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Making accurate ADC readings on the Arduino

There are many sensors out there which output a voltage as a function of the supply voltage as their sensed value. Temperature sensors, light sensors, all sorts.

Measuring that voltage, and converting it in to real figures for whatever is being sensed is not actually as simple as you might at first think.

There are many examples on the internet for converting an ADC value into a voltage, but basically it boils down to:

The Finite State Machine

Many of the programming questions on the Arduino forum can be answered with one simple response:

Implement a "Finite State Machine."

But what actually is a "Finite State Machine"?

Reading Serial on the Arduino

I see many many questions on the Arduino forums from people trying to read data from a serial connection and not fully understanding how it works - and hence failing.

So, how should you read from serial?

Well, what a lot of new users don't realise is that serial data arrives one character at a time, and you have little or no control over just when that data arrives.