The Raspberry Pi is an excellent small board computer that you can use to control digital inputs & outputs. However what do you do when you want to read an analog signal, like what you might get from a thermistor, potentiometer, or many other types of sensors? Don’t give up! By connecting a small analog to digital converter (ADC) chip to the Pi you can open up the world of analog signals to your Raspberry Pi programs!
This guide will show you a couple great options for reading analog values from Python with a Raspberry Pi. You can use a simple MCP3008 analog to digital converter (ADC) to read up to 8 channels of analog input with 10-bit precision. Or use a fancier ADS1x15 series ADC to read 4 channels with 12 to 16-bit precision, and a programmable gain stage–wow, fancy! You’ll be up and running in no time with a Python library and examples to read analog inputs from both these ADCs.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.