A breadboard friendly MCP23017

I2C port extenders or expanders are extremely useful devices, and I use quite a lot of them in my projects. My go-to device is definitely the PCF8574, mainly because it is sort of “breadboard friendly”. The MCP23017, with the existing breakouts available locally, are not. I have thus decided to design my own version of a breadboard friendly MCP23017 breakout board.

The Breakout Module PCB and its features

A breadboard friendly MCP23017 breakout board – Front
a breadboard friendly MCP23017 breakout board – Back

While this was definitely one of my easier projects, It still took a bit of time to get it just right and add some essential components and features directly onto the PCB.

The main features of this breakout:
– DIP12 Layout – with all pins broken out, address pins to jumper headers…
– Proper decoupling capacitors, as close as possible to the MCP23017 chip.
I had to make use of the back layer of the PCB to do this, not exactly ideal, but with proper power and ground planes, and nice thick tracks, I believe they will be just fine.

– Address selector jumpers – The breakouts that are available locally, do not have these.
– Breadboard friendly layout – 33.020mm x 20.320mm [board size], with 15.240mm vertical spacing between the rows of pins, ensures that you can easily fit it onto your breadboard, while still having space to add jumper wires to the pins. Horizontal pin spacing is standard 2.45mm.

The Schematic

The schematic is plain and simple. A few points to note though:
– The address selection header, as well as the io pin headers are not shown on the schematic.
– I2C pullup resistors are set at 1k but can be replaced with more suitable values as required in your circuit

Using the breakout

I have previously written two very detailed articles on using this chip. They are linked below:
Using the MCP23017 with the standard Wire.h library
Using the MCP23017 with the Adafruit MCP23017 library

Manufacturing the PCB

The PCB for this project is currently on its way from China, after having been manufactured at PCBWay.
Please consider supporting them if you would like your own copy of this PCB, or if you have any PCB of your own that you need to be manufactured.

PCBWay

If you would like to have PCBWAY manufacture one of your own, designs, or even this particular PCB, you need to do the following…
1) Click on this link
2) Create an account if you have not already got one of your own.
If you use the link above, you will also instantly receive a $5USD coupon, which you can use on your first or any other order later. (Disclaimer: I will earn a small referral fee from PCBWay. This referral fee will not affect the cost of your order, nor will you pay any part thereof.)
3) Once you have gone to their website, and created an account, or login with your existing account,

4) Click on PCB Instant Quote

5) If you do not have any very special requirements for your PCB, click on Quick-order PCB

6) Click on Add Gerber File, and select your Gerber file(s) from your computer. Most of your PCB details will now be automatically selected, leaving you to only select the solder mask and silk-screen colour, as well as to remove the order number or not. You can of course fine-tune everything exactly as you want as well.

7) You can also select whether you want an SMD stencil, or have the board assembled after manufacturing. Please note that the assembly service, as well as the cost of your components, ARE NOT included in the initial quoted price. ( The quote will update depending on what options you select ).

8) When you are happy with the options that you have selected, you can click on the Save to Cart Button. From here on, you can go to the top of the screen, click on Cart, make any payment(s) or use any coupons that you have in your account.

Then just sit back and wait for your new PCB to be delivered to your door via the shipping company that you have selected during checkout.

I2C IO Module with 4 Relay Outputs and 4 Galvanic Isolated Inputs

Sometimes we need extra Inputs or Outputs on a device, or for use with a project. To implement it properly we also need a lot of additional electronic components to properly isolate these inputs and outputs, with the signals they switch, from our own project, because, let us be real, electronics and electrical devices in the real world do not all work with Arduino or ESP32/ESP8266 save voltages ( 5v and 3.3v ).

I will also tell you about a very special deal to get PCBs of your own made for only one (1) USD ( Including shipping with DHL )! No, I am not joking, and I am not crazy either… More on that later in the post…


It is thus extremely important to have a module that can effectively interface with inputs of 5.5v up to 32v DC ( optically Isolated up to 3000v ), and relay outputs, also optically isolated at 3000v. ( Note that the optical isolation voltage does not mean you can input that voltage level into the chip! It means that it can isolate the electronics on the safe side of the isolator from a voltage spike of up to that voltage!).

I also love using I2C, as it allows me to add modules onto an existing data bus while using only 2 GPIO lines on the MCU!

The module I am presenting to you today was designed to be operated from 5v DC. That includes the I2C data lines (SDA and SCL). If you need to interface to a 3.3v microprocessor, like an ESP32 or ESP8266, or even the new RP2040 or an STM32, you need to use a logic level converter.

The PCB uses the popular PCF8574 8 channel IO expander, which is extremely easy to use, and where you can connect up to 8 devices in a chain ( 16 if you use the PCF8574AT variant as well.. Meaning eight of each variant) This surely adds up to quite a lot of IO lines at a cost of only 2 GPIO on your MCU!

The Circuit diagram is below, and I will discuss each part briefly.

Schematic – Page 1

This is the Galvanic Isolated Input schematic. Each input operates at a voltage of 5.5v to 32v DC. Complete Galvanic Isolation between the Module and the remote input is in effect. Please note that you have to supply a remote ground from the device that provides the input. DO NOT connect the PCB Module ground to an isolated ground pin. This may still work but renders the galvanic Isolation for that input completely useless.


Relay Driver Schematic

This is the Relay driver schematic. Each relay output is driven through an optocoupler, as well as a transistor. Although this arrangement does not provide complete galvanic Isolation of the relay coil, it does protect your MCU from any voltage spikes caused by back-emf when the relay is de-energised. The Relay contacts themselves, being magnetically actuated by the coil, are in themselves Galvanically Isolated from the rest of the PCB.

I2C Control Schematic

Finally, we have the I2C IO Expander schematic, with a 5v LDO regulator, capable of providing up to 600mA of current to the PCB. The PCF8574 Chip’s address is selectable with DipSwitch SW1 so that you can use multiple PCBs at the same time if you should choose to do so. The only note on that is that you should not connect the 5v lines of each individual PCB together. You should also only connect the GND and SDA, SCL lines back to the MCU.

Raw PCB Layout

Earlier on in the post, I promised to tell you about a very special deal…

Well, here it is, as well as some details about the sponsor of this very exciting deal…

PCBPartner.com is owned and operated by Kinji Group, which was established in 1997. We have over 20 years of experience in PCB manufacturing, PCB design, component manufacturing and distribution, PCB assembly and PCB cam software development.

While Kinji Group has 3 PCB factories in China, we have also developed strategic partnerships with more than 15 other factories around Asia. We, therefore, have a large group of specialists in PCB manufacturing, quality control, technical support and part sourcing to support your innovative ideas and products.

Our over 500 employees are spread across 8 branches in Mainland China (Shenzhen, Dongguan, Shanghai, Wuxi, Chengdu, Xiamen), Hong Kong SAR, and Taiwan. And we’re still growing!


We’re confident once you try us out, we’ll become your PCB Partner. And if not? Well, you’ll have scored some free PCB! So why not take us for a spin, you’ve got nothing to lose.

We, MakerIoT2020.com, have decided to give it a go and send this particular PCB to PCBPartner.com for manufacturing. So far, while we are still waiting to receive the PCB, ( Weekends happen 🙂 ), We are very happy with the ease of use of the online ordering system provided.

We would also like to point out that this special order will only be available until the end of March 2022,
as well as that there are a few conditions:

Promotion ends  March 31st 2022
Each new customer can enjoy free PCB on their first order
This promotion applies to
1-2 layers of FR4 PCB, up to 100x100mm, 10pcs, with Green Solder Mask
4 layer of FR4 PCB, up to 50x50mm, 10pcs, with Green Solder Mask
1 layer Aluminum PCB, up to 100x100mm, 10pcs
This PCB promotion cannot be used with other discounts or other promotional activities



For a full list of conditions, and countries that may participate in this offer, please click on the link here

Let us have a look at the entire ordering process..

