Help with easy water meter design for class

I am making a water meter for a class and am have made all of the mechanical parts for my project but am having problems with the electrical part of the project. I had it connected to the vex microcontroller with the amount of water showing on my laptop. However, my prof said that I would be marked down if I didn’t do an embedded design. This is just part of my project and really need some help. :slight_smile:

All I need to do is connect a processor (powered by a 3v watch battery)to a reed switch, lcd display (glass lcd), and button on a PCB that is as small as possible (at least 3cm by 2cm or smaller).

Could someone help me with this, I am new to embedded microprocessor design and electric engineering is not my strong point.

I would really appreciate the help,
Kyle King

Do you have to make the circuit board yourself, or can you string together off-the-shelf parts? If the latter, I strongly recommend going with Arduino. It is very easy to get started with, and should handle everything you need with ease.

Have at look at this microprocessor, and this LCD. These are spec’d for 3.3V, but they may operate just fine on 3V. If not, you could add one of these to kick the voltage up a tad.

To program it, all you need is a computer (PC, Mac, or Linux) with a serial port or standard USB->Serial adapter. You could use one of these instead, as this can directly connect to the 6 contacts on end end of the Arduino board to act as as serial programmer.

If it all has to be of your own construction, then you can buy these ATmega processors with the Arduino bootloader pre-installed. That means you can put the chip on a board of your own construction and still get the advantages of quick and easy serial programming.


  • Dean

I was not thinking of using a “packaged” microcontroller like the arduino, as I get points off. I am now thinking of doing the display wireless. I think that would make this much easier. Anyone ever designed anything like this?

Arduna is a good way to go for prototyping then design your own PCB or have a look at the development/evaluation kits that Microchip supply ( they are low cost and come with full cct diagrams etc. many embedded commercial products start with their reference designs. Once you have your project working on a development kit it is a simple step to design your own PCB etc. The dev kits comes with LCD etc.

I for one would not mark someone down for using a dev kit to develop a product. In fact I insist that my engineers test ideas using dev kits first whenever possible.