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A/D Converters and Shift registers

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Hi, I have a lot of experience with developing computer software, but not much with hardware. As a simple experimental project, I would like to connect an 8-bit A/D converter to a PC via parallel port, but so far I haven't found a lot a practical information. I would just get an IC and skim the data sheet, but there are way to many different options with different properties, so I would not know where to start. Suppose I would like to measure relativly low voltages (less than 10V, I guess. I can always use a voltage divider)... what would be a good chip to play with? Preferably a widely available one, and possibly one that is provided as a free sample. Also, are there any docs/tutorials out there that are pretty straightforward + complete that actually show how an ADC can be used in a simple circuit.

Secondly, I would like to learn about shift registers for the purpose of converting between serial and parallel (and vice versa). If you happen to know of any good tutorials/docs on this, I would appreciate it.


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A great book for this and connecting all kinds of other devices to your computer is "Controlling the World with your PC" by Bergman. It gives you examples of circuits as well as the programs to write in Basic, C and Turbo Pascal. If you can find this book, I am sure you will not be disappointed.


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Shift registers are just serial devices. You would have to wait for them to fill up before taking a parallel output. They require you to clock in the data. The ouput of the A/D is going to be serial with a time base dependent on a clock or the signal. A multiplexar is similar to the shift register except the data won't change while it's filling up. It will require a clock too. Use a multiplexar, clock in the data at the rate it's coming from the A/D, and take the output which will only change after all the bits have been loaded.

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