Once you click on the PCBPartner.com link, you will be taken to their website, where you should sign up, which is free and easy… We used our Google.com account details and were ready to order in seconds…

PCBPartner Start Page

You can now Login with your new credentials ( after registering using this special link ). Then click on the FR4 button to start the order process…

FR4 PBC Quote Form – Before uploading your Gerber Files

Enter the specific details for the manufacturing of your PCB, and upload your Gerber files.

After uploading your Gerber Files.

Continue selecting options for your PCB order…
Make sure to select DHL shipping, to take advantage of the special 1USD option, and click on the ADD to Cart Button…

Quote added to your shopping cart.

You will now get a message that your enquiry has been submitted successfully.

Click on the “Under review” button, to see your quote status… In my case, it took about 5 minutes for the review to pass, and be able to checkout and pay for the order…

PCB order under review

Once the review has passed, you will see a pending payment,

Payment Pending

You may now click on the “Proceed to Payment” option

Add your shipping address, and choose your payment option.

At this moment in time, only two payment options are supported, Paypal ( as well as Debit and Credit cards) and Direct Bank Transfer. I believe more options will be made available in future..
Checkout with Paypal

In my case, I chose Paypal and paid by Debit card.

Enter your card details
After Payment.

After payment was made successfully, you can also check on the status of your order…

Review your order status

You can also review your order at any stage before or after payment, as well as get progress reports of the manufacturing process.

PCB Order Status.

In conclusion, I would like to say that it was quite easy to order and make payment. The Website is easy to use, and everything is clear and easy to understand. The PCB was well manufactured and seems to be quite good quality

Design and build an ESP8266 IoT Controller, Part 2

In my previous post, available here, I have shown you the initial stages of designing and developing our own IoT controller. Today, while the PCB has just arrived from PCBWay, and while we wait for the rest of the components to arrive, we will continue with the software development of the device. I will also show you the beautiful PCB that I got from PCBWay!

For today’s post, we will focus on configuring ESPHome, get it to work together with Home Assistant, as well as have a look at those PCB’s!

Table of Contents
Configuring ESPHome
The YAML configuration file
Updating the prototype device OTA
Integrating it all with Home Assistant
Taking a look at the PCB’s
Conclusion of Part 2

Configuring ESPHome

In the last post, we left off here…

After Flashing ESPHome to the device

Our next step will be to write the YAML configuration file…

YAML configuration

ESPHome uses the YAML language to define IO and automation. These files are then parsed, converted into C/C++ and compiled. The resulting Binary File is the uploaded OTA to the device via WiFi.

We will still be using our Virtual Machine Image of Home Assistant, running inside VirtualBox on our PC.
Go ahead and start that, and then open Home Assistant in your Web Browser. Then click on ESPHome.
You will see a screen similar to the one above.

While we are at this point, I believe it is a good time to clarify why we do the development in a virtual PC, and not directly on our Home Assistant instance running on a Raspberry Pi. The reason is actually very simple. Home Assistant seems to have issues with completely removing unused entities. This is not a problem, but you could potentially end up with a lot of stale entries in your production Home Assistant Server. The VM solution allows us to test everything away from the actual server, and then, when we are done, recreate the working device on the actual server. That way, there is almost no chance of damaging your existing Home Assistant Server, which you may already have spent some time on to set up just the way you want it…

Continue by clicking on the EDIT link, in the iot-con-prototype device that we created in the last tutorial.
You will see a file similar to this …

esphome:
  name: iot-con-prototype
  platform: ESP8266
  board: nodemcuv2

# Enable logging
logger:

# Enable Home Assistant API
api:

ota:
  password: "3f132fc270315361e4d2393a50c2bac5"

wifi:
  ssid: "<your ssid here>"
  password: "<your password here>"

  # Enable fallback hotspot (captive portal) in case wifi connection fails
  ap:
    ssid: "Iot-Con-Prototype"
    password: "4uSytyPTx1TO"

captive_portal:

This is the default configuration file generated by ESPHome. We will build on this file… Note that your OTA Password will be different. DO NOT CHANGE OR MODIFY IT IN ANY WAY!

When we edit YAML, indentations are extremely important, so try to follow exactly what I am doing.

Our IoT Controller uses I2C to communicate with the PCF8574 chip. Let us assume that you have set your address to 0x22h by using the dip switch on the PCB, you could of course set any other address, just make sure that you know what it is.

We now need to tell ESPHome that we have an I2C Bus and that it needs to scan this bus for devices. That way, we can see in the logs if it actually detects our device or not.

Add the following 5 lines to your file:

i2c:
  sda: GPIO4
  scl: GPIO5
  scan: true
  id: i2c_bus_a

They mean that we will have an I2C bus with SDA on GPIO4, and SCL on GPIO5.
The bus will have an ID of i2c_bus_a and the bus should be scanned

The next section will be the actual PCF8574 Io Expander
Add the following lines to the file:

pcf8574:
  - id: 'pcf8574_hub'
    address: 0x22
    pcf8575: false

We give this device the id of pcf8574_hub and specify its address as 0x22. We also NEED to specify that it is NOT the 16 port pcf8575 variant.

Now we can start configuring our outputs. for our purposes, we will have two relay outputs, as well as two status LEDs. In the actual circuit, the pcf8574 will sink the pins connected to these, as the chip can sink more current than it can safely source. Refer to the relay driver schematic for more information on that.

Go ahead, and add the following to your file.

output:
 - platform: gpio
   id: relay_1
   pin: 
      pcf8574: pcf8574_hub
      number: 0
      mode: OUTPUT
      inverted: true
 - platform: gpio
   id: relay_2
   pin: 
      pcf8574: pcf8574_hub
      number: 1
      mode: OUTPUT
      inverted: true
 - platform: gpio
   id: led_status_1
   pin: 
      pcf8574: pcf8574_hub
      number: 2
      mode: OUTPUT
      inverted: true
 - platform: gpio
   id: led_status_2
   pin: 
      pcf8574: pcf8574_hub
      number: 3
      mode: OUTPUT
      inverted: true

The syntax should be straightforward, every output will have a platform, in this case, gpio.
Then we will need a unique ID, let us say relay_1
Now, we need to specify the physical pin to use. Now here, you could also specify a native pin on the actual NodeMCU device that we are using for testing, but we will specify a pin on the pcf8574 instead.
This is done with the pin: directive
pin:
pcf8574: pcf8574_hub // This tells the parser to use the device at address 0x22 that we specified before.
number: 0 // use GPIO 0
mode: OUTPUT // this can be either INPUT or OUTPUT, for our case, it should be OUTPUT.
inverted: true // Invert the logic of the pin.

Once again, it is needed, as we are sinking current into the pin, and the circuit was designed that way…
You can however use it noninverted if you really want, it will just look a bit odd on Home Assistant, if your On state, actually meant Off

The next section will be called binary inputs and may seem a bit confusing at first. But, trust me, it is not. This is just the way that we define our physical push buttons on the device. We need those, in the event that our Home Assistant Server is offline, or when we need to physically press a button on the device.

What? Why? Are we not building an IoT Controller? Why should we press any physical buttons on it?
Well, the answer to that is quite obvious. There will definitely be times that you want to control an attached device by pressing a physical button. It does not make sense to scurry around, swiping through apps on your smartphone, while you are standing right next to the device in question. To leave out this basic functionality, would be plain silly, and in my view, bad engineering.

binary_sensor:
  -  platform: gpio
     id: push_button_1
     name: 'Relay1 Pushbutton'
     device_class: ''
     pin:
        pcf8574:  pcf8574_hub
        number: 4
        mode: INPUT
        inverted: true
     on_press:
      then:
        - switch.toggle: switch_relay1
     filters:
       -  delayed_on_off: 50ms
       
  -  platform: gpio
     id: push_button_2
     name: 'Relay2 Pushbutton'
     device_class: ''
     pin:
        pcf8574:  pcf8574_hub
        number: 5
        mode: INPUT
        inverted: true
     on_press:
      then:
        - switch.toggle: switch_relay2
     filters:
       -  delayed_on_off: 50ms

The syntax is almost the same as the outputs above, but we are also adding automation:
We want the relay to be toggled each time the button is pressed. This will allow us to use only one button per relay to switch it on or off.
We are also adding a filter, in this case, a bit of debouncing, of 50ms. This will prevent the chattering of the contacts on the switch from generating more than one event for each button press.

