## INA219 Current Sensor and MicroPython

More Micropython programmers — and especially beginners — should know about Awesome MicroPython. It’s a community-curated list of remarkably decent MicroPython libraries, frameworks, software and resources. If you need to interface to a sensor, look there first.

For example, take the INA219 High Side DC Current Sensor. It’s an I²C sensor able to measure up to 26 V, ±3.2 A. It does this by measuring the voltage across a 0.1 ohm precision shunt resistor with its built-in 12-bit ADC. I got a customer return from the store that was cosmetically damaged but still usable, so I thought I’d try it with the simplest module I could find in Awesome MicroPython and see how well it worked.

I guess I needed a test circuit too. Using all of what was immediately handy — a resistor I found on the bench and measured at 150.2 ohm — I came up with this barely useful circuit:

The INA219 would be happier with a much higher current to measure, but I didn’t have anything handy that could do that.

Looking in Awesome MicroPython’s Current section, I found robert-hh/INA219: INA219 Micropython driver. It doesn’t have much (okay, any) documentation, but it’s a very small module and the code is easy enough to follow. I put the ina219.py module file into the /lib folder of a WeAct Studio RP2040 board, and wrote the following code:

```# INA219 demo - uses https://github.com/robert-hh/INA219

from machine import Pin, I2C
import ina219

i = I2C(0, scl=Pin(5), sda=Pin(4))
print("I2C Bus Scan: ", i.scan(), "\n")

sensor = ina219.INA219(i)
sensor.set_calibration_16V_400mA()

# my test circuit is 3V3 supply through 150.2 ohm resistor
r_1 = 150.2
r_s = 0.1  # shunt resistor on INA219 board

# current is returned in milliamps
print("Current       / mA: %8.3f" % (sensor.current))
# shunt_voltage is returned in volts
print("Shunt voltage / mV: %8.3f" % (sensor.shunt_voltage * 1000))
# estimate supply voltage from known resistance * sensed current
print("3V3 (sensed)  / mV: %8.3f" % ((r_1 + r_s) * sensor.current))

```

with everything wired up like this (Blue = SDA, Yellow = SCL):

Running it produced this:

```I2C Bus Scan:  [64]

Current       / mA:   22.100
Shunt voltage / mV:    2.210
3V3 (sensed)  / mV: 3321.630
```

So it’s showing just over 22 mA: pretty close to what I calculated!

## Modding an Adafruit PIR for 3.3 volts

Consider the Adafruit PIR (motion) sensor (aka PIR Motion Sensor, if you’re in Canada). Simple, reliable device, but only runs from a 5 V supply. Yes, there are smaller PIRs that run off 3.3 V, but if this is what you have, you need to do some soldering. Annoyingly, the sensor on the board is a 3.3 V part, but the carrier was designed in Olden Tymes when King 5 V ruled.

You can try powering it from 3.3 V, but it’ll go all off on its own randomly as its own power supply won’t be supplying enough voltage. There are a couple of sites on how to modify these PIRs that either describe old kit you can’t get any more, or do it completely wrongly. Just one post on the Adafruit support forum gets it right.

One way of doing this is to provide 3.3 V directly to the output pin of the voltage regulator, and ignore the 5 V power line entirely. The regulator’s a SOT89-3 part that looks a bit like this:

In the photo above, it’s flipped over. Whichever way it’s oriented, we want to put power directly into the Vout pin. There may be easier points to solder this to than a tiny surface mount pin (almost definitely one of the capacitors) but this has held for me.

How to use it in MicroPython? Like the TTP223 capacitive touch sensors I looked at before, a PIR gives a simple off/on output, so you can use something like this:

```from machine import Pin
from time import sleep_ms

pir = Pin(21, Pin.IN)

while True:
print("[", pir.value(), "]")
sleep_ms(1000)
```

value() will return 1 if there’s movement, 0 if not. There are trigger time and sensitivity potentiometers to fiddle with on the board if you need to tweak the output.

Just remember: don’t connect the 5 V power line if you make this mod. I’m not responsible for any smoke emitted if you do â€” but I can always sell you a replacement â€¦

## MQTT Talk tonight

I’m talking at the Raspberry Pi Toronto Meetup tonight, and if all goes well, the Net-Connected Cowbell will make an appearance:

My slides: MQTT.odp

Links: