Picture of Arduino Basics: RCtime
RCtime is a function for the Arduino that finds its roots in Basic-based micro controller programming languages (such as the Basic Stamp). This function basically counts the amount of time it takes to charge a capacitor through a resistor and returns a digital value. In some sense, it is a simple hack for analog to digital conversion. The general purpose of such a circuit would be to read analog sensors when all of the analog pins on the board are occupied or, more commonly, when you need a higher resolution than the puny A/D pins on the Arduino currently have to offer. Although, keep in mind that unlike the built in analog pins, the response of RCtime is not linear.

Aside from reading analog sensors, you can do a number of other swell things like monitor voltage, current and capacitance. I'm not going to go over them here, but you can read more about them on this page.

Step 1: Go get stuff

Picture of Go get stuff
To do this you will need:

An Arduino
A breadboard
A resistor (220 ohm to 1K)
A capacitor (0.1uF)*
A potentiometer (or any other resistive sensor)
Wire and whatnot

*note that changing the capacitor will change the resolution of the circuit. To increase the resolution, you simply need to increase the size of the capacitor. Try using a 1uF electrolytic capacitor and compare the difference (remember that is is polarized and the + side should connect to the power source).

The resolution can also be changed, but less significantly, by changing the resistor value. Just make sure to keep it in the range of 220 ohm to 1K.
awesome randy, I think this is going to help me a bunch. thanks.
kenyer3 years ago
Hi Randofo,

How do I get my sketch in a nice comment-box like you did?
My pages always become a mile long when I add code and this looks so much nicer.

Gernerakos4 years ago
Exactly what kind of arduino do we need? Beacuse i have to buy a new one. The old one is broken:(
jakebaldwin4 years ago
Seems like somebody took frenzy's look, eh Randy?

randofo (author)  jakebaldwin4 years ago
He made me the picture. That guy is a professional.
Oh, I see... Yeah, he seems like he's good at what he does, taking awesome pictures and all.
trabeccas4 years ago
Nice look!
frenzy4 years ago
imrobot4 years ago
you know what is awesome? you remind me of Kingpin (AKA Joe Grand) with the glasses and the sweatshirt for some reason.  
waht dose this do
Can not wait to try that with a pc, just have to rewrite the code.
angelabchua4 years ago
I will give you 5 stars if you wear those glasses to work everyday.
randofo (author)  angelabchua4 years ago