The final section of the file will be a switch: section. This will allow you to control the relays from inside Home Assistant. ( The outputs are considered an internal to ESPHome function, and will thus not be exposed to Home Assistant.
Add the following lines to the file

switch:
  - platform: output 
    id: switch_relay1
    name: "Relay No. 1 (#0)"
    output: relay_1
    on_turn_on:
    - output.turn_on: led_status_1
    on_turn_off:
    - output.turn_off: led_status_1
  - platform: output 
    id: switch_relay2
    name: "Relay No. 2 (#1)"
    output: relay_2
    on_turn_on:
    - output.turn_on: led_status_2
    on_turn_off:
    - output.turn_off: led_status_2

You can see that the syntax is once again very easy to understand. We also specify that the status LED for the relevant relay channel be switched on or off with the relay. This also happens when you press the physical switch.
The name element will be the Name of the Output that will be displayed in Home Assistant. You can change it to your liking here, or you can also change it inside Home Assistant itself.

The completed file should now look like this. NOTE that if you decide to copy-paste the file from here, as I would recommend, you should only copy from the i2c section to the end of the file. Do not copy the WiFi and other sections. Your own file already has your own settings.

esphome:
  name: iot-con-prototype
  platform: ESP8266
  board: nodemcuv2

# Enable logging
logger:

# Enable Home Assistant API
api:

ota:
  password: "3f132fc270315361e4d2393a50c2bac5"

wifi:
  ssid: "<your ssid here>"
  password: "<your password here>"

  # Enable fallback hotspot (captive portal) in case wifi connection fails
  ap:
    ssid: "Iot-Con-Prototype"
    password: "4uSytyPTx1TO"

captive_portal:
#DO NOT COPY ANYTHING ABOVE THIS LINE -------- 
i2c:
  sda: GPIO4
  scl: GPIO5
  scan: true
  id: i2c_bus_a
  
pcf8574:
  - id: 'pcf8574_hub'
    address: 0x22
    pcf8575: false


output:
 - platform: gpio
   id: relay_1
   pin: 
      pcf8574: pcf8574_hub
      number: 0
      mode: OUTPUT
      inverted: true
 - platform: gpio
   id: relay_2
   pin: 
      pcf8574: pcf8574_hub
      number: 1
      mode: OUTPUT
      inverted: true
 - platform: gpio
   id: led_status_1
   pin: 
      pcf8574: pcf8574_hub
      number: 2
      mode: OUTPUT
      inverted: true
 - platform: gpio
   id: led_status_2
   pin: 
      pcf8574: pcf8574_hub
      number: 3
      mode: OUTPUT
      inverted: true

binary_sensor:
  -  platform: gpio
     id: push_button_1
     name: 'Relay1 Pushbutton'
     device_class: ''
     pin:
        pcf8574:  pcf8574_hub
        number: 4
        mode: INPUT
        inverted: true
     on_press:
      then:
        - switch.toggle: switch_relay1
     filters:
       -  delayed_on_off: 50ms
       
  -  platform: gpio
     id: push_button_2
     name: 'Relay2 Pushbutton'
     device_class: ''
     pin:
        pcf8574:  pcf8574_hub
        number: 5
        mode: INPUT
        inverted: true
     on_press:
      #min_length: 50ms
      #max_length: 500ms
      then:
        - switch.toggle: switch_relay2
     filters:
       -  delayed_on_off: 50ms    
switch:
  - platform: output 
    id: switch_relay1
    name: "Relay No. 1 (#0)"
    output: relay_1
    on_turn_on:
    - output.turn_on: led_status_1
    on_turn_off:
    - output.turn_off: led_status_1
  - platform: output 
    id: switch_relay2
    name: "Relay No. 2 (#1)"
    output: relay_2
    on_turn_on:
    - output.turn_on: led_status_2
    on_turn_off:
    - output.turn_off: led_status_2
  

Well done, That was quite easy.
Copy and paste the file into the edit screen that you have opened in ESPHome.

If everything went well. you should see an option to save or install as in the picture below.

YAML configuration file. ESPHome

If you can see both Save and Install, it means that your file syntax is correct. If not, go back and carefully check your indentations, as well as the spelling of the commands. It should not be a problem if you copied it from above…

Now click on save. You will get a confirmation.
Make sure that the prototype is connected to the USB port of the computer, or to another power source. Wait a few seconds to make sure that it is connected to the network, and then click Install.

ESPHome will now parse your YAML file, generate the needed code, and compile it. After that, it will upload the new firmware to your device. Wait until you can see the device restart and connect to the network in the log window.

The Firmware is compiled and the uploaded OTA
The device had booted, note that the PCF8574 has been detected and that we can see our configuration data (in purple text)

Configuring Home Assistant

We can now start to add this all to Home Assistant. It is also very likely that you will be prompted to add the device by Home Assistant itself. If this did not happen, or like with my testing image on the VM, you have a lot of old stuff floating around as well, we can do it manually …

Go to the Configuration Menu, and click on Integrations.
Click on the esp8266-nodemcu option on ESPHome
Click on the entities, next to the device …
The available entities ( selected with a blue checkmark ). Entities with a red warning are stale, meaning old, unavailable or offline… You can remove them, but they tend to show up again on their own…

We can now select the two relays, as well as the Pushbuttons. Then click on Enable selected.

When you now go back to the Home Assistant Home screen, you will see your device with its controls, on the screen. You can now control the device from Home Assistant. You will note that the two push-buttons are also present in Home Assistant, but, they are only indicators. This means that while they will change state briefly when you press the physical switches, they can not be controlled directly from Home Assistant. They can however be used in automation, or at least I believe so. The debouncing times are however rather short, so I would recommend that you base any automation on the actual relay states instead.

A sneak preview of the PCB

As promised above, I will now give you a quick preview of the PCB’s. They were manufactured by PCBWay

I am once again awed by the precision of these bords. They are absolutely flawless and exactly true to my design.
The irregular isolation cut-outs are exactly to speck and size, the silkscreen is crisp and not blurred. All component footprints are correct, and there seem to be no shorts or open circuits on initial testing with a multimeter.

You can get your own version of these for only $USD 5.00 excluding shipping from here I believe you will be just as impressed as I am.

So let us look at these boards…

My biggest frustration now will be to wait for the rest of the components to arrive. I already have some of them in stock, and can repurpose some others, but I think that I will rather wait for everything to arrive so that I don’t have to
assemble them in stages. I plan to assemble 2 of the 10 boards and make some of the remaining 8 available to interested people. Contact me on messenger if you are interested.

Conclusion

This concludes part 2 of this series. In part 3, we will look at the assembled PCB’s, as well as take a more detailed look at using them together with Home Assistant. I will also attempt to do the Tasmota integration, this will involve compiling my own special version of Tasmota.

I am also planning to release the assembly process as a series of pictures or maybe a video on Patreon.

Become a Patron!

If you like what I do, I want to ask you to consider becoming a Patron. With some assistance from generous people like yourself, I can create some more interesting projects.

Thank you, and Good-Bye until next time.

