Picture of DIY Amp / Watt Hour Volt Meter - Arduino
acs715 output.PNG

Major corrections and additions made 9/9/2014

For my off-grid Ham Radio and Solar projects, I needed a way to measure volts, amps, watts, amp hours and watt hours. There's a couple of commercial products that can do this, but not with the flexibility I wanted. I designed a Arduino micro-controller based solution that is very extensible. Right now it monitors the above values of attached gear, and I'm thinking about adding web monitoring and a sd card for data collection. Well, let's get started.

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Step 1: Voltage Divider

Picture of Voltage Divider

UPDATE 9/9/2014 !

The Arduino can accept up to 5v on a analog input. Our voltage can range as high as 20vdc in certain situations (open circuit pv voltage), so we designed a voltage divider that would provide 5v at 20v battery voltage, and less at various lower voltages. See for more information on Voltage Dividers.

First we visit our friendly Voltage Divider Calculator. I input 20v as the input, 5v as the output, and 3k for R2 (experiment with <10k resistors till you get a likely pair). This calculates a R1 of 9K. Try to keep the values as close to, but under 10k Ohms as possible.

R1 = 9k Ohms

R2 = 3k Ohms

Vout = (R1 / (R1 + R2)) * Vin

Vout = (9000 / (9000 + 3000)) * 20v

Vout = (9000 / 12000) * 20v

Vout = .75 * 20v

Vout = 5v

Ratio = Vin / Vout

Ratio = 4

Because the Arduino has a 10-bit ADC, it outputs 0-1023 (1024 steps) for a 0-5v input. That's 0.00488v / step.

With a Voltage Divider with R1 = 9k Ohm and R2 = 3k Ohm, A 12v battery would calculate as follows:

12v / Ratio = 3v on the A4 pin.

3v / .00488 = 615 (ADC Reading - round up)

so A4 pin Voltage = .00488 * ADC reading (615 in this case), or 3.00 volts.

Then battery voltage = A4 pin voltage * Ratio (3 * 4 = 12)

The code to read that value is as follows:

ADCVal = analogRead(batMonPin); // read the voltage on the divider on pin A4
pinVoltage = ADCVal * 0.00488; // Calculate the voltage on the A/D pin
// A reading of 1 for the A/D = 0.00488mV
// if we multiply the A/D reading by 0.00488 then
// we get the voltage on the pin.

batteryVoltage = pinVoltage * Ratio; // Use the Ratio calculated for the voltage divider
// to calculate the battery voltage, Ratio = Vin / Vout

More details at


Improved voltage reading circuit and sketch at AC Volt Meter (works with DC as well). Rock solid voltage measurement, and very accurate.

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tgvoss10 days ago

I am thinking of using these 10k potentiometers instead of the thin film resistors as referenced in your blog post link. Does this seem correct?

I am using a 100w solar panel that has an open circuit voltage of 22.4V.

20V to 5V using voltage dividers? OUCH.

You are going to have to deal with serious heat issues! And not to mention high watt resistors. Why not go for a 7805 voltage regulator?

How would a schematic look if I were to use the voltage regulator instead.

kapusiaron21 days ago


If I want to use this Amp Hour meter for high current (10-15 A) and 10V, what must I change?

Thanks for the answer!

AlfredY1 month ago

I'm trying to understand before I go buy this for my wind turbine project. Also, is the Uno good for this project?

In the calculation of current, I am a little confused. I need to put this in my paper so I need to fully understand it.

Does the sensor rest at 100 sensor value at 0V=0A? And where does the 1A = 133mV come from? Is it from the datasheet?

Can you please see what I'm wrong in the below?

5000mv = 30000mA, ratio is 1:6

ACS715OutputVoltage = (SensorValue - 100)* 5000/1024

Current = ACS715Voltage * 6

TimSwift1 month ago

Hi i made a similar meter to monitor a battery but its not giving a liner output. The resisters on my devider are much larger then yours could that be the problem!

Hi sspence.

Great project and it helps me a lot. Thank you. I just wanna ask about LCD display. are u using LCD serial or Parallel.

sspence (author)  Noor ShahirahS2 months ago
This one was parallel, I use I2C LCD's now to save pin counts.

Thank you!

BelialD2 months ago

Do you think this may work accurately (+-1%) in the range of 0-20mA and from 1-35V? I want to count the total mA used in an electrolysis process.

sspence (author)  BelialD2 months ago
with a different sensor, and a smaller aref, sure.
Nithin Prabhu3 months ago

The whole thing is quite genius i must say , but in the calculation 0.75*20 =5 ?! , you arrived at that because its not "Vout = (R1 / (R1 + R2)) * Vin " that's completely wrong! Its quit the opposite. "Vout = (R2 / (R1 + R2)) * Vin". so its 0.25*20=5. The links you provided are awesome ! Your blog is too good! Kudos !

Un4Seen3 months ago

Very nicely done tutorial! I'm happy I have found it.

