When you want to build a system that tracks an analog voltage, you need an Analog to Digital Converter (ADC) so your microcontroller or computer can read and record the results. If you want good measurements, you pick an ADC with the highest resolution you’re willing to pay for, right?
Not so fast.
There’s only a vague connection between an ADC’s resolution and the quality of the output you get from it. A lot of 16-bit ADCs really operate as 7-bit ADCs and 9-bit random number generators.
This guide is a bit more technical but it can save you a great deal of money in not over specifying an expensive ADC when you will get the same, if not better results, with a less expensive model.
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