Build your own 8 DI Optically Isolated Arduino Shield – Part 3

Welcome to the final instalment of my 8 DI Optically Isolated Arduino Shield. Today I will show you some of the assembly pictures, as well as look at the coding to use this shield. I will also provide you with a link to the manufacturing files, in case you want to make your own.

These PBC’s were manufactured at PCBWAY.

You can order your own version of this board for just $5 USD if you click here

PCBWay makes it quite easy to order prototypes for your PCB’s… Just upload the Gerber files on their website, select your desired options for the PCB and order. The turn-around time is great. I received these boards, ordered together with a stencil for SMD assembly, in exactly 5 days, shipping from China to Thailand 🙂 That is super fast, as it arrived 4 days faster than the components that were ordered locally from Bangkok! Be sure to consider using their services next time you need a PBC made…

Top and bottom layout of completed Shield
Bottom of Shield
Top Layout

Some notes on assembly: The reset switch will seem misplaced, and indeed, it is 🙂 The reason for this is that I could not get any 4 pin tactile switches 🙁 So I had to either leave it unpopulated or use a two-pin tactile switch. As I will be using these shields myself, I decided that although it doesn’t look perfect, the two pin switch will still provide me with the functionality that I want.

On the bottom of the board, you can still see some blobs of flux, as the pictures were taken right after assembly, and have not been cleaned up yet. Some solder joints have also not been cleaned up yet.

The top of the unpopulated PCB
The bottom of the PCB

Testing and Coding

The testing of the board is quite straightforward. I first checked all the power rails with a multimeter to make sure there are no open circuits of shorts. Then I checked connections to all the chips and other components, yes, it takes a while to do that, but rather safe than sorry. After assembly, I repeated this process, making sure that all the components receive the correct power level, and that all switches ( like for addressing and the reset button ) actually do what I intended them to do. The next tests were the individual inputs with the optocouplers. This is done by connecting an input source (between 5.5v and 32v) to each individual input and then physically testing on the pins of the optocoupler in question, for the correct voltage input.

The shield is then powered from 5v and the input test is repeated while checking with a multimeter that the input signal does indeed get transferred by the optocoupler to the PCF8574 chip. I found that with the particular batch of PCF8574 chips that I got, that the IC would only respond reliably with a voltage between 5.5v and 32v. The original design was for 3.0v to 32v. I found that the Optocoupler EL357N seems to be unable to switch itself on at the low current allowed through the resistor divider at the input. This can be fixed by lowering the value of R1, R5, R9, R13, R17, R21, R25, R27 from 4k7 to whatever value you need. Note that that will reduce the top-level input voltage that you can safely use. For my application, however, 5.5v to 24v will be perfect, so I will leave it as is.

The shield is now connected to an Arduino with DuPont Wires, to test the I2C addressing of the PCF8574. The chip address is changed with the 3-way dip switch at SW1. All eight addresses are available. It should be noted that I have used a pull-up configuration on the address lines. That will reverse your logic.. Switching the dip switch on will pull the pin to GND, not to VCC as you would normally expect. Thus as an example, all switches off will give an address 0f 0x3f, while all on will give 0x38.

Coding

You can use the standard Arduino IDE with the Wire.h library to code the shield, or you can use one of the many PCF8574 libraries that are available. I coded my tests with the Embeetle IDE, as it gives me much better control over my code. I will show you a short, interrupt enabled sketch, in Arduino C++ below

#include <Wire.h>

byte _portStatus = 0b00000000;
boolean _readI2C = false;

void MyISR() { // Interrupt service routine
  //Serial.println("Interrupt Occured on Pin2");
  if (_readI2C != true) {
    _readI2C = true;  
  }
}

void setup() {
  // put your setup code here, to run once:
  pinMode(2,INPUT_PULLUP);
  attachInterrupt(digitalPinToInterrupt(2),MyISR,FALLING);
  Serial.begin(115200);
  Wire.begin();
  Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
  Wire.write(0xFF); // set all pins to 1, needed to make them inputs
  Wire.endTransmission();
}

void loop() {
  // put your main code here, to run repeatedly:
  
  byte _data;
  if (_readI2C == true) {
    _readI2C = false;
    Wire.requestFrom(0x20,1);
    if (Wire.available()) {
      _data = Wire.read();
    }
  }
  if (_portStatus != _data) {
    Serial.print("Port Data Changed : 0xb");
    Serial.print(_portStatus,BIN);
    Serial.print(" changed to : 0xb");
    Serial.println(_data,BIN);
    _portStatus = _data;
    delay(50);
  } else {
    _portStatus = _portStatus;
  }
  
}

Conclusion

This turned out to be a very interesting and fun project to do. From designing the circuit to getting it manufactured and hand assembling it myself was a very satisfying experience. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Wendy Wu, from PCBWay‘s Marketing department, for her assistance with the manufacturing of the board. The speed and efficiency with which she handled this project were fantastic.

Build your own 8 DI Optically Isolated Arduino Shield – Part 1

All of us Makers like to tinker with stuff, and in this process, we may find ourselves thinking about how to connect device A to my Arduino… Device A may operate at a different voltage from the Arduino, and may thus damage it badly….

Many different solutions exist to do this, but, many of them, like relays, can be quite bulky, increasing the overall size of your project, as well as putting bigger demands onto your power supply unit.

Having worked in the Industrial Automation sector for a few years, I remember that we used to have dedicated hardware to protect our sensitive controllers from the harsh outside signals that we needed to monitor. These devices were called isolators, and today I will show you how to construct your own version of this essential device.

But some theory is needed first…

What does it mean to isolate a signal? In the electronics world, you might have seen that you usually have to use a common ground between all your devices to make them work together properly. While this is definitely true, let us look at another example…

Let us say you have some device, that will send you a voltage signal when it switches on, and another voltage signal when it is switched off. This device runs on 24 volts, so some of the more informed of us will immediately say you need a level converter, meaning a device that changes the 24v signal into a 5v signal… Others will try to use a relay to convert the signal ( A relay is also a type of isolation device ). A much more elegant way of doing this will be by using an Optic Isolator chip.

A simple Optic Isolator Chip

This chip provides complete isolation between your device and the Arduino or other microprocessor. It does that by using infrared light to transmit the signal. Light, as we all know, does not conduct electricity 🙂

Whereas a relay will only give you a on or an off state, the Opto-coupler or Optic Isolator can also do linear current transfer, meaning that the more IR light it transmits, the more current the photo-transistor will allow to pass as well.

A good tutorial on Opto-Couplers can be found here

Opto Isolator Circuit

In my circuit, I made use of the following circuit…

Two Optic Isolator Level converter Circuits

As we can see in the two circuits above, there is no common ground between the input and output sides of the circuit. This is ideal, as noise and other undesirable signals will not be transferred from one circuit to the other. It also allows you to use a very high input voltage, at a frequency of up to 2kHz.

I have also decided to combine this with the PCF8574 I2C Port Extender. That way, I can cascade up to 64 inputs on the I2C bus. In a later version, I will also do an Opto-Isolated Output module.

The Shield is only slightly bigger than the standard Arduino Uno, and all Arduino pins are broken out on headers.
It is important to remember that A4 and A5 should not be used for any other purpose (They provide access to the I2C bus). Likewise, the interrupt pin of the PCF8574 can be connected to either D2 or D3 with a jumper, or left disconnected by completely removing the jumper. Device addressing can be set with the 3-way DIP switch on the board.

8 DI Optically Isolated I2C Arduino Shield

This device is currently being manufactured. In Part 2 of this article, I will show you the completed PCB, as well as give you access to the Gerber design files if you want to manufacture your own. I will also make a limited amount of these boards available for sale from my website ( this site ) as well as from https://www.facebook.com/makeriot2020

MCP23017 with Adafruit Library

In a previous post, I have shown you how to use the MCP23017 16 Port I2C I/O Port extender with the standard Wire library, as supplied with the Arduino IDE. In this post,
I will have a quick look at using Adafruit’s library for this IC. I believe that this library brings a lot of ease-of-use to the part, making it possible to obscure some of the complexity of I2C.

