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Adding DAC to Arduino or any other microcontroller

2015-03-03 21:03  
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Most of 8-bit microcontrollers lack of integrated DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) functionality. This is handy when you need to generate analog signals out of digital information. Adding DAC to any existing microcontroller is a piece of cake. But before you start why not to look at various options available. Embedded newbie provides a review of Arduino DAC solutions. Starting with R-2R ladder solution list goes through various ways of converting digital to analog.

Arduino PWM DAC

Depending on your needs and speed required there can be a PWM DAC converter that is nothing more than digital signal passed through low pas filter. This is how motor control works. Its fairly slow,but serial that gives advantage when small pin count microcontrollers are used. In other hand is signal speed is an issue then parallel DAC – same R-2R ladder probably with output buffer circuit. And lastly there is always an option to use specialized DAC chips that can be interfaced through one of available interfaces like SPI. These save space and and MCU pin and still provide high resolution and speed.

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