verifies no leaks or moisture is present in the part under test.
For a user interface, I would use VB.NET 2005 or VB6.
The 2003 version of .NET didn’t include the RS-232 control.
The Stamp PLC comes with excellent example code for
configuring the A/D and I have found it to be very reliable.
In fact, I use Stamps all over our manufacturing facility.
Fort Wayne, IN
#2 As it happens, I just finished something similar myself.
It sounds as if you might be just starting out. If so, I
recommend beginning with something that will give you
quick results and easy success. In this case, consider using
the Parallax Board of Education full kit (Stock#: 910-28103,
When you get done with this experiment, this configuration
will serve you well for lots of other experiments, too.
Interfacing the BS2 (BASIC Stamp 2) with a standard
Hitachi HD44780 LCD display is quite easy. The
documentation and sample code they have for interfacing
their Sensirion Temperature/Humidity Sensor (stock
#28018) to an LCD gives you plenty to get you started.
They even have an HD44780 display if you do not already
have one. The BS2 has built-in RS-232 capabilities that
should make this a snap.
#3 Selecting a microcontroller (uC) is certainly frustrating.
Beyond the hardware IC, there are many things that can
trip the beginner. At a minimum, you’ll need a programmer
for the specific chip, a PC to run software development
programs and the programmer, and target hardware
that includes a power supply and any specific interface for
The easiest way to get past this hurdle is to buy a
ready-made product. What you buy depends on your
comfort level and budget, but it also depends on what you
are trying to get out of the first project. The two most
popular uC chip families are PIC (Microchip) and AVR
(Atmel); there are other uCs, but these two particular ones
have a mountain of help and advice online.
If you are engaged with a larger project and just need
this piece to get data from the gauge and move onto
another problem, I’d strongly suggest buying an all-in-one
uC development system that can be quickly installed and
jump right into programming. For the PIC family, take a look
at MELabs bundled systems (they advertise in Nuts & Volts).
For the Atmel AVR devices, consider the STK500 Starter Kit
for under $100 available from Mouser and others.
If you are on a very tight budget or want to know a lot
more about the uC world beyond this gauge project,
then buying a few uC chips, a barebones programmer that
runs from a PC, and downloading free or shareware
development programs to write code is the way to go. This
is a much steeper but rewarding learning curve.