I do however prefer to use the native Wire library myself, as it is slightly faster.

You can download the Adafruit MCP23017 Library from here..

Pin Addressing

When using single pin operations such as pinMode(pinId, dir) or digitalRead(pinId) or digitalWrite(pinId, val) then the pins are addressed using the ID’s below. For example, for set the mode of GPB0 then use pinMode(8, …).

Physical Pin #Pin NamePin ID
21GPA00
22GPA11
23GPA22
24GPA33
25GPA44
26GPA55
27GPA66
28GPA77
1GPB08
2GPB19
3GPB210
4GPB311
5GPB412
6GPB513
7GPB614
8GPB715

Some examples, directly from the library, all code belongs to Adafruit, and was not written by me.

1. A Button Example

#include <Wire.h>
#include "Adafruit_MCP23017.h"

// Basic pin reading and pullup test for the MCP23017 I/O expander
// public domain!

// Connect pin #12 of the expander to Analog 5 (i2c clock)
// Connect pin #13 of the expander to Analog 4 (i2c data)
// Connect pins #15, 16 and 17 of the expander to ground (address selection)
// Connect pin #9 of the expander to 5V (power)
// Connect pin #10 of the expander to ground (common ground)
// Connect pin #18 through a ~10kohm resistor to 5V (reset pin, active low)

// Input #0 is on pin 21 so connect a button or switch from there to ground

Adafruit_MCP23017 mcp;
  
void setup() {  
  mcp.begin();      // use default address 0

  mcp.pinMode(0, INPUT);
  mcp.pullUp(0, HIGH);  // turn on a 100K pullup internally

  pinMode(13, OUTPUT);  // use the p13 LED as debugging
}



void loop() {
  // The LED will 'echo' the button
  digitalWrite(13, mcp.digitalRead(0));
}

2. An Interrupt Example

// Install the LowPower library for optional sleeping support.
// See loop() function comments for details on usage.
//#include <LowPower.h>

#include <Wire.h>
#include <Adafruit_MCP23017.h>

Adafruit_MCP23017 mcp;

byte ledPin=13;

// Interrupts from the MCP will be handled by this PIN
byte arduinoIntPin=3;

// ... and this interrupt vector
byte arduinoInterrupt=1;

volatile boolean awakenByInterrupt = false;

// Two pins at the MCP (Ports A/B where some buttons have been setup.)
// Buttons connect the pin to grond, and pins are pulled up.
byte mcpPinA=7;
byte mcpPinB=15;

void setup(){

  Serial.begin(9600);
  Serial.println("MCP23007 Interrupt Test");

  pinMode(arduinoIntPin,INPUT);

  mcp.begin();      // use default address 0
  
  // We mirror INTA and INTB, so that only one line is required between MCP and Arduino for int reporting
  // The INTA/B will not be Floating 
  // INTs will be signaled with a LOW
  mcp.setupInterrupts(true,false,LOW);

  // configuration for a button on port A
  // interrupt will triger when the pin is taken to ground by a pushbutton
  mcp.pinMode(mcpPinA, INPUT);
  mcp.pullUp(mcpPinA, HIGH);  // turn on a 100K pullup internally
  mcp.setupInterruptPin(mcpPinA,FALLING); 

  // similar, but on port B.
  mcp.pinMode(mcpPinB, INPUT);
  mcp.pullUp(mcpPinB, HIGH);  // turn on a 100K pullup internall
  mcp.setupInterruptPin(mcpPinB,FALLING);

  // We will setup a pin for flashing from the int routine
  pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT);  // use the p13 LED as debugging
  
}

// The int handler will just signal that the int has happen
// we will do the work from the main loop.
void intCallBack(){
  awakenByInterrupt=true;
}

void handleInterrupt(){
  
  // Get more information from the MCP from the INT
  uint8_t pin=mcp.getLastInterruptPin();
  uint8_t val=mcp.getLastInterruptPinValue();
  
  // We will flash the led 1 or 2 times depending on the PIN that triggered the Interrupt
  // 3 and 4 flases are supposed to be impossible conditions... just for debugging.
  uint8_t flashes=4; 
  if(pin==mcpPinA) flashes=1;
  if(pin==mcpPinB) flashes=2;
  if(val!=LOW) flashes=3;

  // simulate some output associated to this
  for(int i=0;i<flashes;i++){  
    delay(100);
    digitalWrite(ledPin,HIGH);
    delay(100);
    digitalWrite(ledPin,LOW);
  }

  // we have to wait for the interrupt condition to finish
  // otherwise we might go to sleep with an ongoing condition and never wake up again.
  // as, an action is required to clear the INT flag, and allow it to trigger again.
  // see datasheet for datails.
  while( ! (mcp.digitalRead(mcpPinB) && mcp.digitalRead(mcpPinA) ));
  // and clean queued INT signal
  cleanInterrupts();
}

// handy for interrupts triggered by buttons
// normally signal a few due to bouncing issues
void cleanInterrupts(){
  EIFR=0x01;
  awakenByInterrupt=false;
}  

/**
 * main routine: sleep the arduino, and wake up on Interrups.
 * the LowPower library, or similar is required for sleeping, but sleep is simulated here.
 * It is actually posible to get the MCP to draw only 1uA while in standby as the datasheet claims,
 * however there is no stadndby mode. Its all down to seting up each pin in a way that current does not flow.
 * and you can wait for interrupts while waiting.
 */
void loop(){
  
  // enable interrupts before going to sleep/wait
  // And we setup a callback for the arduino INT handler.
  attachInterrupt(arduinoInterrupt,intCallBack,FALLING);
  
  // Simulate a deep sleep
  while(!awakenByInterrupt);
  // Or sleep the arduino, this lib is great, if you have it.
  //LowPower.powerDown(SLEEP_1S, ADC_OFF, BOD_OFF);
  
  // disable interrupts while handling them.
  detachInterrupt(arduinoInterrupt);
  
  if(awakenByInterrupt) handleInterrupt();
}


I hope that this shows you another way of using this versatile IC, 
In a future post, I will show you how to do interrupts, using the native Wire library, as well as point out a few things about why interrrupts sometimes does not seem to be working, as well as a workaround for that.

Using the MCP23017 to increase your GPIO’s

Today I will show you another useful IO Expander chip, The MCP23017. This chip, although similar to the PCF8475, which I have already covered in a previous article, has many additional features that may make it a very attractive solution when you need some more extra GPIO pins for a big project…

Features

Let us look at some of the features of this chip

  • 16-Bit Remote Bidirectional I/O Port:
  • I/O pins default to input
    • High-Speed I2C Interface (MCP23017):
  • 100 kHz
  • 400 kHz
  • 1.7 MHz
    • High-Speed SPI Interface (MCP23S17):
  • 10 MHz (maximum)
    • Three Hardware Address Pins to Allow Up to
    Eight Devices On the Bus
    • Configurable Interrupt Output Pins:
  • Configurable as active-high, active-low or
    open-drain
    • INTA and INTB Can Be Configured to Operate
    Independently or Together
    • Configurable Interrupt Source:
  • Interrupt-on-change from configured register
    defaults or pin changes
    • Polarity Inversion Register to Configure the
    Polarity of the Input Port Data
    • External Reset Input
    • Low Standby Current: 1 µA (max.)
    • Operating Voltage:
  • 1.8V to 5.5V @ -40°C to +85°C
  • 2.7V to 5.5V @ -40°C to +85°C
  • 4.5V to 5.5V @ -40°C to +125°C
MCP23017 Pinout Diagram

The sixteen I/O ports are separated into two ‘ports’ – A (on the right) and B (on the left. Pin 9 connects to 5V, 10 to GND, 11 isn’t used, 12 is the I2C bus clock line (Arduino Uno/Duemilanove analogue pin 5, Mega pin  21), and 13 is the I2C bus data line (Arduino Uno/Duemailnove analogue pin 4, Mega pin 20).

