The Raspberry Pi is compatible with all sorts of digital inputs and outputs (I/O). Although the Pi works great with loads of digital devices, various gadgets like digital to analog converters (DACs) allow you to send a digital signal from a Raspberry Pi to an analog source. Most often, DACs are used in audio applications. But what about interfacing analog devices such as potentiometers or thermistors with a Raspberry Pi? An analog to digital converter (ADC) allows you to read analog signals using digital I/O. Check out the best Raspberry Pi ADC options for reading analog signals with digital inputs!
If you need to add analog inputs to the Raspberry Pi, the Adafruit MPC3008 is a fantastic choice. It's an 8-channel, 10-bit ADC. Utilizing the serial peripheral interface (SPI), a communication protocol for transferring data between single-board computers such as the Raspberry Pi and different peripherals, the MPC3008 is a great analog to digital converter. While the MPC3008 isn't a hardware ADC, it's an external analog to digital converter that may be used in conjunction with SPI code in Python to read data from analog peripherals like potentiometers, photocells, temperature sensors, joysticks, and a slew of other devices.
Adafruit MPC3008 features:
- 8-channel, 10-bit ADC
- Uses SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface)
- Only uses 4 pins
- External analog to digital converter
- May be used with Python SPI code to read analog devices (i.e. potentiometers, photocells, joysticks, temperature sensors, etc.)
The Adafruit ADS1015 is an extremely high-quality ADC. Boasting top-notch precision, the ADS1015 can handle 3300 samples per second over the I2C (Inter-integrated Circuit) protocol. It's possible to set up the ADS1015 as four single-ended input channels or, alternatively, two differential channels. Moreover, the Adafruit ADS1015 analog to digital converter for the Raspberry Pi sports a programmable gain amplifier of up to x 16 for bolstering differential or smaller signals to a full-range. You can run the ADS1015 on 2V or 5V power. Small, affordable, and with fantastic precision, the Adafruit ADS1015 is a versatile ADC that works with the Raspberry Pi.
Adafruit ADS1015 analog to digital converter features:
- 12-bit ADC
- 3300 samples per second using I2C
- Runs off of 2V or 5V power
- Breakout board with ferrites
- Uses I2C
Top Raspberry Pi-compatible 16-bit Analog to Digital Converter - DFRobot Gravity 12C ADS1115 16-bit ADC
DFRobot's Gravity I2C analog to digital converter is a solid 16-bit module. It's able to accurately capture and collect data from loads of analog sources. Specifically engineered to work with the Raspberry Pi, the DFRobot I2C ADS1115 interfaces with the Raspberry Pi's I2C connector. It supports 3.3V wide-voltage power supplies. A high-precision reference voltage and programmable gain adjustment makes the ADS1115 a great ADC for use with the Raspberry Pi.
DFRobot ADS1115 ADC features:
- 16-bit analog to digital converter
- Designed to work with the Raspberry Pi
- Extremely precise
- I2C interface
- Compatible with 3.3V wide-voltage power supplies
- High-precision reference voltage
- Programmable gain
Best Raspberry Pi ADC Options - Top Raspberry Pi Analog to Digital Converters
An analog to digital converter is a must-have for reading and collecting data from analog peripherals such as potentiometers or thermistors. For the Raspberry Pi, you have multiple options of ADCs to use. The 10-bit Adafruit MPC3008 is a good choice for most makers. Adafruit's ADS1015 is a solid 12-bit analog to digital converter, and the DFRobot Gravity ADS1115 is an excellent 16-bit analog to digital converter.