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  • Voltage Divider
  • Voltage Divider with Arduino
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    Content by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson
    E-Textile Tailor Shop by KOBAKANT
    The following institutions have funded our research and supported our work:

    Since 2020, Hannah is guest professor of the Spiel&&Objekt Master's program at the University of Performing Arts Ernst Busch in Berlin

    From 2013-2015 Mika was a guest professor at the eLab at Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee

    From July - December 2013 Hannah was a researcher at the UdK's Design Research Lab

    From 2010-2012 Mika was a guest researcher in the Smart Textiles Design Lab at The Swedish School of Textiles

    From 2009 - 2011 Hannah was a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab's High-Low Tech research group led by Leah Buechley

    In 2009 Hannah and Mika were both research fellows at the Distance Lab

    Between 2003 - 2009 Hannah and Mika were both students at Interface Cultures
    We support the Open Source Hardware movement. All our own designs published on this website are released under the Free Cultural Works definition
    Circuits and Code

    Voltage Divider

    So much of a theory, let’s try this to see if it really works. Here is an experiment with two resister with a multumeter.
    The first experiment shows two same size resister (10kohm) dividing the provided voltage (5V) in half. The multimeter is set as V– for reading direct current voltage. The probes are connected to 0V (GND) of the power supply and the middle point where two resisters meet. You can see 2.44 in the multilmeter’s display. (almost 2.5V.. maybe the resister had some range) It divides the 5V in 50/50 ratio.

    In the second experiment, I changed one of the resister to 47kohm. So now the ratio of two resisters are 10/47. So, I should read 5V x 10/(10+47) = 0.877 V in theory. As you can see in multimeter, it is 0.85V it measures. Not bad!

    Now, if you change one of the resister to our resistive textile sensor, it works the same. The felt sensor I tested here has about 8kohm – 100kohm resistance range. You can see how the voltage that gets divided in the middle changes as I manipulate the felt. Now, if you connect the point where multimeter is reading to the Arduino Analog input, we can read how much voltage comes in.

    Here is a diagram of how the resistive sensor can be connected with Arduino.

    The diagram shows the resister on the GND (0V) side switched with the resistive sensor. You can also connect as the supply voltage (5V) side resister as sensor and keep the GND side resister as fixed resister.

    voltage divider

    Internal Pull Up resister for Analog inputs
    In Arduino, it is possible to set “internal pull-up resisters” from the code. The internal pull-up resister size is 20k ohm. When this is set, it is the same as having your selected Analog pin connected to 20k ohm resister that connects to 5V (supply voltage). It is only possible to set as “pull-up” (connected to 5V) and not “pull-down” (connected to ground).
    To set these you’ll need to include the following line of code in the setup function of your Arduino sketch. (the example below is for A0 pin)

    pinMode(A0, INPUT_PULLUP);

    Here is a very good and detailed explanation of Voltage Divider

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