External pull-up resistors should be used on the I2C bus – in our examples we use 4.7k ohm values. Pin 14 is unused, and we won’t be looking at interrupts, so ignore pins 19 and 20. Pin 18 is the reset pin, which is normally high – therefore you ground it to reset the IC. So connect it to 5V!

Finally we have the three hardware address pins 15~17. These are used to determine the I2C bus address for the chip. If you connect them all to GND, the address is 0x20. If you have other devices with that address or need to use multiple MCP23017s, see figure 1-2 in the datasheet.

You can alter the address by connecting a combination of pins 15~17 to 5V (1) or GND (0). For example, if you connect 15~17 all to 5V, the control byte becomes 0100111 in binary, or 0x27 in hexadecimal.

It is also available on a convenient breakout PCB, for about $USD0.80 from AliExpress

MCP23017 on Breakout PCB – Back
MCP23017 on Breakout PCB – Front

Please Note: THIS BREAKOUT PCB IS NOT SUITED FOR USE ON A BREADBOARD. YOU WILL SHORT OUT VCC AND GROUND AS WELL AS ALL THE IO PINS IF YOU TRY TO USE IT ON A BREADBOARD.

As you can see, the pins are however very clearly labelled, and thus easy to use. I have also purposely soldered my header pins “the wrong way round” to prevent using it on a breadboard, as this will short out Vcc to Ground!

Having interrupt outputs is one of the most important features of the MCP23017, since the microcontroller does not have to continuously poll the device to detect an input change. Instead an interrupt service routine can be used to react quickly to an input change such a key press…

To make life even easier each GPIO input pin can be configured with an internal pullup (~100k) and that means you won’t have to wire up external pull up resistors for keyboard input. You can also mix and match inputs and outputs the same as any standard microcontroller 8 bit port.

Addressing

The 23017 has three input pins to allow you to set a different address for each attached MCP23017.

The above corresponds to a hardware address for the three lines A0, A1, A2 corresponding to the input pin values at the IC. You must set the value of these hardware inputs as 0V or (high) volts and not leave them floating otherwise they will get random values from electrical noise and the chip will do nothing!

The four left most bits are fixed a 0100 (specified by a consortium who doles out address ranges to manufacturers).

So the MCP23017 I2C address range is 32 decimal to 37 decimal or 0x20 to 0x27 for the MCP23017.

Please note: The addresses are the same as those for the PCF8475. You must thus be careful if you use these two devices on the same i2c bus!

MCP23017 Non interrupt registers

IODIR I/O direction register

For controlling I/O direction of each pin, register IODIR (A/B) lets you set the pin to an output when a zero is written and to an input when a ‘1’ is written to the register bit. This is the same scheme for most microcontrollers – the key is to remember that zero (‘0’) equates to the ‘O’ in Output.

GPPU Pullup register

Setting a bit high sets the pullup active for the corresponding I/O pin.

OLAT Output Latch register

This is exactly the same as the I/O port in 18F series PIC chips where you can read back the “desired” output of a port pin whether or not the actual state of that pin is reached. i.e. consider a strong current LED attached to the pin – it is easily possible to pull down the output voltage at the pin to below the logic threshold i.e. you would read back a zero if reading from the pin itself when in fact it should be a one. Reading the OLAT register bit returns a ‘one’ as you would expect from a software engineering point of view.

IPOL pin inversion register

The IPOL(A/B) register allows you to selectively invert any input pin. This reduces the glue logic needed to interface other devices to the MCP23017 since you won’t need to add inverter logic chips to get the correct signal polarity into the MCP23017.

It is also very handy for getting the signals the right way up e.g. it is common to use a pull up resistor for an input so when a user presses an input key the voltage input is zero, so in software you have to remember to test for zero.

Using the MCP23017 you could invert that input and test for a 1 (in my mind a key press is more equivalent to an on state i.e. a ‘1’) however I use pullups all the time (and uCs in general use internal pullups when enabled) so have to put up with a zero as ‘pressed’. Using this device would allow you to correct this easily.Note: The reason that active low signals are used everywhere is a historical one: TTL (Transistor Transistor Logic) devices draw more power in the active low state due to the internal circuitry, and it was important to reduce unnecessary power consumption – therefore signals that are inactive most of the time e.g. a chip select signal – were defined to be high. With CMOS devices either state causes the same power usage so it now does not matter – however active low is used because everyone uses it now and used it in the past.

SEQOP polling mode : register bit : (Within IOCON register)

If you have a design that has critical interrupt code e.g. for performing a timing critical measurement you may not want non critical inputs to generate an interrupt i.e. you reserve the interrupt for the most important input data.

In this case, it may make more sense to allow polling of some of the device inputs. To facilitate this “Byte mode” is provided. In this mode, you can read the same set of GPIOs using clocks but not needling to provide other control information. i.e. it stays on the same set of GPIO bits, and you can continuously read it without the register-address updating itself. In non-byte mode, you either have to set the address you read from (A or B bank) as control input data.

Now to examine how to use the IC in our sketches.

As you should know by now most I2C devices have several registers that can be addressed. Each address holds one byte of data that determines various options. So before using we need to set whether each port is an input or an output. First, we’ll examine setting them as outputs. So to set port A to outputs, we use:

Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
Wire.write(0x00); // IODIRA register
Wire.write(0x00); // set all of port A to outputs
Wire.endTransmission();

Then to set port B to outputs, we use:

Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
Wire.write(0x01); // IODIRB register
Wire.write(0x00); // set all of port B to outputs
Wire.endTransmission();

So now we are in void loop()  or a function of your own creation and want to control some output pins. To control port A, we use:

Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
Wire.write(0x12); // address port A
Wire.write(??);  // value to send
Wire.endTransmission();

To control port B, we use:

Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
Wire.write(0x13); // address port B
Wire.write(??);  // value to send
Wire.endTransmission();

… replacing ?? with the binary or equivalent hexadecimal or decimal value to send to the register.

To calculate the required number, consider each I/O pin from 7 to 0 matches one bit of a binary number – 1 for on, 0 for off. So you can insert a binary number representing the status of each output pin. Or if binary does your head in, convert it to hexadecimal. Or a decimal number.

So for example, you want pins 7 and 1 on. In binary that would be 10000010, in hexadecimal that is 0x82, or 130 decimal. (Using decimals is convenient if you want to display values from an incrementing value or function result).

For example, we want port A to be 11001100 and port B to be 10001000 – so we send the following (note we converted the binary values to decimal):

Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
Wire.write(0x12); // address port A
Wire.write(204); // value to send
Wire.endTransmission();
Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
Wire.write(0x13); // address port B 
Wire.write(136);     // value to send
Wire.endTransmission();

A complete Example

// pins 15~17 to GND, I2C bus address is 0x20
#include "Wire.h"
void setup()
{
 Wire.begin(); // wake up I2C bus
// set I/O pins to outputs
 Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
 Wire.write(0x00); // IODIRA register
 Wire.write(0x00); // set all of port A to outputs
 Wire.endTransmission();
Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
 Wire.write(0x01); // IODIRB register
 Wire.write(0x00); // set all of port B to outputs
 Wire.endTransmission();
}
void binaryCount()
{
 for (byte a=0; a<256; a++)
 {
 Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
 Wire.write(0x12); // GPIOA
 Wire.write(a); // port A
 Wire.endTransmission();
Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
 Wire.write(0x13); // GPIOB
 Wire.write(a); // port B
 Wire.endTransmission();
 }
}
void loop()
{
 binaryCount();
 delay(500);
}

Using the pins as inputs

Although that may have seemed like a simple demonstration, it was created show how the outputs can be used. So now you know how to control the I/O pins set as outputs. Note that you can’t source more than 25 mA of current from each pin, so if switching higher current loads use a transistor and an external power supply and so on.