I do have one question, though. You recommend not to use resistors with values over 10K in the voltage divider. What is the reason for this? Theoretically it would be good to use higher values for the resistors, so that the internal power consumption of the voltage divider is as low as possible. With photovoltaic panels it's a shame to waste even a milliwatt. Thank you!

sspence (author)  Un4Seen3 months ago
It has to do with the impedance of the ADC on the Arduino. The lower the resistor value, the more accurate the tracking. Have to find a happy medium.
Un4Seen sspence3 months ago

Thank you! Any idea what kind of accuracy loss we are talking about with 10K, what about with 100K? Thanks!

sspence (author)  Un4Seen3 months ago

I don't know, I'm just going with atmel recommendations.

Un4Seen sspence3 months ago

Allright, thank you again very much for the excelent tutotrial and for your quick answers!

Tvixen3 months ago

Hi Spence

What use is the sample counter for (in the loop), and what happens after 9,10 hurs ? .. As the sample is only made as an Integer. Will it calculate negative ?

Tvixen Tvixen3 months ago

ohh i can see theres only 10ms between every measurement, so the time is even lower. Correct me if im wrong, but after aprox 5,43 minutes the sample counter should be 0.

sspence (author)  Tvixen3 months ago
The sample counter resets to 0 after every 10 samples, or every 100 ms.
Tvixen sspence3 months ago

Is that a suggestion ? because i can't see this in your code.

Only that " sample = sample +1; "

sspence (author)  Tvixen3 months ago

hmmm... older code.

do the voltage sampling the same as the current sampling, with a

for (int x = 0; x < 10; x++){ // run through loop 10x


Time to redo this code with the newer IDE version and other updates since this was first produced.

Tvixen sspence3 months ago

I think you misunderstand. It's in the loop you have a variable called "int sample=0;" you use it as a counter. NOT as sample for input :)

This counter will overflow after 5,43 minutes. As it's made as a integer.

sspence (author)  Tvixen3 months ago

right, and if you only take voltage 10 samples and reset the counter (not shown in the posted code) it can never overflow. I'm suggesting rewriting that section of code to work like the current section.

Tvixen sspence3 months ago

Ahh oki, I thought we could use your code as it was.

Its oki, i'll make my own code. Thanks for ur time :)

MattsterT5 months ago

You hook the current sensor into the positive side of the system, I'm accustomed to using a shunt in the common negative bus in marine systems. Can you please comment why the difference? Thank you

sspence (author)  MattsterT5 months ago
It makes no difference. What you are measuring is the voltage dropped across the shunt resistor.
MattsterT sspence5 months ago
I understand that - that's why I'm curious why you chose to use the positive side when the industry practice for boats, RVs, etc is to use the negative side.

A separate question if I may, when using a shunt how does a microcontroller measure negative current during charging?

sspence (author)  MattsterT5 months ago

the industry practice is arbitrary, and varies with industry. in the solar industry, you are just as apt to find it in the positive lead. It doesn't matter, it's personal preference. by applying a 2.5v bias, you can move "0 amps" to 2.5v, so full Forward current is at 5v, and full reverse is at zero volts, or ground.

MattsterT sspence5 months ago

I suspect that the use of the negative side in boats is because it is mechanically easier to combine the negative sides of multiple batteries into a single connection point.

How would I apply a 2.5V bias to the input pin of the Arduino?

sspence (author)  MattsterT5 months ago

by using a voltage divider as shown at

MattsterT sspence5 months ago

Thanks for the prompt responses. I think I'm OK with the design details now, but a question: you use DallasTemperature.h in your program - where do I find this header file? T hanks

sspence (author)  MattsterT5 months ago

This sketch does not use DallasTemperature.h
Where did you see that?

vipzsflinchsz5 months ago

I really find it hard to find the components used. like the arduino.
can i use gizduino mini atmega 168 for this set up? we dont really have
acs715 in our country right now. can i get somehow the coding if i use
IC LMP8480? very much appreciated it! thankksss

sspence (author)  vipzsflinchsz5 months ago

Yes, the 168 could be used, you just have less memory, but there should be enough for this project. I posted the lmp8480 data sheet in your other question.

anushk3205 months ago
vipzsflinchsz5 months ago

Thanks for sharing! Hi. can i get the list of all equipment you used for this project? and If i use IC LMP8480 what will i change in the coding for it to work? thanks I appreciated your help!

sspence (author)  vipzsflinchsz5 months ago
I listed the components. An ACS715 (current sensor) and two resistors (voltage sensor). The 8480 outputs a voltage when it senses current, so it should not be too hard to use, see the info at

ayasbek2 years ago
Thanks for sharing!

I have an idea about why you have that 0.00610 multiplier instead of the ideal 0.0048... your code is only taking the simple ratio of the resistors - it should maybe be
ratio = (float(R1) +float(R2))/ float(R2)? Please let me know if this correct?

I love the instructable. I am using it to create an amp-hour battery gauge for my new-to-me electric car. The car already has a shunt (400A - 50 mV) so I will be using that. I may use an op-amp to boost the mV signal. Then again the 4.8 mV resolution on the arduino might be fine.
sspence (author)  ayasbek6 months ago

I've corrected and simplified the readings. for a voltage input that will never exceed 20vdc, make R1 15k ohm, R2 5kohm. For a 12v system, 0-20v input will output 0-5v to the adc. 5v / 1024 = .00488 / step. so adc reading * .00488 = voltage on A0. Voltage on A0 * 4 = voltage input, becasue 20v / 5v = 4.

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