with a Freetronics DMD
// for DMD
#include "DMD.h" // for DMD
#include "SPI.h" // SPI.h must be included as DMD is written by SPI (the IDE complains otherwise)
#include "TimerOne.h"
#include "SystemFont5x7.h" // keep next two lines if you want to add some text
#include "Arial_black_16.h"
DMD dmd(1, 1); // creates instance of DMD to refer to in sketch
void ScanDMD() // necessary interrupt handler for refresh scanning of DMD
{ 
 dmd.scanDisplayBySPI();
}
int strobe = 4; // strobe pins on digital 4
int res = 5; // reset pins on digital 5
int left[7]; // store band values in these arrays
int right[7];
int band;
void setup()
{
 // for DMD
 //initialize TimerOne's interrupt/CPU usage used to scan and refresh the display
 Timer1.initialize( 5000 ); //period in microseconds to call ScanDMD. Anything longer than 5000 (5ms) and you can see flicker.
 Timer1.attachInterrupt( ScanDMD ); //attach the Timer1 interrupt to ScanDMD which goes to dmd.scanDisplayBySPI() 
 dmd.clearScreen( true ); //true is normal (all pixels off), false is negative (all pixels on)

 // for MSGEQ7
 pinMode(res, OUTPUT); // reset
 pinMode(strobe, OUTPUT); // strobe
 digitalWrite(res,LOW); // reset low
 digitalWrite(strobe,HIGH); //pin 5 is RESET on the shield
}
void readMSGEQ7()
// Function to read 7 band equalizers
{
 digitalWrite(res, HIGH);
 digitalWrite(res, LOW);
 for( band = 0; band < 7; band++ )
 {
 digitalWrite(strobe,LOW); // strobe pin on the shield - kicks the IC up to the next band 
 delayMicroseconds(30); // 
 left[band] = analogRead(0); // store left band reading
 right[band] = analogRead(1); // ... and the right
 digitalWrite(strobe,HIGH); 
 }
}
void loop()
{
 int xpos;
 readMSGEQ7();
 dmd.clearScreen( true ); 
 // display values of left channel on DMD
 for( band = 0; band < 7; band++ )
 {
 xpos = (band*2)+1;
 if (left[band]>=895) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 1, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=767) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 3, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=639) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 5, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=511) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 7, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=383) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 9, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=255) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 11, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=127) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 13, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (left[band]>=0) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 15, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); }
 }

 // display values of right channel on DMD
 for( band = 0; band < 7; band++ )
 {
 xpos = (band*2)+18;
 if (right[band]>=895) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 1, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=767) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 3, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=639) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 5, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=511) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 7, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=383) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 9, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=255) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 11, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=127) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 13, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); } else
 if (right[band]>=0) { dmd.drawLine( xpos, 15, xpos, 15, GRAPHICS_NORMAL ); }
 }
}

… and here it is in action:

Conclusion

At this point you have the knowledge to use the MSGEQ7 ICs to create some interesting spectrum analysers for entertainment and visual appeal – now you just choose the type of display enjoy the results.

LEDborder

Have fun and keep checking into tronixstuff.com. Why not follow things on twitterGoogle+, subscribe  for email updates or RSS using the links on the right-hand column, or join our Google Group – dedicated to the projects and related items on this website. Sign up – it’s free, helpful to each other –  and we can all learn something.

The post Tutorial: Arduino and the MSGEQ7 Spectrum Analyzer appeared first on tronixstuff.



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