Now let’s turn the tables and work on using the I/O pins as digital inputs. The MCP23017 I/O pins default to input mode, so we just need to initiate the I2C bus. Then in the void loop() or other function all we do is set the address of the register to read and receive one byte of data.

// pins 15~17 to GND, I2C bus address is 0x20
#include "Wire.h"
byte inputs=0;
void setup()
{
 Serial.begin(9600);
 Wire.begin(); // wake up I2C bus
}
void loop()
{
 Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
 Wire.write(0x13); // set MCP23017 memory pointer to GPIOB address
 Wire.endTransmission();
 Wire.requestFrom(0x20, 1); // request one byte of data from MCP20317
 inputs=Wire.read(); // store the incoming byte into "inputs"
 if (inputs>0) // if a button was pressed
 {
 Serial.println(inputs, BIN); // display the contents of the GPIOB register in binary
 delay(200); // for debounce
 }
}

Other Libraries

You can also download and install the MCP23017 Library from Adafruit for the Arduino IDE.
This library will make using this chip even easier… I will discuss this library in another post

I hope this will be useful to somebody.

Multiple I2C Devices on the same Bus, I2C Part 3

Today I will continue my series on I2C by showing you how to use multiple devices on the I2C bus. This will be an extremely short post, as it builds on skills that we have already covered.

I will connect the following

1 x 16×2 I2C LCD Screen address 0x27
1x 128×32 I2C OLED Display address 0x3C
2x PCF8574 I2C Io Extenders address 0x20 and 0x21

All of these devices will be controlled from Arduino Uno, using the following libraries


LiquidCrystal_I2C.h to control the LCD screen,
Wire.h and PCF8574.h to control the I2C IO extenders and
Adafruit_GFX, Adafruit_SSD1306.h and SPI.h to control the SSD1306 128×32 OLED display.

With DuPont wires and breadboards being the reliable things they are, I decided that, after initial testing, I will not show you how to do button inputs on the PCF8574 at this stage. The amount of stray capacitance floating around on the breadboards, and small momentary push-button switches, made for a very impressive but unreliable mess of wires, with no real learning value to it 😉 Maybe some more on that later when I do a decent real-world example using these technologies 🙂

As the total distance between the devices is relatively short, it was not necessary to use pull-up resistors on the I2C bus in my setup. I suspect that that is due to the fact that they may already be included on some of my devices.

The circuit is quite straight forward.

  1. Connect all SDA pins on the I2C devices together serially, and connect that to the Arduino SDA pin ( That is usually A4)
  2. Connect all SCL pins on the I2C devices together serially, and connect that to the Arduino SCL pin ( That is usually A5)

    A note: On my Uno clone, there is an additional I2C breakout at the top of the device, near the USB adapter. I chose to use that as well as A4 and A5, as the bus hung itself up when connected to the breadboard. Your mileage may vary on this one 🙂
  3. Connect all 5v (Vcc) lines to 5v on the Arduino, and all Ground (GND) lines to GND on the Arduino.
  4. Now connect 4 LEDs, through a suitable resistor ( 640 ohms up to 1k ohm ) to pin P0 and P1 on both of the PCF8574 IO extenders. Also, connect the other leg of the LED to ground.
  5. I have powered my Uno from an external 5v power supply, as I did not want to pull too much current from the regulator on the actual Uno clone.

That should complete your hardware setup. Double check all your connections, and then load the i2c scanner sketch in the Arduino IDE, you may find it under the examples for the Wire.h library.

Power up the circuit, and upload the sketch to the Uno. Open the Serial Monitor.

You should see 4 I2C devices being detected. Note their addresses. If you dont see 4 devices, check your wiring and addresses. You may have a device with a conflicting address or a bad connection. If you used the breadboard to connect the bus, chances are very good that you will not see all the devices.

Good, if all of that is working, copy paste the following code into a new Arduino IDE window.
I will explain the code in the section below:

/*
  Multiple devices on the I2C bus
  Maker and Iot Ideas, MakerIoT2020
*/
// Include the libraries that we will need
#include <SPI.h> // needed for OLED display. 
#include <PCF8574.h> // PCF8574
#include <Wire.h> // Generic I2C library
#include <Adafruit_GFX.h> // for OLED display
#include <Adafruit_SSD1306.h> // for OLED display
#include <LiquidCrystal_I2C.h> // For I2C LCD display

// we need to define the size of the OLED screen

#define OLED_WIDTH 128
#define OLED_HEIGHT 32

// mine does not have an onboard reset pin. If yours do, specify the 
// pin that it is connected to on the Arduino here. To use the 
// Arduino reset pin, specify -1 as below

#define OLED_RESET -1

// Define the OLED display, width,hight protocol and reset pin
Adafruit_SSD1306 oled(OLED_WIDTH,OLED_HEIGHT, &Wire, OLED_RESET);

// Define the I2C LCD screen address and pin configuration
LiquidCrystal_I2C lcd(0x27,2,1,0,4,5,6,7,3,POSITIVE);

// Define the PCF8574 devices ( you can have up to 8 on a bus )
// but in this case, my LCD uses address 0x27, so I will have a 
// conflicting address if I were to use 8 of them together with the
// LCD

PCF8574 Remote_1(0x20); 
PCF8574 Remote_2(0x21);

// Note the I2C addresses. You can obtain them from the i2c_scanner

void setup() {
  // serial debugging if needed
  Serial.begin(115200);
  // Start OLED Display Init

  if (!oled.begin(SSD1306_SWITCHCAPVCC,0x3C)) { // Init the OLED 
    Serial.println(F("OLED INIT FAILED"));
    for(;;); // Dont proceed ... loop forever
  }
  oled.display();
  delay(2000); // This delay is required to give display time to 
  // initialise properly
  oled.clearDisplay();
  oled.setTextSize(0);
  oled.setTextColor(SSD1306_WHITE);
  oled.setCursor(0,0);
  oled.println("TEST SCREEN");
  oled.display();
  delay(2000);
  oled.clearDisplay();
  oled.setCursor(1,0);
  oled.println("OLED SCREEN ON");
  oled.display();

  // Start the LCD

  lcd.begin(16,2);
  
  // Set the initial state of the pins on the PCF8574 devices
  // I found that the PCF8574 library sometimes does funny things
  // This is also an example of how to use native i2c to set the 
  // status of the pins
  
  Wire.begin();
  Wire.beginTransmission(0x20); // device 1
  Wire.write(0x00); // all ports off
  Wire.endTransmission();
  Wire.begin();
  Wire.beginTransmission(0x21); // device 2
  Wire.write(0x00); // all ports off
  Wire.endTransmission();
  // Set pinModes for PCF8574 devices
  // Note that there are two of them

  Remote_1.pinMode(P0,OUTPUT);
  Remote_1.pinMode(P1,OUTPUT);
  Remote_2.pinMode(P0,OUTPUT);
  Remote_2.pinMode(P1,OUTPUT);
  
  // Start both IO extenders

  Remote_1.begin();
  Remote_2.begin();

  // and set ports to low on both
  // you may find that if you ommit this step, they come up in an
  // unstable state.

