values. The MakerPlot “%” prefix command
informs the software that the data is digital
(binary), and by using the [value ADC 8] string,
MakerPlot converts the decimal value of x to
eight bits of binary. The important thing to
realize is that both analog and digital data are
being generated as ASCII characters going to
MakerPlot. You can see this by looking at the
Serial.print and Serial.println instructions.
Figure 5 is what it looks like with the code
running on an Arduino Uno shield. (By the way,
we call the MakerPlot display screens
“Interfaces.”) So, if you’re interested in plotting,
logging, debugging, and otherwise displaying
your micro’s analog and digital data in graphical
form, MakerPlot is the way to do it.
Why the Name MakerPlot”?
We named it MakerPlot for those “makers” out there
who want to create simple yet powerful screen interfaces
for their projects and products. As you can see, MakerPlot
looks like the face of a conventional instrument. With
dozens of meters, buttons, switches, and text boxes to
choose from, you have full control of how the screen
interface is designed and how information is displayed,
plotted, logged to files, printed, and more. Your
microcontroller also has the ability to read information
directly from these same controls for interactive
measurement, plotting, and control.
For example, if you have a slider control on the
MakerPlot Interface screen, your micro can read the slider
value and react accordingly. This makes for the start of
some great bi-directional project ideas (more to come on
this subject in a subsequent article).
MakerPlot is Customizable
With all this capability, where does one start to figure
out what can be done with arranging these controls on
the Interface screen? Figure 6 shows just four off-the-shelf
Interfaces that come with MakerPlot. Ten of these
Interfaces come standard, and you can build ones like
these on your own because you’re provided with all the
instructions to do so.
The ability to design a customized graphical user
interface (GUI) for monitoring your data — combined with
the ability to program your microcontroller to interface
directly and simply with the GUI — is a powerful
combination for a developer. That’s the real power behind
MakerPlot. It’s designed to be customized — by you!
The Plot Thickens ...
While we started this article with asking how you
would debug your micro’s data, the discussion of this
topic just naturally got expanded into a greater universe of
MakerPlot’s graphic capabilities.
We’ll present much more about MakerPlot in
subsequent articles — especially on the topic of how you
can customize it. If you don’t want to wait, full details are
available at www.makerplot.com, including more sketch
examples, video tutorials, and a complete MakerPlot guide
to show you all the inner-workings of this unique software
program. That’s all for now, so just remember: Got data?
MakerPlot it! NV
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