SensorAktor Shield

We will use the SensorAktor Shield to extend the functionality of the Arduino board.

The SensorAktor Shield is a development of the Lab3 at Academy of Media Arts, Cologne. Thanks to Martin Nawrath for his very important work there. You can find a detailed description here:

The goal of the SensorAktor Shield is to extend the Arduinos input and output capabilities by some functional blocks like power switches and amplifiers that allows the direct connection of power consuming devices like DC-Motors, Stepper Motors, Solenoid Magnets, Halogen Lamps etc. or various sensor devices. Instead of adding those functional blocks by breadboarding additional electronic circuits this board offers those  capabilities for the most common techniques. This avoids a tangle of cables and wires around the Arduino board which would discourage the beginner and might lead to the destruction of the Arduino board. So numerous experiments can be done by simply connecting these sensors or actuators to the header connectors provided on the SensorAktor Shield.

How to connect the Arduino Board with the SensorAktor Shield

To connect the Arduino Board use the pins on the reverse side of the SensorAktor Shield. But please take care not to destroy them when connecting the two parts.

Inputs and outputs of the SensorAktorShield

1) Analog Inputs (A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5)

Connectors for sensors (e.g. Potentiometer, Light Sensor etc.).

2 + 3) Potentiometer and Jumper

The Potentiometer on the board is connected to analog input 5 an delivers a voltage for 0 to 5 Volt depending on the wiper position. When you use the A5 connector as a sensor input you have to remove the Jumper because otherwise A5 and Pot are running parallel (take care not to lose the jumper).

4) Switches (S1,S2,S3)

The Switches S1..S3 are hooked to the analog inputs A1..A3. They should not be used when these inputs are utilized by sensors.
Since they are on analog inputs look at the tutorials how to read their state.

5, 6 + 7) Microphone Input (MIC IN), Volume, Jumper

The Mic Input has an high impedance preamplifiers to accommodate simple piezo disks as, for instance, force or knock sensors. Also electret microphone capsule can be used when you remove the jumper. When the input is quiet you will read on the analog input 0 an value of about 400 as DC offset. Any input signal will vary this value. Use the small potentiometer beside with a screwdriver to vary the amplifier gain.

8 + 9) Outs (OUT1, OUT2, OUT3) and LEDs

The three output connectors can switch various loads like lamps, solenoids etc. It’s a low-side switch so that, when switched on, the GND pin is on the minus of the 12V power supply. The +12V is fixed on the + of the  power supply. Additionally each output is connected to a LED on board.

10) Servo outputs (Servo1, Servo2, Servo3)

With the three Servo connectors you are able to attach standard RC-Servos to the Board. The Shield provides an extra power regulator on board to supply the servos with a voltage of 5 Volt and  enough current to get sufficient mechanical torque out of the servos.

11) Motor outputs (Motor1, Motor2)

There are various schemes how DC-Motors and Steppers can be connected to Motor1 and Motor2. It is possible to have one Stepper Motor, 2 DC-Motors running in both directions or 4  DC-Motors running in one direction. Have a view on the lab3 website to get detailed informations about that:

12) DC-Connector

When you work with the SensorAktor Shield always use an external power-supply with 12 Volt.

13) USB-Port of Arduino Board

To programm the microcontroller use the USB-Port of the Arduino board.

Arduino Pins used by the SensorAktor Shield

Analog Inputs (A0, A1, A2, A3, A4, A5) + Potentiometer:

A0 = 0

A1 = 1

A2 = 2

A3 = 3

A4 = 4

A5 = 5

Poti = 5

MIC-IN = 0

Switches (S1,S2,S3):

S1 = 1

S2 = 2

S3 = 3

Outs (OUT1, OUT2, OUT3) and LEDs:

OUT1 = 3

OUT2 = 5

OUT3 = 6

LED1 = 3

LED2 = 5

LED3 = 6

Servo outputs (Servo1, Servo2, Servo3):

Servo1 = 2

Servo2 = 4

Servo = 7

11) Motor outputs (Motor1, Motor2):

Motor1_1 = 8
Motor1_2 = 13
Motor2_1 = 11
Motor2_2 = 12
PWM Motor1 = 10
PWM Motor2 = 9

We will work with the SensorAktor Library which will provide all the pin mapping. Have a look in the tutorial section at the “First Sketch” example to get an introduction.