  Remote_1.digitalWrite(P0,LOW);
  Remote_1.digitalWrite(P1,LOW);
  Remote_2.digitalWrite(P0,LOW);
  Remote_2.digitalWrite(P1,LOW);
  
}

void loop() {
  // Draw a character map on the OLED display.
  // This function is borrowed from the Adafruit library

  testdrawchar();

  // Write to the IO extenders

  Remote_1.digitalWrite(P0,HIGH);
  Remote_1.digitalWrite(P1,LOW);
  Remote_2.digitalWrite(P0,HIGH);
  Remote_2.digitalWrite(P1,LOW);
  
  // Display their status on the LCD
  lcd.setCursor(0,0);
  lcd.print(" R1 P0=1 P1=0");
  lcd.setCursor(0,1);
  lcd.print(" R2 P0=1 P1=0");
  delay(500);

  // Change status
  Remote_1.digitalWrite(P1,HIGH);
  Remote_1.digitalWrite(P0,LOW);
  Remote_2.digitalWrite(P1,HIGH);
  Remote_2.digitalWrite(P0,LOW);

  // Update LCD
  lcd.setCursor(0,0);
  lcd.print(" R1 P0=0 P1=1");
  lcd.setCursor(0,1);
  lcd.print(" R2 P0=0 P1=1");
  delay(500);
  // Do some graphics on the OLED display
  // Function borrowed from Adafruit
  testdrawrect();
  oled.clearDisplay();
  delay(500);
  // repeat indefinitely

}

void testdrawrect(void) {
  oled.clearDisplay();

  for(int16_t i=0; i<oled.height()/2; i+=2) {
    oled.drawRect(i, i, oled.width()-2*i, oled.height()-2*i, SSD1306_WHITE);
    oled.display(); // Update screen with each newly-drawn rectangle
    delay(1);
  }

  delay(500);
}

void testdrawchar(void) {
  oled.clearDisplay();

  oled.setTextSize(1);      // Normal 1:1 pixel scale
  oled.setTextColor(SSD1306_WHITE); // Draw white text
  oled.setCursor(0, 0);     // Start at top-left corner
  oled.cp437(true);         // Use full 256 char 'Code Page 437' font

  // Not all the characters will fit on the display. This is normal.
  // Library will draw what it can and the rest will be clipped.
  for(int16_t i=0; i<256; i++) {
    if(i == '\n') oled.write(' ');
    else          oled.write(i);
  }

  oled.display();
  delay(500);
}

This concludes a quick and dirty show and tell… I hope that it will stimulate questions and ideas for a lot of people.

Thank you

Extending Arduino/Esp32/STM32 GPIO Pins – PART 2

In the first part of this series, I showed you how to extend the available output pins on your microprocessor by using a SIPO (Serial In, Parallel Out) Shift Register. These work great to extend your outputs, but they do tend to involve a bit of extra work and organisation in your code. They are also a bit slower than the normal GPIO pins, because data has to be serially shifted into them, and then latched out onto the parallel port.

I have also mentioned that there are I2C devices available that can make this much easier… In today’s article, I will show you how to use one of these I2C devices, the PCF8574.

These little modules have some quite impressive features, for one, allowing you to cascade up to 8 of them together, giving you a quite impressive 64 GPIO ports ! I am also happy to tell you, that if you can find the PCF8574A variant, as well, you can increase the total amount of ports to 128! ( If you chain 8x PCF8574 as well as 8x PCF8574A together) This is possible because the I2C addresses of the two series of chips are different. Thus allowing us to add a total of 16 of them to the I2C bus.

It must however be said that you should calculate your bus resistance very carefully if you plan on doing that. For most of us, I do not believe we will need that much GPIO on a single microprocessor!

Enough introduction, let us start by looking closely at the chip, as well as the modules that you can purchase for around 1 USD each…

A word of caution, there is also another version of these available, which is specifically designed to be used with LCD screens. You should thus be careful when you buy a premade module, that you choose the io-extender version, and not the LCD controller version.

PCF8574 I2C IO Extender module – Front View
PCF8574 I2C IO Extender – Back View

As we can see, the GPIO ports are clearly labeled, from P0 to P7, with the INT (Interrupt Pin) on the very right.

As I have said before, you can cascade up to 8 of these onto the I2C bus. This is done by setting the I2C address of the module. This is done by setting the jumpers as seen in the picture below.

Address Jumpers on the PCF8574 I2C IO Extender Module

The Address can be set by using the following table to lookup the address and set the jumpers accordingly.

A2A1A0I2C Device Address
0000x20
0010x21
0100x22
0110x23
1000x24
1010x25
1100x26
1110x27
Available I2C Addresses for PCF8574 selected by setting the jumpers

Connecting the device is very easy. You only have to supply 5v and Ground, as well as connect it to the SCL and SDA Pins on your microprocessor. For Arduino Uno / Nano that is A4 (SDA) and A5 (SCL)

As far as the coding is concerned, you have two options. You can either use the built-in Wire library, or you can download a special library. Both works equally well, but I do believe that the built-in Wire library might be a little bit faster.

Another point to make is that there are a lot of “fake” modules on the market these days. These modules work, but some of them have extremely weak current sourcing abilities. ( I recently bought a pair online, and they are unable to properly light an LED even without a current limiting resistor. I fixed that issue by driving the LED through a small BJT transistor, like the 2n2222a.

You should also take note that the ports will start up in a weak HIGH state when the module is powered up. This should be taken into consideration when designing your circuit to drive external devices through the outputs. In other words, you should take precautions to prevent the devices from switching on before the microprocessor takes control of the module.

Let us start to look at the coding that you will need to do to use this device.
I will start with the built-in wire Library that is included with the Arduino IDE.

#include <Wire.h> // Wire.h provide access to I2C functions

void setup()
{
Wire.begin(); // Start I2C
}

void loop()
{

Wire.beginTransmission(0x20); // Our device is on Address 0x20
Wire.write(0x0F); // This is equal to 0b00001111, meaning it will switch ports P0 to P3 High
Wire.endTransmission();
delay(1000);
Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
Wire.write(0xF0); // This is equal to 0b11110000, meaning it will switch ports P4 to P7 High
Wire.endTransmission();
delay(1000);
}

The code above will alternate between switching 4 ports high and low every one second.
You can observe this by connecting 8 LEDs through 330ohm resistors to ports P0 through P7



Reading the status of a port (meaning that you configured it as an input) can be done using the following code

#include<Wire.h>

void setup()
{
  Serial.begin(9600);
  Wire.begin();
  Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
  Wire.write(0x00);  //LED1 is OFF
  Wire.endTransmission();
}

void loop()
{
  Wire.requestFrom(0x20, 4); // Read the state of P4
  byte x = Wire.read();
  if (bitRead(x, 4) == LOW)
  {
    Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
    Wire.write(0x01);  //LED1 is ON
    Wire.endTransmission();
  }
  else
  {
    Wire.beginTransmission(0x20);
    Wire.write(0x00);  //LED1 is OFF
    Wire.endTransmission();
  }
  delay(1000);
}

This code assumes that you have connected a LED throught a resistor to P0, and that you have connected a pullup resistor of 10k to P4, with a pushbutton to GROUND.

The LED should switch on when you press the switch, and go off again once you release it.

If you want to use the special library, you can download it below:

Install this into your Arduino Libraries, and use the following code:

include “Arduino.h”

include “PCF8574.h

// Set i2c address
PCF8574 pcf8574(0x20);

void setup()
{
Serial.begin(115200);

// Set pinMode to OUTPUT

pcf8574.pinMode(P0, OUTPUT);

pcf8574.begin();

}

void loop()
{
pcf8574.digitalWrite(P0, HIGH);
delay(1000);
pcf8574.digitalWrite(P0, LOW);
delay(1000);
}

Reading the status of an Input can be done like this:

include “Arduino.h”

include “PCF8574.h”

// Set i2c address
PCF8574 pcf8574(0x20);

void setup()
{
Serial.begin(115200);

pcf8574.pinMode(P0, OUTPUT);
pcf8574.pinMode(P1, INPUT);
pcf8574.begin();

}

void loop()
{
uint8_t val = pcf8574.digitalRead(P1);
if (val==HIGH) Serial.println(“KEY PRESSED”);
delay(50);

}

There are also excellent examples included with the library. These include using the interrupt pin.

I hope that this will be useful to somebody.