Started by October 21, 2008
```I don't know very well how adc works, so i have a question. Most adc
have a Vref pin that defines Vin range of adc. Vin range of adc is
then divider for 2^n (n=resolution) to obtain LSB. If i resize Vref,
new Vin range (smaller) is divided for 2^n, so LSB has smaller
value.If i have a sensor, why i shoud use amplifier to drive Vin pin
of adc?can i resize Vref as i like (or there is a limit)?
```
```On Mon, 20 Oct 2008 23:14:28 -0700, idkfaidkfaidkfa wrote:

> I don't know very well how adc works, so i have a question. Most adc
> have a Vref pin that defines Vin range of adc. Vin range of adc is then
> divider for 2^n (n=resolution) to obtain LSB. If i resize Vref, new Vin
> range (smaller) is divided for 2^n, so LSB has smaller value.If i have a
> sensor, why i shoud use amplifier to drive Vin pin of adc?can i resize
> Vref as i like (or there is a limit)?

An ADC contains one or more comparators, whose accuracy determines a good
part of the overall accuracy of the device.

So you can expect that a 5V, 10-bit ADC will have an absolute accuracy of
around 5mV (maybe 1 or 2mV, but probably not much better).

When you reduce Vref you increase the number of counts that the ADC
measures, but you keep that basic absolute accuracy, so you don't gain
much (if any) precision.

Putting an amplifier ahead of the ADC to make the sensor range match the
ADC range keeps the ADC as accurate as possible, and makes the best use
of it.

--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
http://www.wescottdesign.com

Do you need to implement control loops in software?
"Applied Control Theory for Embedded Systems" gives you just what it says.
See details at http://www.wescottdesign.com/actfes/actfes.html
```
```<idkfaidkfaidkfa@gmail.com> wrote in message
>I don't know very well how adc works, so i have a question. Most adc
> have a Vref pin that defines Vin range of adc. Vin range of adc is
> then divider for 2^n (n=resolution) to obtain LSB. If i resize Vref,
> new Vin range (smaller) is divided for 2^n, so LSB has smaller
> value.If i have a sensor, why i shoud use amplifier to drive Vin pin
> of adc?can i resize Vref as i like (or there is a limit)?

The larger the voltage the lower the noise floor(relative).

A simple extreme case to show how it works: Suppose you scale the signal
with the amplifier to 1/10000mV and set the adc. Do you think it would work?
You think it would be accurate?  Surely there is a minimum voltage that the

The same idea exists in communication lines. Suppose you just send your
signal along the line with X volts peak. Any noise on the line will distort
the signal making it impossible(or at least difficult) to distinguish what
is noise and what is the signal. I.e., if the noise floor is Y volts then
when the signal is below Y volts it is impossible to tell the signal from
noise.

But if we first scale up the signal before transmission then we decrease the
effects of the noise on the signal.

Mathematically we might have somethign like s(t) = A*f(t) + e(t)

where e(t) is the noise, A is an amplification factor, and f(t) is the
signal pre transmission.

s(t) is the transmitted signal but before de-amplication,

After we de-amplify on the other side we have

B*s(t) = B*A*f(t) + B*e(t)

in general B = 1/A so the final signal is

f(t) + e(t)/A

So the point being that if we first amplify the signal then transmitt and
then deamplify we end up lowering the noise floor by that amplification
factor.

It's a similar idea with the ADC. The pre-amp increases the signal so any
"noise" by the op amp is reduced. Since we don't have to de-amplify because
it is digital after that and we can just scale it mathematically without any
loss.

Note that in reality it's not quite analogous because noise is usually
"external" in communications lines while for ADC's it is a propery of the
design and non-ideal components used.

The main point is that by "scaling" the signal first you reduce the effects
of any "noise" or errors because they are not scaled. In some sense the ADC
has an easier time to distinguish the signal over the noise because you've

A very simple analogy is a magnifying glass. In some sense your eyes when
reading a ruler is like an ADC. If the notches are too close then any
"error"(blur, say) can easily throw off the results. But if you first
magnify then read it is much easier because the "error" doesn't scale.
(although this is not to say that the magnifying glass doesn't introduce
it's own error)

```
```On Tuesday, October 21, 2008 2:14:28 AM UTC-4, idkfaid...@gmail.com wrote:
> I don't know very well how adc works, so i have a question. Most adc
> have a Vref pin that defines Vin range of adc. Vin range of adc is
> then divider for 2^n (n=resolution) to obtain LSB. If i resize Vref,
> new Vin range (smaller) is divided for 2^n, so LSB has smaller
> value.If i have a sensor, why i shoud use amplifier to drive Vin pin
> of adc?can i resize Vref as i like (or there is a limit)?

You can use Vref to scale the overall resolution into less range.

Instead of say having 1000 5mv steps, hook Vref to 3.3 volts and you now have
1000 3.3mv steps - up to 3.3 Volts.
```
```On another aspect of this same subject, I have a resistive sensor that I can get to put out 3 to 4 volts of range.  What type of signal conditioner or amplifier
will allow me to change the 3-4 volts into say 0-3.3 volts?
```
```On Wednesday, January 8, 2014 7:13:18 AM UTC-8, ples...@gmail.com wrote:
> On another aspect of this same subject, I have a resistive sensor that I can get to put out 3 to 4 volts of range.  What type of signal conditioner or amplifier
>
> will allow me to change the 3-4 volts into say 0-3.3 volts?

The best answer, is a Wheatstone bridge.  That's because you presumably
have to excite the resistive sensor, and if your ADC uses the second
leg of a bridge for its reference voltage, the pure resistor ratio is what
gets measured (independent, or nearly independent, of the available
exciting voltage source noise and drift).
```