8-way temperature sensor

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Fig.1: innards. Not very impressive: a MCU and a RS232 transceiver, and that's basically it.
Fig.2: reading data using PC. Box spits out a line of values each second or so, one value for each sensor, with indications of data- or parity-error, or missing sensor.


For work I built a small temperature-sensor box, with 8 TSIC506 sensors - very accurate (about +/-0.1 degC) and digital.

Although this thing was used (once), it's not very useful for higher temperatures, since sensors have max readout at 60 degC. Then again, sensors were my own, and I just plopped them in there because they were collecting dust here.


The sensor has 3 pins: gnd, Vcc and data. When powered on, it starts spitting out 11-bit values every second or so. For each data-byte, a 10-bit frame is used: a start-bit, used to indicate start-of-byte, and to allow the receiver to measure 1/2 of the bittime, which is used to sample subsequent bits. After 8 bits of data comes a parity-bit. Everything is nicely explained in datasheets I am currently too lazy to dig up.

All sensors share a Vcc, directly supplied one of the MCU's I/O pins, while each sensor has a dedicated MCU I/O-pin for data.


The software is too simple to discuss; main loop is as follows:

  1. sleep
  2. power-on all sensors (shared Vcc)
  3. read value from sensor #1 (ignore the rest)
  4. validate and format value, and send to host through UART
  5. power off all sensors
  6. power on all sensors
  7. read value from sensor #2
  8. validate and format value, and send to host
  9. power off all sensors
  10. ...
  11. redo from start

User can read each sensor's temperature using a terminal-emulator or script; basic error-checking is done so that parity-/communication-errors and 'missing sensor' issues are indicated as well. That's all!

Have fun -- Michai