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RoadTest the TI INA301EVM - Review

Scoring

Product Performed to Expectations: 10
Specifications were sufficient to design with: 10
Demo Software was of good quality: 10
Demo was easy to use: 10
Support materials were available: 10
The price to performance ratio was good: 10
TotalScore: 60 / 60
  • RoadTest: RoadTest the TI INA301EVM
  • Buy Now
  • Evaluation Type: Evaluation Boards
  • Application you used the part in: Autonomous hydroponics system
  • Was everything in the box required?: Yes
  • What were the biggest problems encountered?: The biggest problem for me was utilizing the "pre-built" comparator threshold. The problem came form the 0805 SMD resistor, I simply couldn't use it with my application because I didn't(couldn't) get a 0805 SMD resistor that worked for me in the aviable stores around here.

  • Detailed Review:

        Hello! First of all, I'd like to thank the team at Element 14 for choosing me as one of the winners of this road test and second of all that I took that long to write my review.

     

        The INA301 evaluation board really helped me make my hydroponics project a whole lot awesome.

        The problem I was facing was the battery operated system I was about to set up. The project itself was simple: microcontroller, real time clock module, transistor, diode, relay, mini water pump, soil humidity meter, lcd, shunt resistor. All of this is supposed to water my plants at home operating on battery power in case the power goes out when I am not at home on holidays or some other scenario. Now to the problem I was having. I was using the shunt resistor to only measure the current consumption when the water pump was working. This was necessary for me, because I am using an integrator to calculate the total power consumption so I'd know when to change the battery.

        With the INA301 module I was able to use the differential voltage from the shunt resistor, while I couldn't read it with the analog input on my microcontroller. This reading allows me to get the total current consumption of the circuit and with that measurement I can calculate exactly how much power I have used/is left in the battery/.

        The module itself is really great. It is easy to use because of all the ports in place, it has all the necessary components to utilize every aspect of the EV board(comparator led indication, shunt resistor filtering). I had one problem with the module itself, it wasn't something of a big deal because it can be fixed easily. The problem came form the 0805 SMD resistor for the comparator threshold voltage, I simply couldn't use it with my application because I didn't(couldn't) get a 0805 SMD resistor that worked for me in the aviable stores around here. Apart from that the module didn't have any other problems or flaws I could find. The evaluation board came with three different ICs: INA301A1 with a gain 20 V/V, INA301A2 with a gain 50 V/V, INA301A3 with a gain 100 V/V. Although the package they use is VSSOP8, they came soldered on VSSOP8 to DIP8 boards and could be easily interchanged on the EV board. Also I could easy fit them on a plastic DIP holder on my perf board for my circuit. And having them on my own board, I was able to use the right resistor for the purpose of my project(I simply have low current consumption for the set comparator threshold). Also the response rate is really fast when I have spikes in the power consumption.

     

        Overall the INA301EVM is great. The three ICs it came with can be put in some other projects of mine in the future since they are so easy to set up and use. Also the built in comparator function makes it great for making some sort of a portable overcurrent alarm for some application, say a car amplifier.


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